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Bright Eyes Go A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Techno

Nelly had a fair amount of success earlier this fall when he suckered his fans into buying not one, but two new albums on the same day: the party-pumping Sweat and the slow-jammin’ Suit. You’ve got to have some moxy to pull off the two separate albums released on the same day trick (Guns N’ Roses and Tom Waits – who’ve both pulled it off – aren’t exactly your typical artists). If anything,

Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst has moxy.

The indie rock heartthrob will not only release two albums on the same day (January 25), but he’s planning to launch separate tours to support each album. According to Billboard.com, Bright Eyes will tour behind I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning in early 2005 and will turn his attention to Digital Ash In A Digital Urn in May. Dates and venues haven’t been finalized for either tour and there’s no word if the band will make it up to Canada.

While the double album/double tour may seem like a pretentious publicity stunt, it actually makes logistical sense for Oberst to promote the albums separately. I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning is expected to fall into the alt.country category, with guest appearances by Emmylou Harris and My Morning Jacket’s Jim James (plus, falling out of pattern, Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner ). As such, the album will be backed up by a standard Bright Eyes tour. Digital Ash In A Digital Urn, on the other hand, will be more of a, er, digital affair and will demand a different back-up band when it’s translated into a live setting. For the May tour, Oberst has hired The Faint to play with him and give the songs a more electronic edge.

As risky as the double album release is, judging from the success of two recently released teaser singles, Oberst should do just fine. Earlier this fall Bright Eyes released “Lua” and “Take It Easy (Love Nothing),” which shockingly took the #1 and #2 spots on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart. The last artist to pull of that kind of singles chart action was Puff Daddy, whose own “I’ll Be Missing You” was at #1 while Notorious B.I.G. ‘s “Mo Money Mo Problems” (featuring Puffy) was at #2 back in 1997.

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