Imaginary Scoop The Decemberists

Colin Meloy's sideburns on Colbert

Whether you're a huge fan or not, you have to beam with even a small glimmer of pride to see our very own Pacific Northwest book clubbers, the Decemberists, take over the Colbert Report last night.

Or were you just excited to see what Colin would twitter from backstage? Come to find out, I guess there was a cell phone lock down? He was suspiciously quiet about the green room digs.

Capitol Imaginary Scoop The Decemberists

Streaming previews of The Decemberists new Hazards of Love album

the decemberists

As I was browsing ChrisB's list of releases today, I saw that The Decemberists' new album was out today. The band drew me into their fold with their last release, The Crane Wife, so I was curious to see how the two albums compared.

There are two streams of the album that I can find, on Entertainment Weekly (must sign up to listen) and on their Myspace (no login necessary).

What do you think of the band's latest material?

(Thanks for the photo Chona Kasinger)

Fever Ray Imaginary Scoop Pete Doherty Royksopp The Decemberists

Are you excited for any new releases this week?

I was looking at the upcoming release calendar on Metacritic on Monday evening and found that quite a few records I had been looking forward to are finally being released this week. Overall, this looks like one of the best weeks for new releases in a long time.

I had gotten copies of the new records from Pete Doherty, The Decemberists and Amadou & Mariam in either my actual or virual mailboxes recently (although they were all at the very end of last week and I had not had the chance to review them, so don't ask me if they are worth your time/money or not – yet). I'm also really anxious to hear the new Royksopp album (obviously) and have heard nothing but positive things about Fever Ray.

Anything you're excited for or I should check out? Here's the full list (from Metacritic) of new releases that will be hitting your favorite record store this Tuesday:

Amadou & Mariam – Welcome To Mali
Blue October – Approaching Normal
Busta Rhymes – Back On My B.S.
Condo Fucks – Fuckbook
Cornshafter – Bombs Away, Baby!
Dan Deacon – Bromst
The Decemberists – Hazards Of Love
Dan Hicks And The Hot Licks – Tangled Tales
Pete Doherty – Grace/Wastelands
Fever Ray – Fever Ray
Fireworks – All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion
Utada Hikaru – This Is The One
Indigo Girls – Poseidon And The Bitter Bug
KMFDM – Blitz
Little Brazil – Son
Mandisa – Freedom
Martina McBride – Shine
Mastodon – Crack The Skye
Papa Roach – Metamorphosis
John Rich – Son Of A Preacher Man
Royksopp – Junior
Slim Thug – The Boss Of All Bosses
Swan Lake – Enemy Mine
Telling On Trixie – Ugly, Broke & Sober
These Green Eyes – Relapse To Recovery


Capitol Imaginary Scoop The Decemberists

The Decemberists are — well, they're everywhere.

For the love of all things verbose, our lyrically adept Northwest neighbors are certainly going at it full-force these days. Seriously. The Decemberists are currently about to do a full album performance at SXSW, a simultaneous NPR live stream, plus side projects, poster contests, track releases, special vinyl issues, and listening parties (and autograph sessions) for the upcoming release of the new album, The Hazards of Love.

Phew. I'm tired just typing all that. Here's some technicals:

  • Tonight, KMRIA will be performing with the Minus 5 at the Tractor, for no less than Pogues cover night. KMRIA endeavors have traditionally included, among members of the Eels and Minus 5, the Decemberists' own Chris Funk and Jenny Conlee. Woot!
  • The much-anticipated Hazards of Love will be available this coming Tuesday, both digitally via iTunes and wax-style at some local mom & pop shops. The rest of the free world will have to wait until the official release, on 3/24. On top of all that, you can pre-order bundles through the Decemberists' webshop, laden with extra trinkets and whack-o autographed giveaways.
  • The day after that, on 3/18, NPR will be broadcasting the live performance of THoL, in it's entirety, from Stubb's at SXSW. Check NPR for local listings / streamings, and get the party started at midnight (Central time).
  • And, the whole rad poster thing is going on. But you already knew about that.
  • Still with me? Good, because there's one more: there's several listening parties brewing to celebrate the official release of THoL, including our very own Queen Anne Easy Street at 11p on 3/23 (with a midnight sale following). And our friends in PDX will be able to catch Colin & Co. in the flesh at Music Millenium the next day, from 6p – 8p for an autograph session. Full details on the Decemberists' homepage, here.

