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Decemberists gonna December
January 3, 2011 1:15 PM   Subscribe

Go listen to the new Decemberists album, The King Is Dead.
posted by boo_radley (106 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
On a scale from 0 to 10, how much does it resemble prog rock? I'll listen to it if the average answer is less than 5.
posted by IjonTichy at 1:22 PM on January 3, 2011


"I'll listen to it if the average answer is less than 5."

It has accordion. What more could you want?
posted by sutt at 1:23 PM on January 3, 2011


...oh for fuck's sake IjonTichy stole my comment.
posted by griphus at 1:24 PM on January 3, 2011


On a scale from 0 to 10, how much does it resemble prog rock?

It resembles early REM with more banjo. Actually a pretty good combination.
posted by oinopaponton at 1:24 PM on January 3, 2011


IjonTichy: 2

What this is is a terrific album of shorter pop songs with some country influences. I think "Calamity Song," track 2, may be one of their best ever.

Anyone for a Bay Area meet-up for their Oakland show in February?
posted by eugenen at 1:24 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Numbers, people. I'm trying to do science here.
posted by IjonTichy at 1:24 PM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


What more could you want?

Something that sounds absolutely nothing like Crane Wife. Seriously. It doesn't even have to sound like Picaresque. Just as long as it doesn't sound like Crane Wife.
posted by griphus at 1:25 PM on January 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Not on the album, but they have a recent cover of Row Jimmy.

By the Grateful Dead.
posted by Danf at 1:28 PM on January 3, 2011


No thanks. Why would I listen to a Harvey Danger tribute band when I still have the original thing?
posted by Eideteker at 1:28 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's Appalachian folk/ bluegrass to my ear: fiddle, accordion, upright bass.
posted by boo_radley at 1:30 PM on January 3, 2011


It leaked a few weeks ago, but I'm kind of disappointed with it and have listened only once. It feels like an overcorrection for the Hazards of Love to me.
posted by jokeefe at 1:30 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because the tribute band didn't peak halfway into their first single.
posted by griphus at 1:30 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


I would answer that, but I have no idea which end of your scale is "maximum prog" and which end is "minimum prog." Also, what is your definition of "maximum prog"?

Otherwise, you can read Sarah Wardrop's NPR review for that info, which includes the following summary (WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILER)
The new record opts to tame the band's indulgences, and also reroutes its musical focus: Instead of pointing solely to the British folk that has long inspired him, Meloy digs deep into the American roots-music lexicon, even merging the two in the sea shanty/mining tune "Rox in the Box."
Also, from my very half-assed search for other albums with this title, I find one classified as "hardcore" rock, another as alt.rock. And then there is the really enjoyable mash of sounds from Ghost Orchids (note: the Synth-Pop genre is overused on Discogs, due to lack of any other descriptor to cover sounds made with synthesizers).
posted by filthy light thief at 1:31 PM on January 3, 2011


Eideteker: "Why would I listen to a Harvey Danger tribute band when I still have the original thing?"
Eide, sit down, I have some... bad news for you.
posted by boo_radley at 1:34 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


IjonTichy: "On a scale from 0 to 10, how much does it resemble prog rock? I'll listen to it if the average answer is less than 5."

And if IjonTichy doesn't listen, I will.
posted by Cogito at 1:34 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


filthy light thief: "Also, what is your definition of "maximum prog"? "

I thought maximum prog had a pretty well accepted definition.
posted by Cogito at 1:36 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is it better than their previous stuff? Like maybe 2,000 % better, at least? Because if it isn't, I'm going to pass.
posted by Decani at 1:39 PM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


He wears those glasses in a lot of the songs. Other than that, it's still sometimes pretty ok. I'd give it a big fat six-and-a-half progs.
posted by From Bklyn at 1:40 PM on January 3, 2011


It feels like an overcorrection for the Hazards of Love to me.

I can see that, even though I don't think Hazards needed any correcting. They're really exploring American music here...very bluegrassy, almost like Colin's revisiting his Tarkio stuff. "Don't Carry it All" reminds me a lot of "Sister Nebraska."
posted by moviehawk at 1:40 PM on January 3, 2011


Not very far into my first listen, but I like it and I can say with certainty that nothing I have heard thus far sounds remotely like prog rock.
posted by rollbiz at 1:40 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaTip: To reduce the quantity of snark, NEVER start a post with "Go see this," "go do this" or "go listen to this". MeFites do not take orders well.
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:42 PM on January 3, 2011 [7 favorites]


Somebody please tell them that there are like 4 rar files of it on Mediafire.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 1:43 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


It resembles early REM with more banjo.

