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Bright Eyes

Burn Out Bright

OberstSaddle Creek Records received a finished album from Bright Eyes last February and prepped the set for a summer release. But then Bright Eyes principal Conor Oberst had other ideas. He went back into the studio and recorded enough songs for a second set. Unwilling to scrap or combine any of the material, Oberst told his Omaha, Neb.-based label he wanted to release two separate albums-on the same day.

"We felt like, 'Why not kill two birds with one stone and put it all out there?'" Oberst says. So this week, Saddle Creek will release "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning," an acoustic-driven record with country undertones, as well as "Digital Ash in a Digital Urn," which explores a more electronic, beat-heavy sound.

While "I'm Wide Awake" was recorded in about 10 days, Oberst and producer Mike Mogis spent three months in the studio for "Digital Ash," creating what Oberst describes as a "drugged-out, psychedelic thing." Oberst was passionate from day one that they be treated as separate entities, despite sharing a release date.

The country-flavored "I'm Wide Awake" sports guest appearances by Emmylou Harris on three tracks and My Morning Jacket's Jim James on one other. "Digital Ash" boasts five tracks with Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner. Additional guest appearances spread across the two sets include the Postal Service's Jimmy Tamborello, producer Mike Mogis and members of current and former Saddle Creek bands Rilo Kiley, Cursive, Now It's Overhead and the Faint, among others.