Posts Tagged ‘The Decemberists’


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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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Andrew Bird

Now that 2008 is gone for good it is time to get excited about the new year. I know many people who have said that 2008 wasn’t a good year for music. To these people I say you are crazy. 2008 for me was an incredible year for music. But that is all behind us. We can now look ahead to what is to come.

Thanks to Pitchfork who has compiled a list of albums being released this winter, we now have a better idea of what is to come. And while I haven’t heard of many of the artists or bands on the list there were many that I did know. Here are just a few of the upcoming albums that I am dying to hear:

Andrew BirdNoble Beast (Jan 20)

Or, the WhaleLight Poles and Pines (Jan 20)

AC NewmanGet Guilty (Jan 20)

Of MontrealAn Eluardian Instance EP & Jon Brion Remix EP (Jan 27)

Strand of OaksLeave Ruin (Jan 27)

The Guggenheim GrottoHappy The Man (Jan 27)

Lonely DearDear John (Jan 27)

Antony & the JohnsonsCrying Light (Jan 29)

ZOMBISpirit Animal (Feb 3)

Lily AllenIt’s Not Me, It’s You (Feb 9)

Hot PandaVolcano…Bloody Volcano! (Feb 9)

MalajubeLabyrinthes (Feb 10)

BeirutMarch of the Zapotec (Feb 16)

M. WardHold Time (Feb 16)

Weird OwlEver The Silver Cord Be Loosed (Feb 16)

Maia HirasawaThough, I’m Just Me (Feb 16)

Charles SpearinThe Happiness Project (Feb 16)

MorrisseyYear of Refusal (Feb 16)

Canadian InvasionThree Cheers For The Invisible Hand (Feb 17)

The Boy Least Likely ToThe Law of the Playground (March 3)

Mirah(a)spera (March 10)

ArbouretumSong of the Pearl (March 10)

Bishop AllenGrr… (March 10)

The DecemberistsHazards of Love (March 24)

Great Lake SwimmersLost Channels (March 31)

Grizzly Bear’s new album (March)

MSTRKRFTFist of God (March)

MidlakeThe Courage of Others

Basia BulatTouch The Hem Of His Garment

AnnieDon’t Stop

Golden TriangleGolden Triangle

Sea WolfA Wolf At The Table

Mew’s new album

Imogen Heap’s new album

Mumford & Sons’ album

Camera Obscura’s new album

Akron/Family’s new album

Bell Orchestre’s new album

Doves’ new album

Metric’s new album

Just thinking about all of these upcoming albums is getting me really excited.

To celebrate the birth of new music here are some samples from upcoming albums from some of my favourite bands and artists.

Metric – Help I’m Alive (from upcoming LP)

Andrew Bird – Useless Creatures (Bonus Disc from upcoming album, Noble Beast)

click to listen

Lily Allen – The Fear (From upcoming album)

AC Newman – There May Be Ten or Twelve (from upcoming Get Guilty)

Canadian Invasion – Three Cheers for the Invisible Hand (from upcoming album)

What albums are you most excited to hear in the upcoming year? (oh boy I’m still rhyming)

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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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I don’t remember when I took this video or where the show was. All I know is that it was a few years ago, and it was in Montreal. I think the show was either at Metropolis or Spectrum. I do remember that it was a really fun show! It was just after The Crane Wife was released so they played a lot of that album, but they also played a few oldies if I remember correctly. I remember that the Decemberists are big on audience participation. The first time I saw them they got the whole audience to scream at the top of their lungs during “The Mariner’s Revenge Song” and the last time I saw them they staged this battle in the middle of the crowd. It was quite funny. Anyways, this is a video of them playing “Culling of the Fold”, which is a B-side from The Crane Wife. I really love this song. The violin is awesome. Check it out. An interesting moment is when Colin Meloy takes a cell phone from someone in the audience, calls someone on it, and then sings the rest of the song into it. Priceless.