They've been playing "Down By the Water" quite frequently on CBC Radio 2 lately and, since I can't quite get past the fact that it's so shamelessly "The One I Love," I probably won't buy the album.
Also, it's always bothered me that he can't pronounce his R's.
posted by chococat at 1:48 PM on January 3, 2011


I find it hilarious that they're offering a "limited edition" version of the set and charging an insane $165 dollars for it. And at 2500 copies, it's not even that limited. That's over $400k of revenue from the ltd set. In addition, probably the biggest production cost specific to the box was the Polaroid film, which was donated to the band. Insanity.
posted by dobbs at 1:52 PM on January 3, 2011


I went to see their last concert in Kansas City. For the finale 4/5ths of the band decended into the audience, and Colin declared that we were going to re-enact the climactic battle from Lawrence of Arabia. I wish I were kidding.
posted by hellojed at 1:55 PM on January 3, 2011


I wish I were kidding.

Why?
posted by eugenen at 2:02 PM on January 3, 2011


For the finale 4/5ths of the band decended into the audience, and Colin declared that we were going to re-enact the climactic battle from Lawrence of Arabia.

This is maximum prog.
posted by IjonTichy at 2:03 PM on January 3, 2011


"Eide, sit down, I have some... bad news for you."

Yeah, but you can't take away my little round mirrors. Mainly because I have mp3 rips of them, which are themselves mirrored elsewhere.
posted by Eideteker at 2:03 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


I find it hilarious that they're offering a "limited edition" version of the set and charging an insane $165 dollars for it. [...] Insanity.

It's 2011 now, and bands have good reason to offer "perks" like this for dedicated fans in order for the artist to still be able to make records. I doubt Colin Meloy is a rich man. Just ask him.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:05 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I went to see their last concert in Kansas City. For the finale 4/5ths of the band decended into the audience, and Colin declared that we were going to re-enact the climactic battle from Lawrence of Arabia. I wish I were kidding.

I'm glad you aren't. I would welcome more LARPing in my concert-going. Too many damn hipster Emerson/Berklee/undergraduate students round these parts. LARPing's more sincere.
posted by maryr at 2:06 PM on January 3, 2011


It resembles early REM with more banjo.

Well, Peter Buck plays on a number of songs, and Meloy has said this album is about wearing his REM/Camper Van Beethoven influences on his sleeve.

A lot of the songs remind me of Fables of the Reconstruction with a heavy dose of acoustic Neil Young. Jangly guitar everywhere. Jenny Conlee (the organist) doesn't seem to have a lot to do.
posted by dw at 2:07 PM on January 3, 2011


So how many people die on this album?
posted by LordSludge at 2:08 PM on January 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Why?

My first reaction was "Shit, this is the tail end of the concert, everyone is drunk as hell, and you're going to wade into the huge mosh pit with instruments?" there's about a million things that could go wrong here. Granted, this is the suburban KC crowd, and it's a school night, and they have a small army of bouncers, but at first blush it seemed kind of foolish. My friend was exited that he got to brush Jenny Conlee's shoulder.

They did belt out a smashing cover of Heart's "Crazy on You" though.
posted by hellojed at 2:10 PM on January 3, 2011


In Oakland, it was the Donner Party Expedition, which was geographically topical. I'd have preferred them actually wailing on one more song, though.
posted by Danf at 2:15 PM on January 3, 2011


When they played in DC, they waded into the crowd to re-enact the 1990 arrest of Marion Barry. Things fell apart when no audience member appeared for the role of Rasheeda Moore.
posted by exogenous at 2:21 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd have preferred them actually wailing on one more song, though.

a cover of TMBG's Partical Man would be great. Colin has the perfect voice for it.
posted by hellojed at 2:22 PM on January 3, 2011


Fuck. I usually hate this band. But...this album is not too bad.
posted by Lutoslawski at 2:22 PM on January 3, 2011


It resembles early REM with more banjo.

