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This is quite funny if you ask me. I have yet to hear the Decemberists’ new album, The Hazards of Love. All I know if that I am very excited to hear it, even though Pitchfork gave it a measly rating of 5.7 on 10. Obviously Colin Meloy got wind of this poor rating because if you have been following him on Twitter, you will have seen his latest post:

colinmeloy A call to arms! A Pitchfork Critical Mass e-Mooning! Send pics of your derriere (clothed or un-) to http://tinyurl.com/da9fup

Clicking that link will open an e-mail box with Pitchfork Reviewer Marc Hogan’s e-mail address already in the “To” box. People are really getting creative with showing their displeasure over Pitchfork’s ratings. This is much better than your every day Myspace Blog Rant. Happy e-mooning people!

Colin Meloy on Twitter

Me on Twitter

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(Written for the Yellow Bird Project, Feb 27th, 2009)

Well my friends, it is time for another Yellow Bird interview! This time we had a chance to catch up with a true indie-rock veteran. His name is John Moen, and you may know him from his previous work with bands and artists like Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks, Elliott Smith and the Decemberists. These are just a noteworthy few of the many projects that John Moen has been a part of. He has now released his very own album under the ‘Perhapst’ moniker along with the help from some very talented friends. The results are pretty amazing.

Yellow Bird Project: I hope you know, I have replaced in my vocabulary the word ‘perhaps’ with the word ‘perhapst’. So how did this name come about?

John Moen: I am honored. I just made it up and thought it was genius. It IS possible that I was over-served at the time. The word is pretty fun to say, though, is it not?

YBP: Is the Perhapst album a new project or is it something you have been working on for a long time?

JM: The project has been bubbling away for a good long time. I can’t remember exactly when I started it…let’s just say years have passed.

YBP: How has being surrounded by such talented musicians as Elliott Smith, Stephen Malkmus and Colin Meloy influenced your own musical endeavors?

JM: I think it would be foolish to spend time making music with people who are so greatly talented, and fail to absorb any of their ideas or approach; but I wouldn’t be making records if I didn’t think I had at least slightly different take on things myself.

YBP: What are the advantages of being a musician in Portland, Oregon? Any disadvantages?

JM: The advantages used to be cheap rent, little competition for shows and an outstanding group of peers for support and collaboration. We still have the outstanding group of peers but the town is less of a well kept secret these days.

YBP: “Cruel Whisk” is one of my favourite songs on the album. In it you sing, “cook yourself and spare the bird.” Is this a song about vegetarianism?

No. I admire vegetarians but I have not been able to overcome my meat addiction. The song is quite obviously about masochistic cannibalism. Hmmm.

YBP: I hear you play quite a few instruments. Do the drums hold a special place in your heart or is there an instrument you prefer to play? Any new instruments you’ve picked up lately?

JM: The drums are sort of boring all by themselves. However, playing them to a great song is a true pleasure. I wish I had a harpsichord.

YBP: Your life has been so filled with music. What are some things you like to do that aren’t musically related?

JM: I am raising a daughter. She is super-fantastico but does manage to eat up a lot of my free time. I’ve been known to get into some gardening now and then and I follow the Portland Trail Blazers with much enthusiasm. I also enjoy cooking myself. Ha.

YBP: You have been part of quite a few bands. Which band has been the most fun to tour with?

JM: My first touring experience was with the Dharma Bums. We were quite young (circa 1987) and it was a real adventure. I admit that I have lost the lust for the road, a bit. I have visited more than enough gas stations and slept not-so-well in plenty of random homes and hotels for my taste. This is my job, though. I don’t mean to imply that it sucks, but it certainly isn’t as jazzy and exciting as it once was. Jazzy?

YBP: Is being a part of the Decemberists’ live show as fun as it looks?

JM: It is. We have a good time.

YBP: Now that you have released you very own record. What is next for you?

JM: Release another one! That’s what people like me do. We do not know when to quit. I don’t even know any new chords. It’s ridiculous.

YBP: Finally, what has been the highlight of your musical career thus far?

JM: Having a career at all is the “highlight” of my career. I have been very lucky.

