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Author Topic: Some Decemberists news...  (Read 8511 times)
Adam
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« on: June 06, 2008, 07:25:46 AM »

There are at least 3 new Decemberists songs posted on Youtube - although the sound quality is variable, the songs themselves sound excellent! The songs are:

East India Way
Valerie Plame
Zoot

All bodes well for the next record, which I think is due at the end of the year, followed by a tour. Just hope they come back to the UK.. Grin

Cheers

Adam
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2008, 07:35:48 AM »

Thanks Adam, there's a lot of Decemberist fans hereabouts.
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2009, 05:19:01 PM »

Here's a review of the latest album from the Grauniad.  Surprises me...I can sort of understand someone hating it, but I would have thought a 3/5 review very unlikely.

Still, here it is...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2009/mar/20/decemberists-review-hazards-of-love
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2009, 06:53:22 PM »

The review of the Chicago area guy is here   http://blogs.suntimes.com/derogatis/2009/03/the_decemberists_the_hazards_o.html

Well written, obviously the part about it being better than Thick as a Brick is lost on me, although I have heard only a few tracks by these guys the regular references to the similarity to Tull is baffling to me, such little as I have heard would probably be closer to REM or Elvis Costello. Is it the instrumentation? I see a Hammond B3 and maybe an electric mando in there, and songs about mariners that could conceivably pop up in a Tull tune. Watch the video of Heavy Horses in the barn and then a Decemberists video, I see no similarity at all, maybe I have seen, heard the wrong stuff.It makes me wonder about what kind of ears non Tullies hear Tull with, I am sure I would be frightened to hear the results. I am aware one or all of them had some relatively kind things to say about Tull, a fact they would probably be better served to keep under wraps, Velvet Underground or Sonic Youth will get you on the team every time, maybe toss in a little Beefheart and Varese to show em your  exotic.
His review of the previous I guess legendary record which can easily be found online claims it to be the best Jethro Tull album since Heavy Horses, this Crane Wife.  
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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2009, 02:33:44 PM »


The review of the Chicago area guy is here   http://blogs.suntimes.com/derogatis/2009/03/the_decemberists_the_hazards_o.html

Well written, obviously the part about it being better than Thick as a Brick is lost on me, although I have heard only a few tracks by these guys the regular references to the similarity to Tull is baffling to me, such little as I have heard would probably be closer to REM or Elvis Costello. Is it the instrumentation? I see a Hammond B3 and maybe an electric mando in there, and songs about mariners that could conceivably pop up in a Tull tune. Watch the video of Heavy Horses in the barn and then a Decemberists video, I see no similarity at all, maybe I have seen, heard the wrong stuff.It makes me wonder about what kind of ears non Tullies hear Tull with, I am sure I would be frightened to hear the results. I am aware one or all of them had some relatively kind things to say about Tull, a fact they would probably be better served to keep under wraps, Velvet Underground or Sonic Youth will get you on the team every time, maybe toss in a little Beefheart and Varese to show em your  exotic.
His review of the previous I guess legendary record which can easily be found online claims it to be the best Jethro Tull album since Heavy Horses, this Crane Wife.  


Jethro Tull are one of my favourites, and I found The Crane Wife very much in the spirit of early 70s Tull.
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2009, 02:36:00 PM »




Jethro Tull are one of my favourites, and I found The Crane Wife very much in the spirit of early 70s Tull.



Can you expand on that, cos I'm not sure what it means?  It certainly sounds nothing like early 70's Tull, so I'm trying to get my head around what being in the spirit of it means...the only thing i can think of is the slightly theatrical (ok, very theatrical) 'in character' vocals...
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« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2009, 04:56:58 PM »





Jethro Tull are one of my favourites, and I found The Crane Wife very much in the spirit of early 70s Tull.



Can you expand on that, cos I'm not sure what it means?  It certainly sounds nothing like early 70's Tull, so I'm trying to get my head around what being in the spirit of it means...the only thing i can think of is the slightly theatrical (ok, very theatrical) 'in character' vocals...


