Posts Tagged ‘The Decemberists’

May be an image of 6 people, people standing, tree and outdoors

The Decemberists (including @lavenderdiamond and @mybrightestdiamond), standing amid the ivy in Forest Park on a particularly wet and cloudy day. This group of seven, fuelled by kombucha and bourbon, would go on to storm dozens of mid- to large-sized venues across greater North America and parts of the UK and Europe, playing our new record, “The Hazards of Love”, in its entirety. We recorded many of the shows. One such show distinguished itself among the many, partly because of the inspiring level of performance and partly because we made the fewest mistakes. We’ve released it as the first volume of our live series, “Live Home Library”. Those of you who pre-ordered, back in October or whenever, should be getting your copies imminently if you haven’t already. Thank you for you patience. 


The Hazards of Love tour was my absolute favourite live performance ever. so glad to have a live recording now.

Released February 5th, 2021

The Decemberists - Traveling On

We’re pleased to share that the title track from the ‘Traveling On’ EP

The EP “Traveling On” is the next iteration of The Decemberists B-sides series, a tradition that began in 2005 and serves as a follow up to “Florasongs” and “Long Live the King”. It’s comprised of five B-sides related to their last album ‘I’ll Be Your Girl’ (4 tracks that were exclusive to the Exploded Edition box set + a full band version of “Traveling On”). It is pressed onto Gold 10” Vinyl.

Here we are, in the final days of the YOUR GIRL/YOUR GHOST tour, the release of our 8th record, ‘I’ll Be Your Girl,’ a bare glimmer in the fogged rear-view mirror of time. Perhaps other bands would be content to rest on the laurels of another successful record released, another romp about the globe put to bed — BUT NOT THE DECEMBERISTS. No, folks, we have one last thing we’d like to impart to you before we go into our deserved siesta: We are announcing the ‘Traveling On EP’!

This little bugger is a sharp twenty-one minutes of songs that were recorded during the ‘I’ll Be Your Girl’ sessions but never quite found a home on the album those sessions produced. What’s the tracklisting, you ask? Look no further:

1. Down On The Knuckle
2. I Will Not Say Your Name
3. Tripping Along (Full Band Version)
4. Midlist Author
5. Traveling On

This EP will be out on compact disc, 10” vinyl and, as is the mode, digital bits via your preferred streaming service. However, if you order it now via the Decemberists shop, you can opt to receive a bespoke t-shirt as well. Vinyl copies will include a coupon for a digital download.

PLUS: if you order the EP through our web shop, you’ll INSTANTLY have access to digital files of two songs — “Traveling On” and “Tripping Along (Full Band Version).”

10” vinyl & CD released everywhere on December 14th, except UK/EU, released December 21st

The Decemberists performing “Traveling On” 2018 Capitol Records

The Decemberists  have shared the second single from their forthcoming eighth studio album, I’ll Be Your Girl, out on March 16th via Capitol Records.

Their first single, “Severed,” saw the band taking on a radical new electronic, synth-pop sound as they name dropped unexpected influences like Roxy Music, New Order and Depeche Mode, and they even said it started as a punk song. Synths follow the band into their new single “Once In My Life” though the acoustic guitar-led intro and outro give off the familiar comfort of a traditional Decemberists track. However, sandwiched in between the song’s edges is a spacey, synth-driven track that somehow manages to coexist with the indie-folk balladry of front man Colin Meloy’s lead vocals.

Meloy said the track was elevated by the band in the studio and he commented, “We were playing that on the road as a folk-rock anthem thing, but bringing in that obliterating synth really took it somewhere different. The whole band really stepped up and transformed these arrangements.”Image may contain: shoes

New album ‘I’ll Be Your Girl’ available March 16th:

This thing, this molten piece of spectacular extravagance, is available for pre-order now and will ship no later than June 15th, 2018. No fear: each pre-order will come with a digital download of the album that can be redeemed on March 16 (the four extra tracks will be available for digital download on the shipping date).

• Sixteen songs — all eleven of the album tracks + four exclusive tracks from the IBYG sessions
• Eight  7” vinyl records, each a different color
• Nine sleeve pinwheeling, heavy duty cardstock book with slide-out record jacket pockets, full color art from Carson Ellis and paper engineered pop-up elements
• Full color booklet SIGNED BY THE BAND
• Lives tidily inside a hefty chipboard slipcase.

