Conor Oberst inks with Merge for solo album


NEW YORK -- Bright Eyes principal Conor Oberst has signed with Merge Records for his first solo album in 12 years. The self-titled set is due Aug. 5 and was recorded in January and February in Tepoztlan, Mexico.

Oberst is backed on the project by the Mystic Valley Band, the members of whom have not been named. Longtime collaborator Andy LeMaster assisted with the recording, which Oberst produced.

The album is Oberst's first solo release since 1996's "Soundtrack to My Movies," issued on cassette when he was a teenager. It's also his first not to be released domestically on Saddle Creek, the Omaha, Neb., label with which he's been associated since he began recording in the early '90s.

Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band have four live dates on tap this summer: the U.K.'s Reading and Leeds Festivals (Aug. 22 and 24), Ireland's Electric Picnic (Aug. 31) and the Austin City Limits festival (Sept. 27).

Here is the track list for "Conor Oberst":

"Cape Canaveral"
"Leaders in the Temple (Ruben's Song)"
"Danny Callahan"
"I Don't Want to Die (In the Hospital)"
"Eagle on a Pole"
"NYC-Gone, Gone"
"Valle Mistico"
"Milk Thistle"