Conor OberstBright Eyes – While several people can claim to have their hands in the works of Bright Eyes albums, the work was built upon the sole genius of one troubled young man, Conor Oberst. Known for its lush orchestration, and occasionally grating vocals, Bright Eyes put together one of the greatest records of the 00s, Lifted…or the Story is in the Soil. You’ll also find a great discography of this one man project, filled with incredible songwriting, both musically and lyrically. This band gave Conor the stage to do whatever he wanted. Desaparecidos – When he first broke onto the scene, people began to call him the next Bob Dylan. While the comparisons in the poetry were there, he wanted to up the ante a bit. He plugged in his electric guitar, grabbed a few friends, and blew America out of the water. His attacks on corporations and consumerism were met with sharp guitars and emotional vocals, which basically shows why everyone was all about Read Music Speak Spanish. Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band – Homeboy decided to get into the mysticism of Latin America, moving down to Mexico to do some recording. He came back with a little bit more traditional folk tracks, and a touch more Americana. His vocals grew polished, but the poetry remained. This is where you’ll find him nowadays.
M. WardM. Ward – His solo work has always had an allusion to a time rich in American history, where radio dominated the air waves, but by that we mean the times when the radio actually had something to offer. His whispering vocals and his intricate guitar playing have won him accolades from his peers, giving him options to for his future as an uber-collaborator. Uber-Collaborator – As alluded to in the previous paragraph, M. Ward has definitely earned his keep, winning over fellow musicians with his style of play, and his keen ear for the perfect sound. He’s been fortunate enough to make guest appearances on all sorts of records such as Cat Power, Jenny Lewis, Neko Case and Beth Orton. The list could probably go on and on, but what’s important is that you don’t appear on this many records if you don’t have what it takes. She & Him – While many people will associate this band with the dazzling good looks of Zooey Deschanel, it wouldn’t come together if M. Ward wasn’t a part of tying all the loose ends together. His voice provides the perfect complement to Zooey’s, creating a nostalgic world of American music rooted in the story of true rock n’ roll.
Jim JamesMy Morning Jacket – Under the guidance of Jim James, Kentucky’s My Morning Jackets have been putting out solid records over and over again. What began as a southern-influenced rock group eventually evolved into one that would basically do anything they pleased stylistically, including an attempt at appealing to fans of Prince. Regardless of your tastes, James has had this band putting on killer concerts for some time now, and great records to boot, such as Z. Yim Yames – Yim Yames is a much quieter man, often known to completely resemble Jim James. This man’s usually playing a bit softer, and occasionally seen in crazy hats. He’s released a couple of short EPs, one which was dedicated to the work of some guy, George Harrison. It’s easy to say that every man needs an individual outlet for his own art, and this is the vessel of Jim. Ruckus – This is one of those groups that many people have looked over in the past, due mostly to the fact that Jim James was merely a guitar player in this band. They’re only known to have played one incredible show, rumored to be at a memorial service for Mitch Baylor, where they covered “Freebird.” During the song, a stage prop caught on fire, setting off sprinklers everywhere, but James and his company played on, bringing down the house with their great rendition of the track.
Mike MogisWell, Mike Mogis doesn’t really have a permanent band that he’s known for, though he is officially a member of Bright Eyes and Lullaby for the Working Class. He’s best known for his incredible arrangements and production work at the studio he runs with his brother, AJ. Presto Studios has done records for most of the Omaha bands like The Faint, Bright Eyes, and Cursive. He even did some work with others like Rilo Kiley and M. Ward. Everyone knows those records for their great sound, and MoF is fortunate to have this guy helping their sound along. And there you have it ladies and gents. The Many Faces of Monsters of Folk. Be sure to check the band out when they play the Austin Ventures Stage, Saturday at 6. Written by Ryan Ray