Tag Archives: The Decemberists

LYRICS: Lucy Wainwright Roche

“Seek and Hide” [featuring Colin Meloy]

Years ago, I saw Lucy Wainwright Roche perform live and I remember being floored by her gorgeous voice and incredibly powerful lyrics. So I wasn’t surprised the other day when I was instantly grabbed by her new single.

On this track, her vocals soar, and harmonies from Colin Meloy of the Decemberists fit perfectly. I find the words to be so beautiful and the feelings beneath them, so universal:

“I fell in love last year
It’s not a thing I do a lot
Pack up all my lonely habits
And give it all I got

And when the winter came
I thought I would be different but I’m not
I’m just the same old sorry kettle
Calling blackest pot

You gotta watch it all change
You gotta watch it all stay the same”

Lucy Wainwright Roche

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Best Of ’11: The Decemberists

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.

The Decemberists

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Song Of The Day

The Decemberists – “Calamity Song”

Maybe I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m continually surprised at how much I love The Decemberists. After their Newport Folk performance this past summer, I said something to my boss about being shocked at how much I enjoyed them… he responded with something like, “What do you mean, Jess? You love The Decemberists…they seem to be one of your favorite bands.” And I took a second, and realized…yea, they actually are.

The Decemberists

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NEWPORT: Did That Actually Happen?

Breaking the silence…

First off, I apologize. It’s been an entire week since my last post and I’ve felt like a slacker. But I have an excuse! Newport Folk Festival 2011 rocked my world. In my last post, I explained how I’d be spending the festival…mostly working my tail off, and enjoying whatever I could catch here or there. Well, the entire experience was quite stunning…and left me somewhat in a state of shock (and exhaustion). So it took me a week before I could bring myself to log on here, click ‘new post’, and attempt to get my feelings across to you. And here we are.

The strongest feeling I’ve come away with is a sense of pride and accomplishment. I was part of an awesome team who kicked ass covering the festival…bringing the main stage acts LIVE across the radio airwaves in Newport (96.5FM) and on the Cape & Islands (92.7FM) as well as posting recordings of nearly every set of music performed throughout the weekend on our website along with tons of exclusive interviews and photos (and not to mention our stellar Facebook coverage). 

Aside from that, I was also a sponge soaking in every little drop of amazing music that came my way. Even while sitting at my post backstage for almost the entire festival, I witnessed impromptu performances and jams and got to meet many of the artists who came to our tent to be interviewed. I could also hear the Quad stage quite clearly (especially when the louder bands rocked it), plus there was a pair of headphones right next to me with the main stage feed coming through, so I put those on and blissed out pretty frequently. With all of that and a few jogs to catch a song here or there while my files were saving, I experienced quite a bit of musical magic. Here are some highlights:


*photo by Scott Wurster

Meeting Amos Lee was probably one of the best moments of the festival for me. He was super super sweet and SO striking in person. You hear the word SOUL used a lot when talking about music these days…but I think this man is the real deal…his voice is the epitome of SOUL. Listen to Barbara interview him HERE. And listen to his amazing set on the main stage HERE.


*photo by Scott Wurster

I got to hear a good portion of The Decemberists and their set was just dynamite! They played a perfect mix of new and old songs in their catalogue to please every fan. Colin Meloy was hilarious too! I can’t be sure, but I’d like to think that this picture was taken right as he was telling the crowd to scream like they were being eaten by a whale, haha… definitely check out their performance …LISTEN HERE.


*photo by Scott Wurster

Mavis Staples is such an incredible performer AND person. While she’s on stage of course, but also anytime you see or talk to her, she just exudes a light that makes you smile and feel good about the world, and you can really hear that in her interview with Barbara…LISTEN HERE.

 
*photos by Scott Wurster

Although they were probably the farthest from ‘folk’ at the festival, performances from Delta Spirit and Middle Brother were exceptional. I think Delta Spirit has long been one of my new favorite bands and their rockin’ set really sealed the deal for me. Then, put the singers of Delta Spirit, Dawes, and Deer Tick together and you’ve got Middle Brother – one of the best supergroups I’ve seen in several years. LISTEN TO DELTA SPIRIT. LISTEN TO MIDDLE BROTHER.


