The Decemberists – The King Is Dead
This band isn’t for everyone. They’ve got a very distinctive sound and singer Colin Meloy’s voice is understandably grating to certain ears. For one reason or another, I’m a huge fan of their music. This (their sixth) album is incredibly strong, partially because Gillian Welch’s vocals join seamlessly into 7 of the 10 tracks. Unlike their previous release, The Hazards Of Love, these songs are mostly simple and stripped down. Meloy says the album was “an exercise in restraint” and it certainly paid off. There’s space just where it needs to be, and it’s beautiful.