If you think it sounds like REM, you're right. The album features Peter Buck (REM's guitarist) on guitar.

I'm pretty sure that REM has never had a banjo player in its lineup, so your assessment is 100% accurate.

I find it hilarious that they're offering a "limited edition" version of the set and charging an insane $165 dollars for it. And at 2500 copies, it's not even that limited

Lots and lots of bands are doing this these days. It's closer to a "Huge Packet o' Merch" than a "limited edition cd." I'm not sure that I love the trend, but they still seem to be churning out $10 albums for the rest of us, and they're free to sell whatever the hell that they want. If nothing else, it's akin to the tote bags that you "buy" from NPR as a donation. Even though the Decemberists are one of the more prominent "indie" groups, I can't imagine that they're taking home buckets of money.

And, it is indeed a new direction for The Decemberists. Possibly a bit more mainstream than their usual stuff, and reminiscent of some of the successful folks-y stuff from the past year (Nathaniel Rateliff, Mumford & Sons, etc.). I've listened to it 4 times today, so I guess you could consider me a fan of the new album, although I really have no idea how to compare it to their older work -- it's very different.
posted by schmod at 2:24 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


They've been playing "Down By the Water" quite frequently on CBC Radio 2 lately and, since I can't quite get past the fact that it's so shamelessly "The One I Love," I probably won't buy the album.
Also, it's always bothered me that he can't pronounce his R's.
posted by chococat at 4:48 PM on January 3


Holy crap! So this is the band that does that song? They should just call this song "Not Entirely Unlike 'The One I Love' by R.E.M."
posted by Pastabagel at 2:25 PM on January 3, 2011


It's 2011 now, and bands have good reason to offer "perks" like this for dedicated fans in order for the artist to still be able to make records.

It's not the limited nature of the release that I have a problem with. It's the pricetag.

I can't recall a single other single release in special edition that comes close to that price. Even money grubbing bands like The Rolling Stones only charged $100 for their recent Exile reissue. Brian Eno's latest release, signed and limited? $120.

On the other end of the scale Tom Waits did a 7 LP box for $120. Eluvium did a gorgeous 7LP release for $125 or so. Numero did a 6LP+4CD+book Syl Johnson release for $75. Pelican did a 10LP box (limited to just 150 copies) for $190.

$165 for a single release with a book is insanity. Especially when there are 2500 copies of the damn thing. Not a very exclusive club. Hell, the first pressing of the Beatles' Mono CD box was of 10K copies. The Beatles!
posted by dobbs at 2:29 PM on January 3, 2011


I find it hilarious that they're offering a "limited edition" version of the set and charging an insane $165 dollars for it.

The Eagles charge $895 for "VIP package tickets".

They sell a bunch of them, because people are willing to pay $895 to see five rock stars who hate each other sing them all the songs they listened to in their frat days.

If the Decemberists think they can get $165 for "limited edition" album + merch packages, then more power to them. If not, they'll dump them at cost during their tour. But there's nothing wrong with asking for $165. Bands gotta eat.
posted by dw at 2:36 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"On a scale from 0 to 10, how much does it resemble prog rock? I'll listen to it if the average answer is less than 5."

That's funny, because I only listen to music that rates higher than 5. It's because I'm not a hipster and I don't enjoy "adult contemporary". But you can listen to whatever music you like grandpa.
posted by fuq at 2:40 PM on January 3, 2011


My first reaction was "Shit, this is the tail end of the concert, everyone is drunk as hell, and you're going to wade into the huge mosh pit with instruments?"

Whereas my first reaction was "There was a huge mosh pit at a Decemberists show?"


man. I'm all teary-eyed from laughing.
posted by dubold at 2:47 PM on January 3, 2011


dobbs: "Hell, the first pressing of the Beatles' Mono CD box was of 10K copies. The Beatles!"

Well to be fair it was in mono.

I dunno, that boxed set comes with a lot of stuff. More things that even the Exile deluxe box.
posted by boo_radley at 2:50 PM on January 3, 2011


I went to see their last concert in Kansas City. For the finale 4/5ths of the band decended into the audience, and Colin declared that we were going to re-enact the climactic battle from Lawrence of Arabia. I wish I were kidding.