A big thank you to John Moen for doing this interview!

Listen to Perhapst:

Perhapst – Incense Cone

Perhapst – Aren’t You Glowing

Bye for now!

-The Middle Distance Runner

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Written for the Yellow Bird Project:
December 1st, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner…

Well folks, the year is winding down once again. I feel like just a few months ago we were ringing in 2008, but the truth is that another year has passed us by. This will be my first post in a series of posts celebrating “The Best of 2008”. To start off the series, I’d like to talk about my favourite EPs of the year. There have been quite a few EPs released this year to keep us going while we await new full lengths from our favourite artists. Artists such as Andrew Bird, Final Fantasy, The Decemberists, Antony & the Johnsons, Animal Collective and Coldplay have all released EPs this year. Some have been better than others, but they have mostly been solid. So here is my list of the Best EPs of 2008:

5. Animal Collective – Water Curses EP

Starting out the list is Animal Collective’s Water Curses EP. The first two songs on the 4 song EP are amazing and the last two are just so so, but what makes this EP so special is the title track of the EP, “Water Curses”. This song is among my favourite all-time Animal Collective songs. They could have just put out the EP with this being the only song on it and I would still consider it a great success. I may be building this song up too much. You’re probably going to listen to it and be like…”Ok it’s not that good”. So forget what I just said. This EP is terrible. “Water Curses”? Awful, Awful song….

Animal Collective – Water Curses

Animal Collective Myspace

4. Andrew Bird – Soldier On EP

Next we have the brilliant multi-instrumentalist/whistler extraordinaire, who is back with this excellent little EP to tide us over until his next full length album, which will be entitled Noble Beasts and is slated for a January 27th, 2009 release. I have this feeling that nothing Andrew Bird puts his hands on can turn out bad. I have loved pretty much everything I have ever heard from him and this EP is no exception. “The Water Jet Cilice” is pure beauty in song. Check it out.

Andrew Bird – The Water Jet Cilice

Andrew Bird Myspace

3. Stars – Sad Robots EP

I absolutely love this EP. Stars have always brought the drama and this EP is no different. It is comprised of 5 new songs and a new live version of the Stars classic, “Going Going Gone”. I was also lucky enough to be able to see Stars perform some of the songs from this EP live in New York City a few months ago. I am really eager to hear what the next Stars album will sound like. I really hope it goes in the same direction as this excellent EP.

Stars – Undertow

Stars’ Myspace

2. The Decemberists – Always the Bridesmaid (A Singles Series) EPs

This is a series of 3 EP’s of odds and ends that obviously wouldn’t fit on the new album that the Decemberists are working on entitled Hazards of Love, which will be released in March 2009. Colin Meloy has always been a fan of the EP, releasing a number of them before this one, including his Colin Meloy SIngs series, in which he covered songs of Morrissey, Shirley Collins and Sam Cooke on three EPs. This series of EPs is quite spectacular if you ask me. I really like every song on them. My favourites would have to be “A Record Year” off of Volume 3, and the cover of the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Sticking With You” off of Volume 2. Valerie Plame is also a pretty awesome song. You can find that one of the first volume.

The Decemberists – Record Year

The Decemberists Myspace

1. Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant EP

And the winner is….of course! This one’s a shoo-in. Just an amazing EP from start to finish. “Mykonos” is still arguably my favourite Fleet Foxes song period. It looks like Fleet Foxes are going to clean up this year in most of the “Best of 2008” lists. Check in soon to see if they top the list of best song of the year, or best album of the year.

Fleet Foxes – Sun Giant

Fleet Foxes Myspace

Honorable mention goes to the Another World EP by Antony & the Johnsons, the Plays to Please EP by Final Fantasy, and the No Way Down EP by Air France.

So Fleet Foxes take best EP of the year…what a surprise. These guys are just amazing. I really hope they keep it up on whatever they decide to release next. The next thing I’m working on is my list of the top songs of the year. After that I will reveal my list of the top 20 albums of the year. It’s actually quite fun to look back and see what you really listened to a lot of during the year. You should do it too.

What are your favourite EPs of the year?

Until next week…

The Middle Distance Runner

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