Bright Eyes Reveal Details Of New Album ‘Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was’, Released on 21st August

June 22, 2020
Photo credit Danny Cohen


Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was 

To Be Released 21st August On Dead Oceans

New Single “Mariana Trench” Out Today

Bright Eyes have today announced the details of their long awaited tenth album, and first since 2011, Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Wasto be released on Dead Oceans on 21st August. Accompanying the announcement is a brand new track titled ‘Mariana Trench’, give the video a watch here

The news has been a long time coming for fans who were first alerted to new material in January when the long dormant social media accounts were revived with new images. A steady march of captivating songs released over the past few months has ramped up the excitement – first with the melancholy nostalgia of “Persona Non Grata”, then with the slick near joyous fever dream of “Forced Convalescence” and most recently with the elegant orchestral “One And Done”.  “Mariana Trench” rattles with anxiety, its epic sprawl exploding with the forward-chugging momentum of syncopated brass. Bright Eyes are back at exactly the moment we need them most. 

The mesmerizing video for “Mariana Trench” was created by Art Camp. Speaking on the creation of the video, Art Camp states: “The production of the video started at the beginning of quarantine and finished as people came back out of their homes and took to the streets together. In 18 different bedrooms across the world, listening to Bright Eyes, keeping each other company, we got the chance to collaborate on a story about embracing and celebrating change. The animation is composed of 2,200 hand-illustrated ink paintings based on original 3D animation and archival footage. We hope it makes you excited to imagine that everything could be new.

Pre-order Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was HERE

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 2011 the release of The People’s Key, Bright Eyes’ ninth and most recent album, ushered in an unofficial hiatus for the beloved project. In the time since, the work of the band’s core members – Oberst, multi-instrumentalist Mike Mogis, and multi-instrumentalist Nathaniel Walcott – has remained omnipresent, through both the members’ original work and collaboration. The friendship remained solid and their projects overlapped from time to time, with Oberst and Mogis living next door to one another in Omaha and Walcott’s Los Angeles home just fifteen minutes away from Oberst’s house on the East Side, where he’s spent the bulk of his time over the last few couple of years whilst working on his most recent solo records and Better Oblivion Community Center.   

The end of Bright Eyes’ unofficial hiatus came naturally. Oberst pitched the idea of getting the band back together during a 2017 Christmas party at Walcott’s house. The two huddled in the bathroom and called Mogis, who was Christmas shopping at an Omaha mall. Mogis immediately said yes. The resulting Bright Eyes album came together unlike any other of its predecessors. Down in the Weeds is Bright Eyes’ most collaborative, stemming from only one demo and written in stints in Omaha and in bits and pieces in Walcott’s home. Radically altering a writing process 25 years into a project seems daunting, but Oberst said there was no trepidation: “Our history and our friendship, and my trust level with them, is so complete and deep. And I wanted it to feel as much like a three-headed monster as possible.”

In spite of all its newness, the LPfeels like the most complete amalgamation of Bright Eyes. The symphony’s presence recalls Walcott’s orchestral arrangements on Cassadaga, while hyper-percussive elements and effects conjure Digital Ash. The jolting intimacy of Oberst’s singular voice and its folk songwriting core are the same foundations of Lifted and I’m Wide Awake. And overblown acoustic guitar marks Mogis’ production reaching back in time to the original recordings Oberst made on a 4-track 25 years ago.

Across recording sessions between Omaha’s ARC Studios, Los Angeles’s Electro-Vox, and LA’s Capitol Studios, the trio leaned intoexperimentation, yielding an ambitious, musically inventive LP. Aside from the surprising rhythm section made up of the fierce musicianship of Jon Theodore (Mars Volta, Queens of the Stone Age, One Day as a Lion) and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, the compositions expand the expectation of what Bright Eyes’ sound is. 

Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was is an enormous record caught in the profound in-between of grief and clarity – one arm wrestling it’s demons, the other gripping the hand of love, in spite of it. 

Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was tracklist:

  1. Pageturner’s Rag                                              8.  Persona Non Grata 
  2. Dance And Sing                                                 9.  Tilt-A-Whirl
  3. Just Once In The World                                  10.  Hot Car in the Sun
  4. Mariana Trench                                                 11. Forced Convalescence 
  5. One and Done                                                   12. To Death’s Heart (In Three Parts)
  6. Pan and Broom                                                 13. Calais To Dover
  7. Stairwell Song                                                    14. Comet Song 

Dead Oceans is offering exclusive standard and deluxe bundles to preorder on Secretly Store which include Down in the Weeds, Where the World Once Was 2xLP on limited transparent red & transparent orange vinyls, Persona Non Grata b/w Flirted With You All My Life 7” on limited transparent orange w/ opaque red splatter and various other exclusive items. All 2xLP variants feature a 2-inch die cut hole through the entire package revealing the LPs from both sides. Side D contains an animated phenakistoscope etching by Drew Tetz and a 4-panel lyric booklet.


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