Why? They did something similar here in Vancouver and it was awesome. I've never seen a crowd so giddy with delight; it was one of the best shows I've ever been to, and I was exhilarated for days afterwards. It takes a certain amount of energy and goodwill to bring an audience to a point where they are willing to fling themselves into a spontaneous theatrical performance and to have rest of the crowd are standing at their seats and cheering them on (and singing the choruses en masse at the top of their lungs, as well). It's a specific kind of magic, and I'm sorry you couldn't enjoy it in all its absurdity and joy.

Whereas my first reaction was "There was a huge mosh pit at a Decemberists show?"


man. I'm all teary-eyed from laughing.


Oy. You might try attending one.
posted by jokeefe at 3:01 PM on January 3, 2011 [5 favorites]


Numbers, people. I'm trying to do science here.
posted by IjonTichy


I have a degree in Prog (with an Official Prog Evaluator Certificate dated 1975) and I can tell you that this album scores only 1.2 on the Prog-o-meter. You're welcome.
posted by jokeefe at 3:05 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


This sounds nice so far, thank you. Like all the good things the Decemberists are capable of doing very well when they're not too busy layering on excessive self-conscious dweebery.

When Melloy sings, "Ah-oooo" on the second track, he almost sounds like Richard Butler on "Love My Way." This singlehandedly makes up for most of The Crane Wife.
posted by FelliniBlank at 3:10 PM on January 3, 2011


On a scale from 0 to 10, how much does it resemble prog rock? I'll listen to it if the average answer is less than 5.

...

Numbers, people. I'm trying to do science here.

2.

Looks like you'll have to listen.

And yeah, "decemberists king dead mediafire" is how you find it on the google.
posted by mrgrimm at 3:22 PM on January 3, 2011


The best Blue Rodeo album since Five Days in July.
posted by rocket88 at 3:25 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to understand what one could not like about something they describe as "REM with more banjo".
posted by troublewithwolves at 3:25 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


hellojed: you're going to wade into the huge mosh pit with instruments?
There is moshing to this kind of music? What do people actually, you know, do in a Decemberists moshpit? Is it picking-up-change and roundhouse kicks, or more of a circle-pit thing?
posted by nowonmai at 3:30 PM on January 3, 2011


about the $165: Resellers sometimes charge those prices for collectors' editions. Why should resellers be able to make that kind of money, but not the band? (see also: Jack White's intenet flamewar with an outraged fan over the price of limited edition vinyl.)
posted by subdee at 3:40 PM on January 3, 2011


Good lord, you guys think The Crane Wife is "prog"?? Checking the track list, unless I'm mistaken, all but one song is straight 4:4 timing for god's sake! Only two long (over 5 and a half minutes) songs on the album, and I'm finding NOTHING about wizards or demons or spaceships in there... Is it something about the numbers in the song titles? Quite a few of those, to be sure. Rates about a 4 on my prog-o-meter, more like a 3 without "When the War Came", the only rhythmically interesting song on the album.

Seriously. Go outside and play once in a while.
posted by LordSludge at 3:46 PM on January 3, 2011 [3 favorites]


"It's because I'm not a hipster and I don't enjoy "adult contemporary". But you can listen to whatever music you like grandpa."

I've been called many, many things on the internet, but this is the first time I've been labeled a hipster grandpa adult contemporary fan. In fact, this is the first time I've been called any of those three things, let alone all together. Sadly, that is probably the most interesting thing that will happen to me all day.

...and yeah, based on the three ratings I've gotten so far, the album is only 32.3% prog, so I suppose I'll have to listen to it.
posted by IjonTichy at 3:49 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"...I'm finding NOTHING about wizards or demons or spaceships in there..."

You're just not digging deep enough, man.
posted by IjonTichy at 3:51 PM on January 3, 2011


Meh. This is sort of music Pepsi Blue. I don't want to see the front page populated with the release of everyone's favorite band's new records. Remember your favorite band sucks (not that I have expressed any opinion about this particular band).
posted by caddis at 3:53 PM on January 3, 2011


caddis: "This is sort of music Pepsi Blue."

You're gonna hate what I have lined up for tomorrow.
posted by boo_radley at 4:20 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


"...I'm finding NOTHING about wizards or demons or spaceships in there..."