(Plus a few special secrets)

“Once In My Life” is the first song on I’ll Be Your Girl. I imagine you’ve felt this way, or are maybe feeling this way right now. It’s a pretty universal sentiment, I think. Embrace it. Hope you enjoy the song. – Colin Meloy

The Decemberists are back! Their band members include drummer Joen Moen, guitarists Chris Funk and Colin Meloy who takes lead vocals, multi-instrumentalist Chris Funk and Nate Query playing bass.

This year sees the release of their latest album; I’ll Be Your Girl. And so, you can catch them showing off their new material Fans are all very excited to get their hands on The Decemberists tickets,

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The Decemberists Ill Be Your Girl Art.jpg

The Decemberists  are exploring a new sound alongside a new producer on their eighth studio album, “I’ll Be Your Girl”, due out on March 16th via Capitol Records. The Colin Meloy-led, Portland-based band have detailed their John Congleton-produced new album and shared its first single, the swaggering, synth-driven track “Severed.”

If “Severed”—and the band’s I’ll Be Your Girl announcement, which cites influences like Roxy Music and New Order—is any indication, the album will be a somewhat radical departure for The Decemberists. Their new single builds from a dance floor-ready synth and percussion combo, soon adding dark guitar notes. Even Meloy’s familiar singing voice is subtly distorted, lending a swaggering attitude to lines like, “I alone am the answer / I alone will make wrongs right.”

“When you’ve been a band for 17 years, inevitably there are habits you fall into,” says Meloy in a statement. “So our ambition this time was really just to get out of our comfort zone. That’s what prompted working with a different producer and using a different studio. We wanted to free ourselves from old patterns and give ourselves permission to try something different.” Meloy recalled falling into such patterns on the group’s last record, 2015’s acclaimed What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World.

WIth this freedom to push boundaries came an increased emphasis on collaboration. Speaking specifically to the process of writing and recording “Severed,” Meloy recalls, “That was written as a punk song, but wasn’t really working. [keyboardist] Jenny [Conlee] set this arpeggio throughout it, and it became like an early New Order song. And I had forgotten that when we made the demo, I also started a file to turn it into more of a Depeche Mode song—I actually wanted it to be a synth song all along.”

The Decemberists  will embark on the Your Girl / Your Ghost 2018 World Tour in March, with stops all around the globe.

Over the past 17 years, the members of The Decemberists have gravitated toward a variety of genres, from indie pop to the complexity of progressive rock. But with their new project Offa Rex — a collaboration between the Portland, Oregon-based outfit and the English singer Olivia Chaney frontman Colin Meloy and band members are dipping their toes into folk.

The Queen Of Hearts is the title of Offa Rex’s debut album, which features the musicians in The Decemberists backing up Chaney, who assumes lead vocalist duties. It’s a match made in folk-rock heaven. Like similar team-ups before, most notably the similiar legendary pairing of The Albion Band and Shirley Collins in the early 1970s  Queen Of Hearts is an interpolation of vintage British Isles folk music as filtered through electric guitars and a sinewy rock backbeat. The result is connecting the dots between contemporary indie music and a deeper cultural legacy.

The album draws heavily on the folk songbook, from the haunting drone of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” to the jangly melancholy of “Bonnie May,” a timeless ode to a love gone off to war. Tragedy, romance and the rhythms of everyday life inform Queen’s exquisitely curated playlist. “Dark Eyed Sailor,” a Steeleye Span favorite in the ’70s, coasts on gently strummed chords and Olivia Chaney’s heart-piercing plea for fidelity. And on the disc’s sumptuous title track, a psychedelic energy suffuses the song’s otherwise primordial lilt.

Chaney takes gripping prominence on the album — her voice is an arresting, attention-demanding trill — but she doesn’t sing lead throughout. On “Blackleg Miner,” Meloy sings lead, breathing a tremulous righteousness into the song’s tale of the plight of striking coalminers in 19th-century England. Steeleye Span returned the song to prominence in 1970, and Offa Rex does justice to a classic ballad of injustice. And on “Constant Billy Eddington/I’ll Go Enlist Sherborne,” vocals are done away with entirely, leaving the ebullient jig to dance along on its own.

