Out Now: Conor Oberst + Bright Eyes Release First New Album Since 2011 — Stream the Anxious, Apocalyptic ‘Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was’


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Rock Cellar Magazine
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Among indie/rock circles, few acts ever attracted as much esteem and respect as Bright Eyes — and today, Aug. 21, the band returned with Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was, its first new album since 2011.

(Click here to purchase Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was from our Rock Cellar Store).

Bright Eyes, fronted by Conor Oberst, is both a “legacy act” and a contemporary favorite of many buzzworthy younger acts. Oberst is musical colleagues with Phoebe Bridgers, having released a collaborative album together as Better Oblivion Community Center in 2019. Additionally, Oberst and band mates Mike Mogis and Nathaniel Walcott were all involved in Bridgers’ fantastic new album Punisher, as well … so safe to say she was excited about the new Bright Eyes record:

With all of this context, it’s clear that Bright Eyes’ return came with heightened anticipation — and the album delivers, Oberst’s steady lyrical delivery paired with the band’s emotionally-tinged compositions as confidently as they have throughout previous records. The anxiety, the apprehension, it’s all there in spades.

A news release details the focus of the new album and its tension:

As a title, as a thesis, Down In The Weeds Where the World Once Was functions on a global, apocalyptic level of anxiety that looms throughout the record. But on a personal level, it speaks to rooting around in the dirt of one’s memories, trying to find the preciousness that’s overgrown and unrecognizable. For Conor Oberst, coming back to Bright Eyes was a bit of that. A symbol of simpler times, vaguely nostalgic. And even though it wasn’t actually possible to go back to the way things were, even though there wasn’t an easy happy ending, there was a new reality left to work with.

In terms of special guests, Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers pops up on a couple of songs, for good measure:

Nine years between albums is a significant break, but Bright Eyes sound as focused and polished as ever on Down in The Weeds Where the World Once Was. 

It’s great to have their brand of anxious and thoughtful indie/rock back.

Stream the album below, via Spotify:


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