You're just not digging deep enough, man.


Yeah, if you get through the first few songs without having a painful "Karn Evil 9" flashback, you're a better man than I.

IjonTichy: 0.43 on the Prog-ometer. 9.8 on the Demonic Lovechild of Levon Helm and Michael Stipe Scale.
posted by FelliniBlank at 4:32 PM on January 3, 2011


Holy crap! So this is the band that does that song? They should just call this song "Not Entirely Unlike 'The One I Love' by R.E.M."

Yeah -- one of the Decemberists' best songs, We Both Go Down Together, has taken a lot of shit for being "Not Entirely Unlike 'Losing My Religion' by R.E.M." That doesn't really make it any less awesome in my view, but whatever.
posted by eugenen at 4:33 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone for a Bay Area meet-up for their Oakland show in February?

Fuck yeah!
posted by special-k at 4:45 PM on January 3, 2011


Sound card broken can't listen. But I will soon, and I'm expecting it to make my day, musically. You haters? Log off now, and go make something better. See you in ... never.
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:59 PM on January 3, 2011


Meh. This is sort of music Pepsi Blue.

I kinda feel that way with nearly every "new music" post about mainstream artists, e.g. Kanye West, Interpol, etc.

It seems like you could post something like this ("listen to the new streaming single from REM!") every single day. But they tend to meet the MeFi community's general standards, I suppose.

Violens? Sure. But the Decemberists have almost 40 million plays on Last.fm. Most people who listen to new music have already had a chance to be exposed to them. It's not quite like "listen to the new Radiohead album" but close. /my2c
posted by mrgrimm at 5:02 PM on January 3, 2011


Anyone for a Bay Area meet-up for their Oakland show in February?

Fuck yeah!

Fuck yeah!
posted by pianomover at 5:08 PM on January 3, 2011


this is the first time I've been labeled a hipster grandpa adult contemporary fan.

The more common term for this is "Dad Rock," though the definition is a bit mushy lately. It originally was a term for rock of the 70s and 80s (e.g. Dire Straits) but seems to be applied to bands like The National and Wilco of late. I've heard it thrown around for the Decemberists as well.
posted by dw at 5:13 PM on January 3, 2011


Well to be fair it was in mono.

And CD, and multiple albums, and unavailable outside of the box. All which would suggest a higher print run or price.

about the $165: Resellers sometimes charge those prices for collectors' editions.

That's another sticking point: their website says it's available exclusively from the site. My local record store solicited pre-orders for the set--at $20 cheaper--about a month ago. So not only are they gouging their biggest fans, they're lying to them about availability.

Yeah -- one of the Decemberists' best songs, We Both Go Down Together, has taken a lot of shit for being "Not Entirely Unlike 'Losing My Religion' by R.E.M."

Stipe can only dream of writing a lyric as good as We Both Go Down Together. Or On the Bus Mall or any other number of Meloy's lyrics.

I love early REM and they are by far a better band than the Decemberists will ever be--but Meloy's a much better lyricist.
posted by dobbs at 5:18 PM on January 3, 2011


Why all the hate for Crane Wife?
posted by pickinganameismuchharderthanihadanticipated at 5:55 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh I completely forgot to link to this great opening line to an article on the band:
"Drowning is the second leading cause of death among subjects of Decemberists songs."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:09 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


*should read thread first*

I hear you dobbs, you have some convincing arguments about what makes this a bit iffy.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:10 PM on January 3, 2011


They've been playing "Down By the Water" quite frequently on CBC Radio 2 lately

This is not a hating CBC Radio 2 lately thread, but it could be if I was in charge...

Actually, CBC Radio 2 would be adequate if they didn't keep playing that "Yer Black and White needs blah duh dah" song every damn day.
posted by ovvl at 6:17 PM on January 3, 2011


Actually, CBC Radio 2 would be adequate if they didn't keep playing that "Yer Black and White needs blah duh dah" song every damn day.

CBC would return to being fantastic if they would only bring back their daytime programming from the mid 90s. Excuse me while I perform my weekly wailing and gnashing of teeth and pining for Bob Kerr et al.