The Decemberists have long shown a fascination with the tragedy of folklore, and it was probably inevitable that they’d wind up making a traditional folk-rock album at some point in their careers. But by teaming with Chaney, they’ve surpassed delivering a mere homage. Instead, The Queen Of Hearts hums with the resonance of bygone eras and ancient ways, of doomed love and arduous hardship — all of it embroidered into the patchwork tapestry of life itself.

The Decemberists have announced  a reissue of their 2006 album The Crane Wife to celebrate the albums 10th Anniversary Edition 5xLP+Blu-ray (Capitol)
This is a five-LP box set is out December 9th on Capital Records in addition to the original album on two LPs will come with three records of rare b-sides, bonus tracks, and previously unreleased material. The reissue also contains a plus Blu-ray set containing the 2006 album, and a complete live video performance from the 9:30 Club on The Crane Wife tour. Housed in a lift-top box. In celebration of The Crane Wife’s 10th anniversary, it’s being reissued as five LPs featuring the original album across two LPs plus three additional records full of b-sides and bonus tracks, previously unreleased outtakes, alternative versions, and solo acoustic demos. The set also includes a Blu-ray of The Decemberists: Live at the 9:30 Club 2006 and a 20-page booklet with foreword by Lin-Manuel Miranda and liner notes from David Fricke of Rolling Stone. On black vinyl.

The Decemberists

There is also a 20-page booklet, with liner notes by rock writer David Fricke and an essay by Hamilton’s Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is a big Decemberist fan . Five hundred limited-edition copies of the reissue will be printed on marbled red vinyl. Check out the full Crane Wife reissue tracklist

LP 1: The Original Album

01 The Crane Wife 3
02 The Island: Come and See/The Landlord’s Daughter/You’ll Not Feel the Drowning
03 Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
04 O Valencia!
05 The Perfect Crime #2
06 When the War Came
07 Shankill Butchers

LP 2: Original Album Plus Outtakes

01 Summers0ng
02 The Crane Wife 1 & 2
03 Sons & Daughters
04 After the Bombs
05 Culling of the Fold
06 Hurdles Even Here

LP 3: Outtakes and Alternates

01 The Perfect Crime #1 + The Day I Knew You’d Not Come Back
02 After the Bombs (Early Take)
03 Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then) (Alternate Take With Alela Diane)
04 Culling of the Fold (Alternate Take With Sean Nelson)
05 Hurdles Even Here (Full Band Take)
06 The Perfect Crime #2 (Early Take)

LP 4: Home Demos

01 The Island: Come and See/The Landlord’s Daughter/You’ll Not Feel the Drowning
02 O Valencia!
03 The Perfect Crime #2
04 Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then) (With Carson Ellis)
05 The Capp Street Girls
06 Culling of the Fold
07 Hurdles Even Here

LP 5: Home Demos

01 Shankill Butchers (Demo)
02 Summersong (Demo)
03 The Day I Knew You’d Not Come Back (Demo)
04 The Perfect Crime #1 (Demo)
05 The Crane Wife 1, 2 & 3
06 Sons & Daughters

Blu-ray: Live at the 9:30 Club, October 29, 2006

01 The Crane Wife 3
02 The Island
03 We Both Go Down Together
04 The Gymnast, High Above the Ground
05 The Perfect Crime #2
06 Shankill Butchers
07 Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect
08 O Valencia!
09 The Legionnaire’s Lament
10 16 Military Wives
11 The Crane Wife 1 & 2
12 Sons & Daughters
13 Red Right Ankle
14 Culling of the Fold
15 I Was Meant for the Stage


Portland’s Eyelids is the project of The DecemberistsJohn Moen, and Chris Slusarenko who was a Guided by Voices member in the 2000s (both also played together in the Robert Pollard-fronted Boston Spaceships). Their upcoming self-titled EP was produced by R.E.M.’s Peter Buck (who’s also contributed to The Decemberists), and his band’s jangly alt-rock isn’t too far removed from the EP’s new single, “Bound To Let You Down.” That premieres in this post and can be streamed below.


