journey into the better oblivion community center

Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst enlisted Japanese Breakfast to direct their surreal new video for ‘Dylan Thomas.’

by Nicole DeMarco
29 January 2019, 8:10pm

Just last week Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst surprise released their debut album for their new band, Better Oblivion Community Center, via Dead Oceans. As for the name? “I like the sound of the words together and I think it has a little air of mystery to it. Which I think is disappearing from the world, so it’s good to have some mystery,” Conor told NME. “For me, it’s kind of like impending doom mixed with like the positivity of you know, a community center. Like, we’re all in this together.” The cover art, Phoebe says, “looks almost like a sci-fi book.”

With the release of their first video for the standout track, “Dylan Thomas,” the band takes us into the heart of the Better Oblivion Community Center itself. It opens with Phoebe and Conor holding a pamphlet for a place of the same name, and a slew of weird 90s graphics flashing across various television screens as they journey inside. It’s maybe a secret cult. The space is covered in flickering candles and there are blindfolds involved. And virtual reality headsets. Older versions of themselves. Trust falls. Ritualistic bingo in the clouds. Upside-down experiments. And could Phoebe’s drummer Marshall Vore be the mastermind behind it all? There’s definitely something mad happening here. “The truth is anybody’s guess,” they sing. But it’s a lavish place where you can lose yourself — for better or for worse. And something that could’ve only been dreamt up by Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner, who directed the video with the new band.

"Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst are two of my favorite songwriters and lyricists of our time, so it was an honor to get to work with them on the visuals for their new project together,” she says. “As always I worked with Adam Kolodny, my DP and creative collaborator to bring this cross between an Eyes Wide Shut LA mansion party and the Great Northern Hotel to life." Better yet, BOCC has announced tour dates, too. Watch the super surreal video below.

music video
Conor Oberst
Dylan Thomas
Phoebe Bridgers
better oblivion community center