Conor Oberst reunited with his former punk band Desaparecidos for this year’s Payola, the quintet’s first album in 13 years. The LP is out June 23rd via Epitaph Records, and it’s streaming in full now at NPR.
Payola is defined by the trademark warbled vocals and revelatory lyrics Oberst utilizes with Bright Eyes and his solo work, but these songs are heavier and more abrasive – from the shout-along “Search the Searches” to the anthemic “Marikkkopa.” The group channels Eighties power-pop (the Vapors, Tommy Tutone) and hardcore/punk (Cro-Mags, T.S.O.L.) influences into 14 compact, politically charged tracks.
The band – Oberst, guitarist Denver Dalley, keyboardist Ian McElroy, bassist Landon Hedges, drummer Matt Baum – recorded Payola over the past few years, recruiting Bright Eyes member Mike Mogis to co-produce. The album is available to pre-order.
Desaparecidos released their debut LP, Read Music / Speak Spanish, in 2002 via Saddle Creek Records. Though they never officially “broke up,” the members all pursued separate careers after the release. Recording with Bright Eyes and other projects (including the folk-rock supergroup Monsters of Folk), Oberst emerged in the following decade as one of his generation’s most acclaimed songwriters.
Desaparecidos reunited in 2010 at the Concert for Equality in Omaha, following with a brief summer tour in 2012. Across the next year, the band self-released a slew of singles and 7-inches, including “MariKKKopa,” “Backsell,” “Anonymous,” “The Left Is Right,” “Te Amo Camila Vallejo” and “The Underground Man” – all of which are included on Payola.