Listen to the band's new song 'Persona Non Grata.'

By Christian Holub
March 24, 2020 at 12:36 PM EDT

You knew it wasn't just a tour. Bright Eyes — the iconic indie rock band consisting of Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Nathaniel Walcott — haven't released an album since 2011's The People's Key, but they re-emerged in January to announce they would be touring this year, and also releasing new music. Coronavirus has thrown all tours into the realm of uncertainty, but the new music is here at least.

On Tuesday Bright Eyes released "Persona Non Grata," their first single in nine years and the first with new label Dead Oceans. The band also released a statement to go along with the track, speaking to fans feeling isolated in the midst of social distancing and quarantine.

"Hello Friends. Strange days indeed. Just wanted to send our love to everyone out there feeling alone, frightened, and isolated," Oberst, Mogis, and Walcott wrote in an open letter. "You are not alone. We are all in this together. We, like so many others, had many plans for 2020. We will be releasing a new album this year no matter what. We also have lots of touring plans which we are now reassessing. We will keep you informed as things progress. We very much want to get on the road and hope to see you all in person sooner rather than later."

"Until then, here is a song called 'Persona Non Grata,'" the letter continues. "We hope you like it. It was hard to decide which song to share first because they are all quite different, but this one seemed as good of a place as any to start. And it has bagpipes! Which is a first for us. We hope this finds you and your loved ones healthy and safe. Thinking of you fondly. Your pals, Conor, Mike, and Nate."

Bright Eyes have dealt with real-world travails before. One of their most iconic albums, I'm Wide Awake It's Morning, was released in the midst of George W. Bush's presidency and the invasion of Iraq, and incorporated lots of anti-war themes. That album celebrated its 15th anniversary in January, around the same time Bright Eyes announced their comeback.

Listen to "Persona Non Grata" above, and get ready for the full album later this year — since the band promises they'll release it "no matter what."

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