Being in the spirit of something and sounding like it are not the same thing, The Decembrists have never been afraid of comparison to prog folk rock or other genres in fact they have welcomed the comparison. I think the idea of grand theatrical overblown production is exactly the spirit of early Tull he was probably reaching for. I keep waiting for the Meloy plays Tull and Fairport ep.
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2009, 07:09:27 PM »

Hazards of love. Stunning.  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2009, 11:04:55 PM »

I have been listening to the new album today. I have always been a bit afraid of The Decemberists. I think it was all those sombre pictures and the reviews for The Crane Wife which, whilst universally acclaiming it, made it sound somewhat "difficult".

I have not heard the entire record yet and I need to give it a closer listen but from what I have managed of The Hazards Of Love so far I don't know what I was worried about. I'm not sure that I can hear the Jethro Tull comparisons but it immediately reminded me of one of my favourite albums of last year, Narrow Stairs by Death Cab For Cutie. There are also strong evocations of the West Coast sounds of 1967/68. In particular I can hear Jefferson Airplane and Big Brother & The Holding Company in the mix. Finally, I didn't pick up on all the lyrics as I was not listening that closely this first time but the eye popping words to The Rake's Song certainly made me sit up and take notice.

I'll get back with a more considered view when I get to the end of the record and have given the whole thing a more concentrated listen. One thing is for sure though. I'm not afraid of The Decemberists anymore.
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2009, 11:11:13 PM »

I agree with GubGub re the Death Cab album (although Plans is even better, I think!)  The Decemberists album was supposed to be released today, but there are no copies in HMV etc...
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2009, 07:43:13 AM »


Hazards of love. Stunning.  Grin


I agree with that - listened to it for the first time today and 'stunning' was the exact word I used. It's an amazing piece of music - so many styles, yet it all hangs together as a piece. Album of the year(so far)?
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2009, 07:32:51 PM »



Hazards of love. Stunning.  Grin


I agree with that - listened to it for the first time today and 'stunning' was the exact word I used. It's an amazing piece of music - so many styles, yet it all hangs together as a piece. Album of the year(so far)?


I'd agree with that.
Then again, there's John Boden.....or perhaps Leonard Cohen.
It's shaping up to be a pretty good year and it's still only April!!
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2009, 10:56:27 PM »



Hazards of love. Stunning.  Grin


I agree with that - listened to it for the first time today and 'stunning' was the exact word I used. It's an amazing piece of music - so many styles, yet it all hangs together as a piece. Album of the year(so far)?

I concur ---I cant get enough of it .Easily as good as Crane Wife and Picaresque . Be warned ---I  burned a copy for the car ---do'nt do as I did and leave a one second gap between tracks ---it'll drive you mad and waste a blank cd . I even like the Annan Waters version they do on the album .Its  Fabulous --get it .  Cool. I have got their complete works and its all good to superb . For the uninitiated there's plenty to browse on You Tube . Try  entering ---Decemberists -Infanta --for a taster for example . .
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2009, 11:29:51 AM »

Here's hoping for a UK tour later this year........
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2009, 12:35:13 PM »

Seconded!  What an album, what a band...
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« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2009, 11:22:54 PM »

There is recent concert featuring Hazards on the NPR website..
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2009, 10:56:01 PM »

Copied from Decemberists website -re -their stunning new album Hazards of Love  . My its fab .  Fez

"There’s an odd bond between the music of the British folk revival and classic metal," says The Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy. "A natural connection between, like, Fairport Convention and Black Sabbath—of course, Sandy Denny from Fairport even sang with Led Zeppelin on ‘The Battle of Evermore.’ I think there’s a shared sense of narrative and ambience, of moving beyond the first person in your writing. And I thought it would be interesting to mess around with that."

The band’s fifth album, The Hazards of Love, represents the most glorious kind of messing around. It’s the most ambitious and most accomplished project to date from the Portland-based quintet of Meloy, Chris Funk, Jenny Conlee, Nate Query, and John Moen—a full-length song cycle rooted in ancient language and imagery, yet entirely modern and accessible. The follow-up to the group’s 2006 breakthrough, The Crane Wife (which NPR listeners voted their favorite album of the year), The Hazards of Love solidifies the Decemberists’ standing as one of the most innovative and important creative forces in music today.