God I hate the new format. With the fire of a thousand suns, etc. (Note: during the day only. The Signal is one of the best radio shows anywhere, imo.)
posted by jokeefe at 6:38 PM on January 3, 2011


OK, I can hear the REM influence, but "Down by the Water" could just as easily have been sung by Cordelia's Dad.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 6:50 PM on January 3, 2011


Why all the hate for Crane Wife?

Many people somehow feel the need to posture on the Internet. Since they can't get in fights, measure the relative size of their reproductive organs, or drag race their motor vehicles like they could in person, they resort to making broad, unsupportable statements that treat their subjective, narrow opinions as fact.

In short, haters gonna hate. Don't let it get to you.
posted by jsturgill at 6:55 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


It resembles early REM with more banjo.

So, "I Believe"?
posted by kirkaracha at 6:56 PM on January 3, 2011


More things that even the Exile deluxe box.

How many versions of "Kiss You All Over" do you need?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:01 PM on January 3, 2011


It resembles early REM with more banjo

You ain't kidding. I have to bow to the technical achievement of "Calamity Song": I never realized you could rip off "Gardening at Night" and "Talk about the Passion" simultaneously.
posted by escabeche at 7:19 PM on January 3, 2011


I have no idea what any of you are talking about but I found the album pretty swell.
posted by NoraReed at 7:33 PM on January 3, 2011


You might try attending one.

I saw em up in east Lansing and it was......awkward. The show was held at State in a large semi-circular theater with seating, obviously designed for theatre or classical performances, which resulted in a bunch of college kids 'dancing' in their seats. And by dancing I mean sort of gyrating in a self-consciously uncomfortable manner.

Good songwriters, but not really my thing. That said, I really do enjoy the Sporting Life.
posted by Existential Dread at 7:49 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm old.
posted by PuppyCat at 7:51 PM on January 3, 2011


...they resort to making broad, unsupportable statements that treat their subjective, narrow opinions as fact.

Or, you know, we assume that no one actually thinks a random person on the Internet is some sort of Objective Authority and are merely stating what we like and dislike.

...but you can think your thing too. It's cool.
posted by griphus at 8:29 PM on January 3, 2011


I'm trying to decide whether I need to listen to it now or whether I should just listen to my Christmas backlog and buy it when it comes out. I know I'm going to like it just based on the descriptions (Decemberists do Americana? what's not to like?) so it's not like listening will determine whether I'm laying out for it.

And, grumpy-makingly, I see no tour dates in my part of the country yet.
posted by immlass at 8:38 PM on January 3, 2011


I've listened to this four times since it was posted. The second two times I used headphones in case any crazy person in my house did not want to listen to it four times. But they would have to be a crazy person. IT IS SO GOOD.
posted by troublewithwolves at 8:38 PM on January 3, 2011


Meloy digs deep into the American roots-music lexicon, even merging the two in the sea shanty/mining tune "Rox in the Box."

This song also very explicitly quotes "The Raggle Taggle Gypsy" (Waterboys version here) at around the two minute mark, which is a fun little riff that makes their rootsward intentions even more clear.

I skipped Hazards, but the new album sounds really good.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 8:55 PM on January 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


(The roots of "Gypsy" are not American, which makes "Rox" a weird choice to use in the article's "more America, less Britain" argument. This was my point when I started but I got distracted and it fell out along the way. Apologies.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 9:04 PM on January 3, 2011


(I just read the quote again and in fact that's exactly what they're saying, that "Rox" combines British and American influences. NEVER MIND. I LIKE THE SONG.)
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 9:06 PM on January 3, 2011


Or, you know, we assume that no one actually thinks a random person on the Internet is some sort of Objective Authority and are merely stating what we like and dislike.

...but you can think your thing too. It's cool.


My comment was a bit hyperbolic, but really, there is a kind of posturing that goes on in "your favorite [x] sucks" threads. It's predictable and tiring and certainly not people "merely stating" their likes and dislikes.

You're right in that my comment doesn't really apply to most people in this thread, and I don't want them to feel attacked or anything. But if my comment someday makes even a single hater hesitate in their hate, I think it's justified, exaggerations and all.

You have no idea how hard it was to stop myself from using the numeral eight when writing the word hate(r).
posted by jsturgill at 9:30 PM on January 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


jsturgill: "In short, haters gonna hate. Don't let it get to you."

