Conor Oberst's Upside Down Mountain features many of his friends, including producer Jonathan Wilson, engineer Andy LeMaster, bassist Macey Taylor, multi-instrumentalist Blake Mills, and the Swedish folk-rock vocal duo First Aid Kit. Rolling Stone raves: "A sumptuous immersion in '70s California folk pop, it is the most immediately charming album he has ever made." The New York Times says: "All of Mr. Oberst’s gifts align on Upside Down Mountain."
Singer-songwriter Conor Oberst's new solo album, Upside Down Mountain, is out on May 19, 2014, via Nonesuch Records, with vinyl out May 30.
Upside Down Mountain features many other friends of Oberst’s, including producer Jonathan Wilson, engineer Andy LeMaster, bassist Macey Taylor, multi-instrumentalist Blake Mills, and the Swedish sibling folk-rock vocal duo First Aid Kit. What started as exploratory demos with producer-musician Jonathan Wilson at his Fivestar Studios in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, in a home Wilson rents from Oberst, became the first de facto album sessions. Returning to his native Omaha, Nebraska, Oberst kept rolling with the help of frequent collaborator, engineer, and friend Andy LeMaster at his own ARC Studios. Even more tracking followed in Omaha last November and December. Then Oberst and Wilson moved south to Blackbird Studio in Nashville.
“This is a return to an earlier way I wrote,” Oberst says of the songs on Upside Down Mountain. “It’s more intimate or personal, if you will. Even if all my songs come from the same place, you make different aesthetic decisions along the way. For me, language is a huge part of why I make music. I’m not the greatest guitar player or piano player—I’m not the greatest singer, either—but I feel if I can come up with melodies I like that are fused with poetry I’m proud of, then that’s what I bring to the table. That’s why I’m able to do this.”
The vinyl, pressed on a single 140-gram vinyl at Pallas MFG in Diepholz, Germany, includes the complete album on CD.
Prior to the album release, a limited-edition seven-inch single was released exclusively for Record Store Day (Saturday, April 19). This special single features album track "Hundreds of Ways" along with album outtake "Fast Friends" on the B-side.
Produced by Jonathan Wilson and Conor Oberst
Mixed by Jonathan Wilson
Recorded at Fivestar Studios (LA, CA), ARC (Omaha, NE) and Blackbird (Nashville, TN)
Engineered by Bryce Gonzales (Fivestar, Blackbird), Andy LeMaster (ARC) and Ernesto Olvera (Blackbird)
Additional Production, Engineering and Mixing on “Artifact #1” by Blake Mills
Recorded at Zeitgeist Studios (LA, CA)
Engineered by Lionel Darenne
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios (Portland, ME)
Horn Arrangements by Nathaniel Walcott
All songs written by Conor Oberst
All songs by Conor Oberst © 2014 Bedrooms; Bedrooms and Spiders (BMI)
All paintings by Ian Felice: Cover, “Creation of the Bulls.” Back, “Horseman.” Interior, “Firing Squad.” Booklet Covers, Details from “Horseman”
Art Direction and Design by Gary Burden and Jenice Heo for R Twerk & Co
Conor Oberst, voice (1-13), guitar (1-13)
Jonathan Wilson, guitars (1-3, 5-9, 11, 12), percussion (1-3, 7, 8, 11), keyboards (1-3, 7, 8, 12, 13), bass (2, 3, 7, 12), drums (2, 3, 7, 11, 12), voice (2, 3, 11), piano (7), organ (7), glockenspiel (12)
Andy LeMaster, bass (1), guitar (1, 7), voice (6, 7), percussion (7), drums (7), keyboards (12)
Cully Symington, drums (1, 5-8), percussion (1, 5-8)
Klara Söderberg, Johanna Söderberg, voice (1, 3, 8, 9, 11)
Joshua Grange, pedal steel (3, 5, 9)
Nathaniel Walcott, trumpet (3, 11), piano (6, 11), organ (11), keyboard (11, 12)
Scott Vicroy, saxophone (3, 11)
Pete Madsen, trombone (3, 11)
Blake Mills - guitars (4), keyboards (4), percussion (4), voice (4)
Macey Taylor, bass (5, 6, 8, 9, 11)
Orenda Fink, voice (6)
Ben Brodin, vibraphone (9)
Leslie Fagan, flute (9)
John Klinghammer, clarinet (9)
Mike Mogis, pedal steel (11)
Corina Figueroa Escamilla, voice (11, 12)
Jason Boesel, drums (12)
Omar Velasco, guitar (12)