Conor Oberst and M. Ward are mates. Ward opened for Bright Eyes during his 2002 Lifted tour. He joined Oberst and Jim James a couple years later for their collaborative triptych trek. When Bright Eyes was in LA with help from the LA Philharmonic a couple months ago, Ward was watching in the wings.

So maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Oberst and Ward have gone one step further and, allegedly, formed a band.

This interesting development came from a Omaha City Weekly report, which suggested that Oberst and Ward’s unnamed band plans to record an album next year. However, neither Oberst’s nor Ward’s camps could confirm the story.

It might become a bit clearer on December 29 and 30, as Conor Oberst takes the stage at Minneapolis’ 400 Bar as a solo artist with “a different backing band,” according to a Minneapolis/St. Paul Star Tribune report. “Word from 400 Bar management,” the report states, “is that Oberst wants it explicitedly known these won’t be Bright Eyes shows– i.e., he won’t be doing any of those songs! He will be playing new material.”

This COULD be one of the developments to watch for next year, until that Andrew Bird / Wilco collaboration takes flight…