I was waffling over the post title. I was almost going to use "Decemb into Madness" but the pun was just a bit too obtuse (a clarity that's rare for me) and so I went for my second place choice, which was largely gibberish, but follows a memetic form that I thought would be internet positive.
posted by boo_radley at 10:20 PM on January 3, 2011


My favorite band is great and everyone loves them! Wait, am I doing this wrong?

This album to me sounds a lot like Tarkio, Meloy's band before the Decemberists, to me. Which is just fine by my standards, so I guess it's a good day for me.
posted by wandering steve at 10:33 PM on January 3, 2011


So how many people die on this album?
Well, if I'm counting right, most of the population of California, a few miners, and some guy (or dog?) named Avery.
posted by One Second Before Awakening at 12:52 AM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kinda feel that way with nearly every "new music" post about mainstream artists, e.g. Kanye West, Interpol, etc.

Are Interpol really mainstream in the US? Or just mainstream in the 'played in the background on soaps when there's a vaguely indie character' sense?

That band are a bit of a guilty pleasure - they are quite naff really.
posted by mippy at 2:56 AM on January 4, 2011


Daughter came home with Burn Don't Shine DVD when it came out. I am watching it with her, and when the Decemberists segment comes on, with a dead crow at the start, and they start the Mariner's Revenge Song, I say to my daughter, "I think I have a new favorite band," and since then I have only liked them more and more.

That said, I am sort of meh on first listen of this new one. The songs may grow on me but it hearing them once, they seemed a bit shallow, compared to my expectations.
posted by Danf at 6:28 AM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does "The Sporting Life" remind anyone else of Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life"?
posted by mike3k at 7:27 AM on January 4, 2011


Damn. Now I can't unhear the REM influence in "Down by the Water." For some reason, it's a lot less apparent when it's buffered by the rest of the album on either side.

Whereas my first reaction was "There was a huge mosh pit at a Decemberists show?"

The Decemberists are one of those weird bands that can absolutely ROCK a live show, even though their songs aren't exactly "rockin.'" I'd also count Death Cab for Cutie in this category, somewhat surprisingly... On the other hand, the part when Colin smashed his guitar was a bit odd, and remains the only instance where I've seen an artist actually do that. Even GWAR kept their guitars intact throughout the performance...

Oh, and I quite liked The Crane Wife. Haters gonna hate.
posted by schmod at 7:38 AM on January 4, 2011


Does "The Sporting Life" remind anyone else of Iggy Pop's "Lust for Life"?
Yes. The Sporting Life is Lust For Life, You Can't Hurry Love, Town Called Malice, etc. etc.
posted by chococat at 7:47 AM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can't recall a single other single release in special edition that comes close to that price.

The ultra-deluxe edition of NIN's Ghosts I-IV was $300, and there were 2500 copies. I bought one and have no regrets whatsoever. They go for nearly double that on eBay now.
posted by miskatonic at 8:13 AM on January 4, 2011


The 'pills' edition of Spiritualized's Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space was £80 in 1998. Allowing for inflation and dollar conversion, that's probably not far off the same price.
posted by mippy at 8:49 AM on January 4, 2011


Why all the hate for Crane Wife?

I was wondering that too -- it was mentioned twice, dismissively, by two different posters which made me wonder if there was a groundswell of opinion against it.

FWIW, I liked The Crane Wife a lot but still find The Hazards Of Love rather impenetrable and very choppy -- I keep finding myself getting into a melody then being annoyed when they abruptly transition to a new section. Gah.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 11:23 AM on January 4, 2011


I love the direction the band is going in here, and it's very well executed. BUT -- the songs just aren't that memorable to me.

Contrast Picaresque, which has great storytelling, usually found only in country songs, and a paradox (also found in the Smiths) where somehow the absurd affectation increases rather than decreases the sincere emotion of the songs. Maybe the distancing and self-mockery helps the singer/songwriter own up to their feelings more directly? Something like that.
posted by msalt at 12:18 PM on January 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are Interpol really mainstream in the US?

Their last album did debut in the Top 10, but I can't say I've heard a song off it, and given every single song they put out sounds exactly like "Obstacle 1," I may have but just not noticed since it sounded like "Obstacle 1."

Or maybe the Killers, who sound like Interpol played by an angry AND depressed band.

