New Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band – “Nikorette” (Stereogum Premiere)

When Conor premiered this one on Conan last year, we figured it was called “Nicorette” because we spell things correctly and probably don’t have an IP lawyer as good as Merge’s. Now it’s dubbed “Nikorette” (tricksy) and is the second listen from Outer South, the forthcoming followup to CO’s fine self-titled LP. The album comes with identical personnel (Taylor Hollingsworth, Nik Freitas, Macey Taylor, Nathaniel Walcott and Jason Boesel), although this time the Mystic Valley Band gets full billing. Which is telling: between “Slowly (Oh So Slowly)“‘s organic rollick and on “Nikorette”‘s rootsy hot licks, the pensive prodigy’s never sounded so at ease with a group of musicians. It could be the band, or it could just be evolution. On Conor Oberst, we noted CO found “a balance between growing up/staying young.” Now even while texting buddies about bad dreams, observing the world’s fucked up dream-poaching ways, and staving off cigarette cravings on airplanes, Conor’s sounding like he’s seeing a little less fever in the mirror. Maybe he’s grown into his skin. Then again, we still have 14 tracks to hear.

Conor Oberst And The Mystic Valley Band – “Nikorette” (MP3)

Here’s what it sounded like on Conan back in ’08:

You don’t need to take the music as evidence that Conor loves his Mystic Valley Band. Take this trailer to the new 60-minute documentary chronicling their story:

Outer South is out 5/5 via Merge. Stream it for a limited time right here. (Thx, all.) Here’s the album art, and also there’s that “Four Winds” cover by the Killers that you Conor fans probably won’t want to hear. Some tour dates:

04/09 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
04/10 – Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
04/11 – Aspen, CO @ Belly Up
04/12 – El Paso, TX @ Barnett Harley Davidson (Hands of Love & Hope Benefit)
04/13 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theatre
04/14 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
04/15 – Pomona, CA @ Glass House
04/17 – Indio, CA (Coachella)
06/18 – Telluride, CO @ Telluride Bluegrass Festival