New Releases

Bright Eyes Come Out Stronger with "Forced Convalescence"

It's the band's second new song of 2020.

Shawn Brackbill

We might not get to see Bright Eyes' long-awaited reunion tour as soon as we thought, but new music from the beloved band has yet to be canceled.

Last month, the Conor Oberst-led trio shared their comeback single, "Persona Non Grata," and confirmed that a new album was on the way—although they've yet to disclose a release date. This week, Bright Eyes have revealed another new song, "Forced Convalescence." This one is a peppy, piano-driven tune with a gradually-building instrumentation. Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers performs bass guitar, while Jon Theodore of the Mars Volta and Queens of the Stone Age lends a hand for percussion.

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New Releases

Bright Eyes Make a Welcome Return with "Persona Non Grata"

It's the indie rock trio's first new song in nearly a decade.

After nearly a decade of silence, a new song from Bright Eyes has landed.

"Persona Non Grata" marks the indie rock trio's first new music since their 2011 record, The People's Key, but they've been hinting at a return for the past few months. Back in January, Conor Oberst and company launched their Instagram page and subsequently announced their signing to Dead Oceans, the label home of indie heroes like Mitski, Japanese Breakfast, and Kevin Morby.

Despite their years away, "Persona Non Grata" feels like a return to form for Bright Eyes, whose pioneering of mid-2000s emo-folk paved the way for recent like-minded acts like Pinegrove and Hop Along. The song's title, literally translating to "unwelcome person," is a term used in diplomacy for foreign people forbidden to enter or remain in a country. Oberst, it seems, has altered the term to apply to himself. "I'm the last of the best / I'm the thoughts in the swamp," he sings in his characteristic quiver.

The rocking ballad is driven by a waltzy piano, as bagpipe-like blares occasionally take over. It's somber and evocative, and it marks a welcome comeback for Bright Eyes. Listen below.

Bright Eyes - Persona Non Grata (Official Visualizer) www.youtube.com

TV

Would Conor Oberst Be a Good Late-Night Production Assistant?

The Bright Eyes frontman and his fellow musician, Phoebe Bridgers, appeared in a mockumentary segment called "Meet the CONAN Staff."

Courtesy of CONAN

What would happen if your favorite artist suddenly switched careers and became a production assistant on a late night talk show?

The CONAN team has given us a hint on what that strange scenario might look like. On the latest episode of "Meet the CONAN Staff"—a mockumentary series depicting behind-the-scenes shenanigans—Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst walks us through a day in the life of his new job.

"I sort of stumbled into the role of being the voice of the emo and indie rock movement," Oberst explains. "But that was just to pay the bills. Really, I wanted to break into late-night television production. I guess you could say I'm the Happy Gilmore of emo." But, like any assistant job, he faces his share of difficulties. Worst of all, he can't shake the habit of breaking out into his trademark quivering vocals: "The transition's been a little rocky. My brain is just so good at coming up with sad songs about how we're just pawns in this f--ked up game, that sometimes the lyrics just slip out."

Of course, Oberst isn't alone in his job. In this comical alternate reality, he works alongside his Better Oblivion Community Center bandmate, Phoebe Bridgers. Although Oberst's try-hard attitude gets some flack from his superiors, Bridgers naturally exudes an effortless cool factor. "Yeah, I'll probably do this for a while," Bridgers says. "But it's kind of a bullsh*t job."

Watch the clip and delight in the sad songs of late night TV below.

www.youtube.com

MUSIC

Bright Eyes Have Plans for 2020

The seminal indie rock band just launched an Instagram page.

Could I please have the attention of everyone who sported side bangs in 2008: Bright Eyes, the mid-aughts indie band who made devoted fans out of granola hipsters and emo kids alike, have resurfaced.

It's been nearly a decade since the trio of Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Nate Walcott first called it quits, but from the looks of their newly-launched Instagram account, a return might be imminent. Today, @brighteyesofficial shared a brief promotional clip that doesn't feature any music but is captioned with the hashtag @BrightEyes2020. They tweeted a link to the Instagram account, as well.

Though Bright Eyes has taken the back burner in recent years, the members have kept fairly busy; Walcott has been involved with many major acts, touring with the likes of Rilo Kiley and the Red Hot Chili Peppers and contributing to albums for U2, Beck, Jason Mraz, Maroon 5, the Shins, and more, as well as working with Mogis to compose the score for the film adaptation of John Green's The Fault in Our Stars. Mogis has engineered, produced, and performed in many records released by Bright Eyes' label, Saddle Creek. Frontman Oberst has had a busy solo career, and last year he linked with Phoebe Bridgers for their duo Better Oblivion Community Center.

In other words, if you've been looking for an excuse to cry to Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground, now is your chance.

Bright Eyes - Lover I Don't Have to Love www.youtube.com

Photo by Gene Page/AMC

How can it be possible for The Walking Dead to continue its story without Carl? Fans are upset and confused as to how a character that works symbiotically with Rick's can be axed without collapsing a fundamental premise of the show: a father motivated to protect his children. While Rick, of course, still has his adopted daughter as well as an entire adopted family now to push him forward, how will Carl's death change Rick? That question may be answered in understanding the legacy that Carl has left behind. There is also something to be said about the turning of generations and the clashing of the old and the new. Though audiences may have viewed this returning episode as a bit drawn out and despairing, there is meaning, even beauty, in Carl's death.

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