Anyway, mainstream in the US is pretty much Ke$ha, Katy Perry, the Black Eyed Peas, Kanye, and The Black Guy That Sings And/Or Raps The Slow Jams And/Or Party Music They Play In Between Ke$ha, Katy Perry, the Black Eyed Peas, And Kanye, I Mean, They All Sound Exactly The Same.

Oh, and Rihanna. She had something like 4 #1s on the US Hot 100 this year.
posted by dw at 1:35 PM on January 4, 2011


I think that msalt is on to something here. I remember thinking when the decemberists first came out that it was bold that they were defiantly wordy. I felt that it worked though, because Melloy's wordiness was poking at a false populism that is often found in pop music.

I remember thinking about this in the context of an old guitar teacher of mine. I followed his career for years, and it used to drive me crazy that he was really intellectual in person, but that the corner of the alt-countryish genre that he had found himself working within made him pretend otherwise. Later on he freed himself from those constraints and went in some interesting directions.

Anyway, with the Decemberists, I think I'll need to listen to the record more to confirm my hunch in line with msalt that somehow by sounding less distanced and more straightforward americana, the songs are somehow less memorable. It also seems to underutilize Gillian Welch, considering how subtle her own stuff is.
posted by umbú at 2:17 PM on January 4, 2011


The Killers have sold, mathematically, four times as many albums here as they have in the US. (Same number, much smaller country.) They are a very big band. Interpol, on the other hand, get played on the BBC's alternative station but don't bother the charts much.

I was amused when a post here talked about 'discovering'; Florence and the Machine three months after she'd had a gold album, several awards, and the tracks played on pretty much every TV show going. Even EastEnders.
posted by mippy at 2:19 PM on January 4, 2011


On discovering: I remember listening to Radio 1 when I lived in the UK, and they played the Dandy Warhols' "Not If You Were The Last Junkie On Earth" with a breathless DJ talking about the great new music from the USA.

And I laughed, almost one year earlier the DJ on KNDD was being all breathless about the exact same song.

Difference, of course, was that the song was a top 20 hit on the UK charts while not even making a dent anywhere outside of the Pacific Northwest.
posted by dw at 2:48 PM on January 4, 2011


Just a quick response to dobbs, who felt that the King is Dead special edition was overpriced-- this is what you get for your $165:
The embossed clamshell box includes an original Type 100 vintage peel-apart Polaroid photo taken by Autumn de Wilde from The Impossible Project/Decemberists series, as well as the CD, LP (180-gram white vinyl with unique cover), a DVD of Pendarvia (a film by Aaron Rose about the making of the record), a limited edition signed Giclée print by Carson Ellis, and a 72-page clothbound book featuring over 250 photographs by Autumn and illustrations by Carson.
So it's not only the album and a book of photographs. It doesn't seem all that overpriced to me, considering. I don't want to be entirely a Decemberists apologist, but I will take them over half the bands that Pitchfork tells me are cutting edge and original (and which, on listening, turn out to be 60s and 70s pop retreads. Not that I'm bitter).
posted by jokeefe at 9:05 PM on January 4, 2011


I have desperately wanted the Decemberists to do a rock opera film of one of their albums. Any of them would serve excellently. Seriously...I daydream about it. Am I alone in this? It could be epic. And I mean old timey poetic epic. And the other kind too.

Last week I bought tickets to see the Decemberists for this March in the UK and I am so excited to read here that their shows positively rock. Can't wait.
posted by iamkimiam at 9:45 AM on January 5, 2011


At this late stage I'd just like to add that the Decemberists sound like a bunch of upper-middle class kids whose parents home-schooled them in history, music, mime, plagiarism and advanced cuntery. Then, on their eighth birthdays they bought them all a crumhorn, a lute, a snare drum, a recorder and a set of matching tweed breetches, made them listen to an old Gryphon record, dropped a couple of bennies into their muesli and then set up a home recording studio and promised them that nanny would wash under their Y-fronts extra thoroughly if they came up with a nice song before supper time.

I have a rich interior life.
posted by Decani at 12:40 PM on January 5, 2011


And then they made awesome music!
(and a rock opera film)
posted by iamkimiam at 12:58 PM on January 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hey, it worked for The Shaggs.
posted by mippy at 3:35 PM on January 5, 2011


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