 *photo by Scott Wurster

When you hear just a few minutes of stage banter and half a song and then you include that in your list of highlights, that’s when you know The Civil Wars are really something special. I was bummed they were playing on the stage furthest away from me at the festival, but when I ran over there quickly I really was struck by how they commanded the stage and the audience’s attention. You could hear a pin drop in the tent as their intoxicating harmonies cut through the quiet, hot air. Hear part of their performance and Barbara’s interview with them in OUR ARCHIVES.

There was a whole lot more over the course of the weekend, but I’ll leave it at that for today. Now that I’ve had some time to process the experience, I hope to keep sharing it with you here. I’ve said it before, and here I go again…Fort Adams is a magical place, and Newport Folk is one of the most incredible festivals I’ve ever attended. The history, the gorgeous setting, the knowledgeable and well-behaved festival goers, the talent, the collaborations…it all makes for such a special, peaceful place to enjoy the music.


*photo by Jess Phaneuf

If you’ve yet to click on any of the above links to the mvyradio archives,
CLICK HERE TO STREAM & DOWNLOAD LIVE SETS FROM NEWPORT 2011

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NEW Music: The Decemberists

The Decemberists – The King Is Dead

I will admit, I wasn’t as excited about this album as I was about the new Amos Lee… but this one surprised me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of The Decemberists, but I thought I knew exactly what this album would sound like. I thought I’d like it, but didn’t expect to go wild over it. Well, I love it!

I think two big things really contribute to my surprise reaction to this album. Gillian Welch is featured heavily throughout The King Is Dead and the addition of her voice works REALLY well. Also, after two concept albums that were best digested in one sitting (“The Crane Wife” (2006) and “The Hazards Of Love” (2009)), I think this album will be welcomed by most fans. Each song is really strong on its own. There’s a definite thread throughout, giving the whole album connectivity, but there’s no heavy story to follow or grasp.

The album starts MOVING, with “Don’t Carry It All” and “Calamity Song” – both upbeat in mood and driving in sound. Track 3, “Rise To Me” is a bit slower and is a beautiful showcase of Colin Meloy’s vocals (Welch’s harmony really adds the finishing touch). What follows is the first really catchy, sing-along tune… “Rox in the Box” sounds like a song you’d hear in an Irish Pub, with bouzouki, accordion, and violin joining to create a rousing chorus.

Mid-way through The King Is Dead, is my current favorite on the album (probably since it’s so fitting for my environment), “January Hymn”. This song is very simple and pretty – a much needed breath before the hard hitting single, “Down by the Water”. Piano and fiddle contribute to a nearly honky-tonk, “All Arise!”, followed by the sparse and joyful, “June Hymn”. The album wraps up with maybe the closest to a straight-forward rock song on the album, “This is Why We Fight” and an almost haunting, “Dear Avery”, with pedal steel and a chorus of vocals that stay with you when the album ends.

The King Is Dead comes out January 18th…
until then, you can LISTEN TO THE ENTIRE ALBUM HERE.

The Decemberists
The King Is Dead
Gillian Welch

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Song Of The Day

The Decemberists w/ Gillian Welch – “Down In the Water”

The Decemberists will release a new album called The King Is Dead next year and they’re offering a free download of one of the tracks, featuring Gillian Welch on vocals. Click to hear, “Down In the Water”:

FREE DOWNLOAD HERE

The Decemberists

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Best Of ’09: The Decemberists

The Decemberists – The Hazards Of Love

This album tells a story. It paints a picture. It evokes a range of emotions. I remember listening for the very first time from start to finish and then going back immediately to listen all the way through again…and then again. When I compare this release to The Crane Wife, I can’t necessarily say The Decemberists have done better with this latest album, but they have created an extremely compelling (and at times twisted) tale that takes me on a journey. I like that.

The Decemberists
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The Hazards Of Love

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