Wows. Oh, and Oregonians (and road-trip oriented Seattleites) can start lining up for tickets: the band will be playing two shows in Troutdale, OR at the Edgefield Amphitheatre, with none other than Andrew Bird and Blind Pilot. Presale tickets on 3/16 here, and public sale on 3/21 here.

With all the HoTL buzz these days, I thought I'd take us back to '02-ish and a release from Castaways and Cutouts, via some video. Enjoy.

Imaginary Scoop The Decemberists

We want to go on a date with the winners of the Decemberists poster contest

Corianton Hale and Kathryn Rathke

The winner of the Decemberists' The Hazards of Love Poster Design Contest has been announced and I am overjoyed to say it's our very own Corianton Hale and imaginary friend Kathryn Rathke!

You might know Cori as the exceedingly cute and talented fellow who has designed many a TIG poster and our pretty chick logo or as Tullycraft guitarist or the fellow who nailed the Magnetic Field's "Papa Was A Rodeo" at TIG's 69 Love Songs Pre-Valentine's Day bash. Regardless how… you know he's got skillz.

He designed the poster with local illustrator extraordinare Kathryn Rathke (check out her site for buckets of drawing goodness) who's talents are unmatched.

I looked through what their competition (from all over the world) sent in and there were some amazing entries… but I must say Colin and company definitely made the right choice. Cori and Kathryn really put together a piece of art!



Colin Meloy Imaginary Scoop The Decemberists

Decemberists: new song, NPR spot, and twitter

Let's start Thursday off with some free music and tweets, shall we?


Point of order:

* "The Rake's Song" is available as a free download!

* The Decemberists on World Cafe today

* Colin is all a-twitter.

Adored mailing list recipients,

It is our utmost pleasure to offer you, dear Mailing List Recipient, the first crack at downloading a song culled from our upcoming Long Player, The Hazards of Love, due out on Capitol Records on March 24th. The song in question? It's called "The Rake's Song." Go immediately to to redeem said FREE DOWNLOAD! Share it with your friends! Post it as your Facebook update! Play it for your grandmother!

On second thought, don't play it for your grandmother.

In other news: NPR's World Cafe will be broadcasting a live session from the Decemberists along with an interview with Colin Meloy in the first hour of their show on Thursday, Jan. 15th. You can find your local station and times by scrolling to the bottom and choosing their state under "Find a Program Broadcast Time" at the following link.

Also: check out Colin's new twitter feed [!!!!!] for the most up-to-date abstruse information about him and the band. Put that in your proverbial pipe and proverbially smoke it.


The Decemberists

Live Show Review Loch Lomond Moore Theater The Decemberists

Photo Essay: Loch Lomond & Decemberists at the Moore

I had only heard good things of Portland native band Loch Lomond from an aficionado folk fiend friend at Reed College. There were A LOT of people and instrument onstage at the Moore on this night. Saxophones, accordions- they had it all and they certainly knew how to use 'em!

I was blown away by this act that was virtually unknown to me. They were a very modest lot, repeatedly and emphatically thanking Decemberists for taking them on tour, with frontman Ritchie Young candidly explaining “We're just a little unknown band from Portland”. I can't imagine this will last very long with all the publicity they'll be getting from touring with a band as prolific as the Decemberists and having tunes as ambitious as theirs. Individually, it was clear to see that every single musician on stage was fully versed in the art of music.

Collectively, it almost hurt me how beautiful their sound was. I've since had the opportunity to sit down and listen to a couple tracks on headphones, but their live show just speaks volumes to the immensity of their craft.

I've witnessed the Decemberists live show so many times, but have yet to hear a rendition of
“California One Youth and Beauty”… but I won't hold grudges. Meloy, his snappingly witty and charming self per usual led the way through many many songs that have come to be classics for so many people of the zeitgeist. Included in their set were several tracks of their more recent “Crane Wife”, but they also got around to playing a beautiful rendition of “16 Military Wives” prefixed by an awesome impromptu solo by the talented and widely grinning accordionist/pianist/singer Jenny Conlee.

Antics of the night involve Meloy leaving a garbled song/message to a contact on an audience member's iphone, jostling the crowd into clapping and screaming at his command, and even humoring an audience member by having drummer John Moen record a song on his fancy schmancy video camera. Hopefully the photos well illustrate how bitingly hilarious this kind sentiment on his part was.

