Saddle Creek | Bright Eyes | Reviews


letting off the Happiness

Author: Christopher Arnott
08/05/1999 | New Haven Advocate | | Live Show Preview
New London's Temporary Autonomous Zone (20 Bank St., New London, 860-701-0472) is one of those clubs you learn to trust. The tapped-in folks who book this artsy coffeehouse stage space use it as a place to showcase bands that may be making only small waves in the music industry but cause big tremors in people's souls.

This week T>A>Z is high on Bright Eyes, a rough-edged industrial folk-pop project that centers around the strangled vocals and sardonic songwriting of teenager Conor Oberst. Bright Eyes' latest CD, Letting Off the Happiness (Saddle Creek), has guest appearances from members of Neutral Milk Hotel, Sorry About Dresden, Lullaby for the Working Class, Cursive and Drip. That gives you some sense of Oberst's standing in the fertile underground raw-pop community. That support aside, songs like "Padriac My Prince" and "Touch" (which you can hear on the Saddle Creek Web site, <>) reveal Oberst to be snotty, sullen and sensitive all at once. It's about time he broke away from his home studio and toured this way, and T>A>Z is the only place in the state with the sense to book him.

Bright Eyes illuminates T>A>Z on Aug. 11. Lapse is also on the bill. Open your eyes.


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