The EP comes out June 23 via Jealous Butcher and the band’s own Schizophonic Records, and features one other original song, as well as covers of John Cale’s “Only Time Will Tell” and The Dream Syndicate’s “Halloween.” A limited edition colored vinyl version is also being released, which includes a download card with three exclusive live videos, one of which has Stephen Malkmus performing “Hey Joe” with the band.

A lovely performance of “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” by The Decemberists captured by Rosamannen

I’ve seen a couple of Mariner’s Revenge storyboards, and this one is my favorite. I think it’s because the expressions are dynamic with still being realistic to the shock and pain of the whole song’s situation. I also like the way you portrayed the son- he still maintains his youth and a sense of bewilderment even with the lust for revenge. I love this. En famille. Colin Meloy is a magnificent raconteur, in addition to his musical prowess and distinctive vocal style.  The Mariner’s Revenge Song. Animated Comics based on The Decemberists’ “Mariner’s Revenge Song”. Designed, directed, produced, illustrated and animated by Artur Janz. Written and sung by The Decemberists.

This comic were developed as a project to the Comics Workshop discipline in the UFPR’s (Universidade Federal Do Paraná) Graphics Design Graduation, under Rafael Dubiela supervision.

The Decemberists announced today the release of a new 5-song EP from sessions that made up their seventh studio album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World, which was released last January. The album marked the band’s return after a four-year break following the release of their 2011 album The King Is Dead, which saw great commercial success. The new EP, out Oct. 9th  is titled Florasongs and will be available as a CD, 10” vinyl and digital album. Fans can pre-order it today as well as listen to the lead track “Why Would I Now.”

The Decemberists have been touring all year and still have shows scheduled for the autumn at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall and the Austin City Limits festival.

The Florasongs EP Track List:

1. Why Would I Now
2. Riverswim
3. Fits & Starts
4. The Harrowed And The Haunted
5. Stateside


When the new album from The Decemberists, “What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World” comes out on 20th January – it will have been just over four years since their last release, During this time Colin Meloy  the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist, Has written no fewer than three Wildwood fantasy novels that were received with, uh, wild enthusiasm and illustrated by his wife Carson Ellis.  Meloy spoke about how writing the series affected the songs on the record and generously gave context to where The Decemberists are now by commenting on all their releases to date.

Hear Colin play songs from the forthcoming album and enjoy this great opportunity to get to know the man and the band much more intimately.

It is impossible for any character to make it through an entire Decemberists song without drowning; heaven help us if anyone ever relates the tale of Atlantis to Colin Meloy, who will immediately begin to shake and bleed and spew out song lyrics about sailors walled up in catacombs and ancient queens’ abortions if he ever learns that there is an entire drowned city in the annals of folklore. If someone is not drowning, they are merrily rattling their scimitars in the Boer Civil Spanish War or flinging infants into cisterns and committing gang rape in coastal cities. Here is a thorough and exhaustively researched list of all of the prosecutable felonies named in The Decemberist’s six studio albums; may their sentences be extensive.
Castaways and Cutouts, 2002

Infanticide, “Leslie Anne Levine”
Bootlegging, possible manslaughter, “July! July!”
Rape, multiple counts; aggravated assault; kidnapping, “A Cautionary Song”
Rape, assault, assault with a lethal weapon, “Odalisque”
Election fraud, “Cocoon”
Possession of a controlled substance (Class I), “The Legionnaire’s Lament”
N.B. The admission of “paying [one’s] debt to society” in “California One” is inadmissable, as library fines do not qualify as a felony, no matter how large the amount owed

Her Majesty The Decemberists, 2003

Criminal threat and assault, “Shanty For the Arethusa”
Indecent exposure, “Billy Liar”
Assault and battery, infanticide, “The Bachelor and the Bride”

Picaresque, 2005

Providing alcohol to a minor, “The Infanta”
Rape, criminal liability in relation to suicide, “We Both Go Down Together”
Murder of a police officer in the line of duty, treason, bribery of a public official, “The Bagman’s Gambit”
Aggravated assault and battery, “The Mariner’s Revenge Song”