It was a beautiful night of gorgeous sounds in early December… ironically a month that the band has never released an album in! The audience, as far as I could tell (even up to the third balcony) were thrilled to be in the presence of such fine musicians and why shouldn't they be? Decemberists are quite possibly the best indie rock band of the 2000's.



the decemberists, photo by Chona Kasinger


the decemberists, photo by Chona Kasinger


the decemberists, photo by Chona Kasinger



loch lomond



loch lomond


loch lomond


the decemberists, photo by Chona Kasinger


videotaping self




the decemberists, photo by Chona Kasinger


the decemberists, photo by Chona Kasinger


the decemberists, photo by Chona Kasinger


the decemberists, photo by Chona Kasinger

(screaming into an iPhone)

{More amazing Chona Kasinger photos}

Imaginary Scoop The Decemberists

"A Smattering of Distant Applause Is Ringing in My Poor Ears" – Decemberists News

Colin MeloyAccording to the Decemberists newsletter, fans will be (50 cent word inserted here in honor of Mr. Meloy) ebullient to learn of the release of the 3rd and final volume of Always the Bridesmaid: A Singles Series, featuring the (seasonally appropriate) singles "Record Year for Rainfall" and "Raincoat Song."

Also of note, their 4th LP, The Hazzards of Love is complete, has a track list, and will be released in the US on March 24. 2009. 

Though many truly enjoyed The Crane Wife, and most fans would never wish to deny an excellent band commercial success, let us hope that Hazzards will be a return to earlier form- less bloat and more melodic simplicity. Meloy is a exceptional lyricist, and it felt as though the quality of his lyrics suffered for the "bigger" sound on The Crane Wife.  The intimacy of the previous albums and their simple, clean, lovely instrumentation allowed Meloy's vocals and lyrics to shine, the reason most Decemberists fans fell in love with theim in the first place.


(amazing photo by Chona Kasinger)

EMI Imaginary Scoop The Decemberists

From Crane Wife to Bridesmaid

On October 14, the Decemberists will begin releasing the first of their three-part single series entitled, Always the Bridesmaid, available in both digital and 12" options.

Volume I features the tracks "O New England" and "Valerie Plame," the latter of which is slated for performance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, the day before the US Presedential elections. The song is said to be "an amorous tribute to the onetime CIA operative."

Volumes II & III are schedule for release on November 4 and December 2.

The full tracklisting:

Volume I. Valerie Plame / O New England

Volume II. Days of Elaine / Days of Elaine (long) and I'm Sticking With You

Volume III. Record Year / Raincoat Song

The band is currently in the studio with Tucker Martine (Crane Wife, Always the Bridesmaid), working on their next full-length!

I wonder if Side B on Volume II is a Velvet Underground cover…

Colin Meloy Imaginary Scoop Moore Theater The Decemberists

Was Colin Meloy drunk for the Decemberists shows this week?

From WikipediaOK, this I need someone out here to confirm. Was anyone at the Decemberists show on Wednesday night at the Moore? Was Colin Meloy visibly drunk?

I was at the Decemberists show on Thursday night and thought the band sounded better than any of the previous four times I had seen them. Meloy seemed his usual, jovial self. I didn't notice anything amiss but Travis Hay of Ear Candy (and long-time friend of TIG) posted a letter from a reader who wrote:

"… (I)was wondering if you were going to do anything or have heard anything about the Decemberists concert last night at the Moore? I think they're playing there tonight as well, but a buddy and I went to the show last night and came away with mixed feelings. I'm a huge fan and for the most part thought the show was really good. They sounded great and had a lot of fun interaction with the crowd. But the lead singer was hammered and got a little crazy before the end of the set. When he was playing his guitar he was fine, but whenever there was a break in the action he would start to sway this way and that. It was entertaining to say the least and didn't affect his sound at all…a la Eddie Vedder.

Nope, it was the encore we had an issue with.

Duder played solo for two songs: "I Was Meant for the Stage," which was awesome, and then a cover of Joni Mitchell's "A Case of You," which was equally as awesome and kind of fitting considering how smashed he was at the time. When the rest of the band came out, however, they just started wailing away on each other's instruments. For like 15 minutes. Seriously. It was awful. No music. No real direction. They literally just swapped each other's instruments and made a bunch of garage-band static…like the Wyld Stallyns of "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" fame. Crazy stuff, and not what you want to leave your audience with after an otherwise rockin' show."

Another anonymous commenter also said he was visibly drunk. Really? I've seen tons of shows with drunken lead singers, but this one is quite a shock. If you can confirm this, please do. It will only increase my (already great) respect for the Decemberists.

(Gracious hat tip to Claudette.)