The album began when Meloy—long fascinated by the British folk revival of the 1960s—found a copy of revered vocalist Anne Briggs’s 1966 EP, titled The Hazards of Love. Since there was actually no song with the album’s title, he set out to write one. Soon, though, he was launched into something much larger than just a new composition.

"It grew into the idea of creating a suite of songs based on old folk songs," says Meloy. "Building a narrative, piecing together disparate motifs, developing actual protagonists." Of course, working with elaborate song forms isn’t new territory for the Decemberists. As far back as 2004, the band released "The Tain," an eighteen-and-a-half minute single based on an Irish myth. The Crane Wife took as its starting point an ancient Japanese folk tale, which was interpreted across three separate songs. The album climaxed with "The Island," a 13-minute, three-section murder ballad.

"I wanted to continue to experiment with songs with longer, extended themes," says Meloy. "This album is really an expansion of the ideas from the earlier stuff."

Our story begins, in classic form, with a journey, on the gentle, moody "Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won’t Wrestle the Thistles Undone)"—offering, as Meloy puts it, the centuries-old theme of "the danger of the woods versus the safety of the house." With that first step taken, he says, the tale’s direction "emerged in front of me."

The album’s first half was written in order, one song after another. "Then it got harder, once I was imposing a narrative on it," says Meloy. "It’s fun to toy with little suites when you don’t have to fully develop them, but I’m used to keeping things open-ended."

In its final, 17-song form, The Hazards of Love (produced by Tucker Martine) tells the tale of a woman named Margaret who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal; her lover, William; a forest queen; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake. The range of sounds reflects the character’s arcs, from the accordion’s sing-song lilt in "Isn’t It a Lovely Night?" to the heavy metal thunder of "The Queen’s Rebuke/The Crossing." Melodies echo across different songs—"The Abduction of Margaret" mirrors "A Bower Scene."

Meloy points out that his bandmates were entirely supportive of him chasing this daunting vision. "All along, everybody has been very sweet about humoring me and my whims," he says. "There was an extra charge in the studio—everyone was really just up for the challenge."

The album’s language is intricate, often archaic, without feeling labored. ("Wasn’t it a lovely breeze/That swept the leaves of arbor eaves/And bent to brush our blushing knees?," sings Meloy on "Isn’t It a Lovely Night?") But Decemberists fans have a context for this approach: Earlier efforts, like 2003’s Her Majesty the Decemberists or 2005’s Picaresque, were characterized by fantastical songs full of sea captains, legionnaires, and chimney sweeps.

One triumph of The Hazards of Love is that it’s just as compelling to listen to whether or not you’re following the story line. "It’s a rock record—you’re supposed to fill in the blanks a little," says Meloy. "There should be stuff that’s more abstract and left to interpretation. So you can come to it without knowing the narrative, or you can pull out the lyric sheet and try pull it all together."

A host of guests are featured on the album, giving it additional texture and even more of a theatrical feel. Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark and My Brightest Diamond's Shara Worden deliver the lead vocals for the female characters, while My Morning Jacket's Jim James, Robyn Hitchcock, and the Spinanes' Rebecca Gates appear in supporting roles.

The Decemberists plan to tour in the spring, playing The Hazards of Love straight through for the show’s first half and older material for the remainder. "It’s intended to be performed all in one piece, but it’s not meant to be acted out," says Meloy. "There’s the voices and the lyrics, and you should be able to draw the narrative from that." (This is a band that doesn’t shy away from major stage production, having performed The Crane Wife with full orchestral accompaniment on several dates in 2007, including a stop at the historic Hollywood Bowl with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.)

"This album is the apotheosis of my obsession with British folk songs," says Colin Meloy. "I’ve been toying with it for so long, I really needed to get this done. Doing The Hazards of Love took a lot out of me. And I’m definitely curious what will come out now that I’ve got this out of my system."
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2009, 11:14:41 PM »

Looking forward to seeing them in July: first half of show will be HOL and the second half various favourites..
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