The Crane Wife, 2006

Assault and rape, “The Landlord’s Daughter”
Murder in the first degree, “You’ll Not Feel The Drowning”
Manslaughter, suspected arson, “O Valencia”
Kidnapping, grand theft, manslaughter, “The Perfect Crime #2″
Criminal threat and murder in the second degree, “The Shankill Butchers”
Bribery of a police officer, multiple counts; kidnapping, “The Perfect Crime #1″

The Hazards of Love, 2009

Murder in the first degree, three counts; desecration of a corpse “The Rake’s Song”
Kidnapping, “The Abduction of Margaret”

The King Is Dead, 2011

There are no felonies committed in The King Is Dead. While “scores of innocents die” in “Calamity Song,” the fault cannot be pinned on the narrator; the “you” in “All Arise!” commits multiple acts of theft,


The Decemberists don’t have a single bad record in their discography. You could also say it’s pointless to categorize their work in the first place since it all follows the same solid formula of old-timey musicality, Dickensian vocabulary, and highfalutin storytelling. But we’d argue that while every Decemberists album does indeed feature these things, it’s to differing degrees and always done with a specific mission in mind. Luckily, we’ve outlined these slight changes in temperature for you, from the dark outcast sympathy of Castaways and Cutouts to the country leanings of The King Is Dead. Where their seventh studio album, What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World (out January 20th), will land on the spectrum is anybody’s guess, but we can almost guarantee it will be a variation on a theme we’ve come to love.


While The Decemberists’ debut, “Castaways and Cutouts”, was never anything short of literary in its aspirations (and is a more solid set of songs front-to-back), Her Majesty the Decemberists was the band’s first release that could truly be called theatrical. For hard evidence of this, look no further than the seven-minute manifesto “I Was Meant for the Stage”. With the help of horns, keys, strings, and bells, Colin Meloy and company spin tales on Her Majesty that maintain the richness of their previous works (the 5 Songs EP and Castaways), but also bring their musicianship and lyricism to new heights. Songs like the sly “The Soldiering Life”, about men who are more than just battlefield comrades, showcase Meloy’s ever-expanding vocabulary — “bombazine” is just one of the words on Her Majesty that no indie rock lyricist had ever employed and probably never will again (it’s an archaic fabric made of silk and/or wool, in case you were curious). As exciting as it was to see The Decemberists best themselves on 2005’s Picaresque, they could’ve laid down their instruments after Her Majesty and still have had a rich body of work to be proud of.


Though I’ve never heard anyone argue it’s The Decemberists’ best album, “The King Is Dead” might be the most accessible, hitting No. 1 on the Billboard 200 thanks to a cast of cameos that included singer-songwriter Gillian Welch and R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. According to Meloy, the band’s sixth album reflects a retreat from the lavish British progvfolk that underpinned Picaresque, The Crane Wife, and The Hazards of Love in favor of more stripped-down American folk influences. Seeking to craft “first-person meditations, rather than third-person fantasies,” Meloy penned many of the album’s 10 tracks while settling into his new home amidst Oregon’s Willamette River and Tualatin Mountains. “January Hymn” and “June Hymn” are both firmly rooted in these surroundings, as is the harmonica-drenched “Don’t Carry It All”.

Likewise, “Down by the Water” — brimming with an accordion, harmonica, Peter Buck’s 12-string, and Welch’s resounding vocals — sounds fulsome but never turgid. “This Is Why We Fight” chronicles the wastes of war with an icy clarity, while the country closer, “Dear Avery”, sends us off with meandering pedal steel and angelic female harmonies. A tight album with almost no filler, The King Is Dead has The Decemberists breaking away from their signature sound to try something new.


Two Christmases (or Decembers!) ago, I told a friend I had just watched my second-favorite Batman movie, Batman Returns. “Ah,” he nodded. “When Burton goes total Burton.” “Exactly!” I said, before he told me he actually hated the film. Regardless of our differing views on its quality, we both agreed it was The Dark Knight at his most extreme, an unapologetic story where all of the things fans love — and hate — about him get brought to the forefront in grotesque, gothic glory.

