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Noise Floor (Rarities: 1998-2005)

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Editors’ Notes

Singer/songwriter types still slugging it out in bars at 30 must look at Conor Oberst and consider killing the not-so-poor lil' cornhusker out of jealousy. Or at the very least, shudder and shake at the sight of a 20-something with more bruised but beautiful songs to his credit than most grizzled 40-year-old folk singers. Take this hour-long collection of lean cuts from compilations, 7-inches and singles. Aside from an unnervingly snail-ish opener ("Mirrors and Fevers," which features two minutes of aimless field recordings), Noise Floor is a nice and natty bookend to the first significant chapter of a career that's clearly just begun. Torn from these yellowed, dog-eared pages are everything from effortless bedroom ballads ("The Vanishing," "Amy In the White Coat") to fleshy, frazzled full-grown songs that could have snuck onto one of Oberst's later LPs without anyone noticing (the caustic country of "Drunk Kid Catholic," the proto-Postal Service pop of "I Will Be Grateful for This Day"). Normally, this would be the point where we say this one's just for the diehards. Sorry haters; score another one for Young Man Oberst.

Customer Reviews

Several gems in this collection

While it doesn't have the flow of Wide Awake or Digital Ash, it's a great collection with some rare treats and great liner notes for each song if you purchase the disc. The "Devil Town" cover may be the best track on the album, but as any Bright Eyes album it has its share of depressingly great tracks such as "Weather Reports", "Amy in a White Coat", "Bad Blood" and "Motion Sickness". There are few misses on this album (considering it's a compilation of rarities, it's surprising there aren't more).


Formed: February 15, 1980 in Omaha, NE

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although many musicians joined the band's rotating lineup, Bright Eyes was primarily the songwriting vehicle of Conor Oberst, a quivery-voiced Nebraska native who first attracted attention in 1994 -- when he was only 14 years old -- as the singer and guitarist for Commander Venus. Oberst proved to be a prolific musician, joining multiple bands (including Commander Venus, the Magentas, Park Ave., and Desaparecidos) while also co-founding Saddle Creek, an influential label that helped broadcast "the...
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