In other Decemberists news…

According to their official site they will be releasing a series of 3 mini albums, starting in October,  with new Decemberists music for our listening pleasure. The albums will be called Always the Bridesmaid: A Singles Series. Oh those Decemberists are crafty. Here’s the full message from the Decemberists to you:

Points of Order:
• Always the Bridesmaid: A Singles Series debuts in October!
• Pre-order available through the Decemberists Shop.
• The Band is Currently in the Studio
• Insound throws a design party, Decemberists are implicated

Summer is upon us; our oscillating fans are circulating warm, jasmine-perfumed
air through our bedrooms and ossuaries.  The taste of tangerine sorbet
is perpetually on one’s palette.  Our feet are finding themselves often
submerged in mixing bowls filled with ice water.  Summer is upon us.
Which brings to mind a slurry of news regarding your humble Pac NW Decemberists.

First and foremost, you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve recorded a tidy heap
of material which we’re releasing as 12″ vinyl and digital singles over
the course of three Autumnal months. This ‘singles series’ is aptly
titled “Always the Bridesmaid” and will prominently feature songs that
the Decemberists really loved but presciently felt they would not fit
on the band’s forthcoming LP.

The first volume will hit fine
indie record stores everywhere on October 14th, and will be comprised
of “Valerie Plame,” and “O New England” on the A and B side,

The second volume, “Days of Elaine” b/w “Days of
Elaine (Long)” and “I’m Sticking With You,” will be released on
November 4th.  In celebration of both Volume 2’s release and the
promise of a shiny new administration, the Decemberists will be
performing “Valerie Plame” on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on the 3rd
of November.

The third and final volume, “Record Year for Rainfall,” b/w “Raincoat Song,” will be released on December 2nd.

Always the Bridesmaid: A Singles Series will be available on high-grade 12″
vinyl and digital format in the US and 7″ vinyl and digital in the UK.
The lovely folks at Rough Trade will be overseeing the UK release of
the series, Capitol Records will oversee the US digital release and the
band’s new imprint, Y.A.B.B. Records (in association with Jealous
Butcher) will release the 12″ vinyl version.  The digital release will
likely be available world-wide.
You can pre-order the 12″ version of the singles on colored vinyl EXCLUSIVELY through the Decemberists Shop (www.decemberistsshop.com)

NOW.  You can either have them arrive at your doorstep in the three
installments or you can have them, all three, delivered in one shot
around the release of the 3rd single on December 2nd.  You’ll be happy
to know that no small effort has gone into the design and manufacture
of these beauties — each one will be on 180 gram vinyl in a rather
lovely custom jacket.  The shop will also be making available two (his
‘n’ hers) t-shirts to coincide with the singles’ release.
this mysterious LP which proved an inhospitable home to these little
pop gems?  The band is currently hard at work in the studio trying to
tame its mangy throw.  It’s a tough bit of leather. . .a little mossy,
a little evil.  More on that later.

And what better time than summer to consider purchasing a fetching new t-shirt, as designed by Jason Munn of The Small Stakes (www.thesmallstakes.com).  Jason did a nifty design for a Decemberists t-shirt, along with 19 other bands, and you can check them all out at www.insound.com/insound20.  Drop in the code “Insound20dec” for a fan-friendly discount.

That’s all for now!  Keep those toes under water!  And REGISTER TO VOTE!!!!


The Decemberists

Can’t wait to hear it!

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A few days ago my blackberry got a little wet and consequently stopped working. So i took my sim card and put it into my old phone and then I went through my videos and found all these videos that I had taken at shows while I had that phone. The video quality for most is pretty shitty, but the sound is usually not bad! So I’ve decided that I might as well post some of these videos. So every now and then there will be a new one when I have time to upload them.

This particular video was when I saw Emily play in Paris at Le Maroquinerie last summer. There was maybe 50 people there. Before the show Emily was just sitting casually at the Venue’s upstairs restaurant, nobody bothering her for autographs or pictures. Either people didn’t know it was her or Parisians are pretty respectful people. This was the second time I had seen her perform live solo, and what made this show extra special (besides the fact that it was in Paris) was that she performed with a string quartet. Being a big string lover, this made my night. I had my foot in my mouth at one point when Emily said she couldn’t wait to get out of here. Without thinking I said “Ouch” loudly enough for her to hear me, and then I think she felt bad because she was like, “well I only have one night in Paris” or something to that extent. Anyways, I kept quiet for the rest of the show. So here’s my relatively low quality video of her and the quartet playing “The Lottery” off of her debut solo album Knives Don’t Have Your Back. Enjoy:

Stay tuned for equally low quality videos of Devendra Banhart and the Decemberists!

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