So if we’re talking about “The Hazards of Love” in cinematic Batman terms, this would be the record where Meloy goes full Meloy. Sure “The Crane Wife” took The Decemberists’ love of yarn-spinning up a tier by featuring two songs about the same Japanese myth, but Hazards is a full-blown rock opera with a complete beginning, middle, and end to its long-form narrative. Your feelings toward the tale of forbidden love between a young woman and a sylvan shape-shifter — not to mention Chris Funk’s Sabbath-esque guitar theatrics, the multiple character voices, and a choir of ghost children — largely depend on your taste for the histrionic. But love it or hate it, the band’s unwavering loyalty to their vision demands respect. After all, how many true rock operas have there even been in the 21st century


“Castaways and Cutouts” opens with a song told from the perspective of a dead girl. Leslie Anne Levine’s mother “birthed me down a dry ravine,” she tells us, and the combination of macabre, vivid lyrics, and whimsical accordion tell you most of what you need to know about The Decemberists’ debut. In between Leslie Anne’s unfortunate story and the dreamy escapism of “California One / Youth and Beauty Brigade” at the close, Colin Meloy and his cohorts sketch a number of lushly detailed (albeit ominous) pictures, from a mother of dubious profession (“A Cautionary Song”) to romance in impossible situations (“Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect”) and an especially morose New Year’s Day (“Grace Cathedral Hill”). Despite the general cloud of gloom, Castaways still showcases some of the sharpest and most enjoyable storytelling in The Decemberists’ catalog, and lays the groundwork for more ambitious triumphs such as Picaresque and The Crane Wife.


Her Majesty and, to an extent, Picaresque both contained a few allusions to existing pieces of literature (“Song for Myla Goldberg”, “Of Angels and Angles”, etc.). But on “The Crane Wife”, Meloy gets more epic, pulling from a Japanese myth for the multi-part title track and Shakespeare’s The Tempest for the 12-and-a-half-minute “The Island”. Unlike The Hazards of Love, however, The Crane Wife‘s stories are simple enough to enjoy without having to read along on the lyrics sheet, making it the most user-friendly Decemberists album (other than maybe The King Is Dead) to new fans. Also, while the tale at the center does involve a shape-shifting crane, the words stay rooted in the difficulty of marriage and romantic expectation, a topic that far more of us can relate to than a transmogrified bird.


Kicking off with a cathartic shriek, Picaresque is The Decemberists’ most extravagant and brazen offering, at least musically speaking. Anchored by the delightfully outlandish lyrics of Colin Meloy and Chris Funk’s instrumental bag of tricks (hurdy-gurdy, bouzouki, and mountain dulcimer all make an appearance), the band’s third album earned them universal critical acclaim and an instant cult following.

But whereas the equally spectacular Hazards stuck to one story, Picaresque covers an insane amount of ground. Evoking impending doom and the blinding ecstasy of love, frantic violins frame a star-crossed couple’s struggle on “We Both Go Down Together”. Unable to reconcile his sweetheart’s sordid past (“tattooed tramp”) with the stifling expectations of an elitist patriarch, the singer finds suicide to be the couple’s only form of salvation: “And while the seagulls are crying/ We fall but our souls are flying.” There’s also a self-conscious ditty about athletic incompetence (“The Sporting Life”), a diatribe on the rigidity of socioeconomic hierarchies (“The Engine Driver”), and an eight-minute gypsy rock saga chronicling naturalistic calamity, exploited kindness, and masochistic retribution (“The Mariner’s Revenge Song”).
“16 Military Wives” is another notable entry as, unlike Picaresque‘s other songs, it takes its inspiration from real life, serving as an anthemic rebuke of President Bush and the media’s lame response. Backed by a majestically swirling organ, Meloy belts out in righteous frustration, “If America says it’s so/ It’s so!/ And the anchorperson on TV/ Goes la-di-da-di-da-didi-didi-da!” Touting a more sparse arrangement, closing track “Of Angels and Angles” finds the singer sounding wounded and exposed over nothing except a gentle acoustic guitar. It’s a fitting testament to an album whose diversity not only defined The Decemberists, but inspired a whole generation of Pacific Northwest folkies. A full decade later, its reverberations are still being heard.