The Decemberists released their eighth album, I’ll Be Your Girl, last month, and it saw the band moving in a notably different direction than their previous releases. With much more dominant synth parts featured in a number of the songs, it frequently sounds more inspired by New Order than by the prog rock and folk music influences of their earlier work. Perhaps the change is a direct reaction to coming off of last year’s Offa Rex, a collaboration with Olivia Chaney that saw them delving deep into the English folk rock stylings of bands like Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention. Regardless of the reasons for the shift in direction, the album has met with generally favorable reviews, and on Saturday night the group brought their tour for it to their Washington, DC fans at The Anthem.
One of my fondest Bonnaroo memories (and there are many after attending five consecutive years) is singing along with thousands of other festival-goers to The Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife 1 & 2” as it played over the PA system in between sets in That Tent. Talk about a sublime reminder of the power of music. We want you to experience the same thing (just with a few thousand less people) when Decemberists ringleader Colin Meloy plays Lincoln Theatre on Tuesday, November 5.
Meloy, who has studied theater and creative writing, makes music both solo and with The Decemberists that maintains folk traditions like epic storytelling. A few years ago, Newport Folk Festival appointed Meloy to the festival's Board of Advisers, saying, "...we couldn’t think of many artists better suited to the task of maintaining the integrity of the festival – as an adviser and as a performer. He embodies the old and the new of folk tradition, continuing a musical legacy while carving out his own.” Whatta guy.
For your chance to celebrate all things folk with Meloy on his upcoming solo tour, please do the following:
Leave a comment below telling us your favorite folk song. Be sure to use a valid email address and the name under which you'd like tickets to be held should you win.
The lucky winner will be chosen randomly TONIGHT, so be sure to enter before them!
Didn't win? Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. tomorrow morning!
I've heard a metric f@#@-ton of music this year. More bands than I can even remember have gone in one earhole and out the other. I'm sure in the process of checking out absolutely everything I could get my hands on a few bands might have slipped through the cracks, and to them I can only hope to catch up with them again at a later date. These next 10 bands are the ones that didn't slip through the cracks though. They're the groups/individuals who managed to make their magnificent noise rise up above the rest, and in the process make 2011 a quite exceptional year for music.
#10 Caveman - Coco Beware
The simple act of discovery can color one's opinion of a band, and it certainly has in Caveman's case...for everyone that's ever heard them apparently. I "discovered" Caveman opening up for The War on Drugs at The Red Palace here in DC earlier this year, and from that instant I was hooked. This record is drenched in moody, dreamscape inspired Radiohead-esque harmonies and sounds, and yet plays like something only Caveman could create. I know, I know, that sounds circular, but when a band this early in their existence can so well define who and what they are as a band, borrowing liberally from everything around them and somehow managing to put forth those collective influences as something better is the sign of a great artist. They've already got the attention of the music-nerd set (including NPR) and in 2012 they're the band to keep an eye on, because with a debut this good, sooner or later everyone is going to catch on to Caveman's fire. (Yes, I just wrote that)
Today our "Word Economist" steps up to the plate to let you know what he's been putting in his earholes over the course of the year. I'm not gonna lie, we've had e-fights over some of his picks that generally result in me telling him to GTFO my lawn, but at the end of the day, the man knows his shit and has gotten me to listen to more music that I probably wouldn't have otherwise than any contributor this year. Now if he could help me unhear half of it, we'd really be getting somewhere! (I kid, I kid).
#10 Buke and Gass – Riposte
It is just short of incredible how much sonic variety the two members of Buke and Gass (Aron Sanchez and Arone Dwyer) can coax from the plethora of instruments (including the experimental instruments from which the band takes its name) that they play on their debut LP. But, while such experimentation could (and often does) descend into unlistenable navel gazing, Aron and Arone use their innovations (and Arone’s amazing voice) in the service of some truly excellent songs.
Best Tracks: Bundletuck, Medulla Oblongata
Hope everyone enjoyed Ethan's picks yesterday. Today we move on to Andre's picks, which per his instructions are in no particular order. But, um, he may like Blitzen Trapper a little bit.
Fruit Bats - Tripper
I've never been addicted to crack, but there were times this year that I understood what it was like when you just needed that fix. Easily the album that got the most spins on the old player this year for me, or at least the album I would have gone on Maury Povich to tell the world that I've accepted that I have a problem.
It’s taken over week, but we’ve finally got our thoughts in order (you can see all of our pics here) concerning 2011’s Newport Folk Festival. Before we dive in and try to break down each days experience though, I’d like to let you in on a little secret: Without exaggeration, The Newport Folk festival is possibly the best festival running in the country right now.
Sure it’s smaller (only 10K people this year…which was a sell out for the first time in the festivals history) and sure you may not see the biggest, most hyped new favorite band there. But what you will see is music created for people who truly love music BY people who truly love music. You see, unlike other larger festivals that often end up feeling more like a showcase for whatever band is being pushed at the moment than an actual meeting of the musical minds, at Newport the musicians simply came to play.
Sit in’s with other bands abounded and backstage partnerships were made hourly. There was a sense of community, a “we’re all in this together”-ness that permeated each and every set of the weekend, and made for a thrilling 2 days of music. Even better, if a band wasn’t playing, they could often be found watching as part of the audience, and aside from the occasional pat on the back or handshake and congratulation on their set, they were able to simply carry on like any other Festival attendee.
For two days this past weekend, Fort Adams State Park in Newport, RI, became an impromptu community of musicians and fans coming together to celebrate the thing that they hold most dear: MUSIC.
Just saying that this festival is special doesn't even begin to do it justice and we will have our take on the whys and hows in the coming days. Until then, we've put together a collection of shots from the weekend that we think will give you a pretty good idea of how everything went down on Saturday and Sunday at one of the most legendary festivals in the entire country.
Welcome back to PART TWO of our countdown! The place where shit gets REAL, or something. Agree with our picks? Hated them? Why don't you wait until you've heard us out before you get to trashing/praising us in the comments. It's only fair. So we've only got 5 more to go, but before that why dont' we have a look at what ChunkyGlasses contributors Paul and Andre were feeling this year. While I will admit, we all share some similar tastes in music, what makes this whole thing work is that we all see music from very different from very different perspectives, and I think that's reflected in their picks. Of course, being the authority here, they are WRONG. But hey, it's entertaining to think your opinion matters, right? (Just kidding guys..just kidding)
First up have a gander at Paul's list..in order from best to not so much with the best thing...
Hyper-literate. It’s a word that has NO business in Rock N’ Roll. We’re talking about a medium where some of the best words ever written are “She was a fast machine. She kept her motor clean. She was the best damn woman that I’ve ever seen.” Rock N’ ROLL MAN!!!!
So what the hell is wrong with Colin Malloy? I mean, look man, I get it. You’re educated, well read, and a little bit theatrical. You want to share that with the world. You want to rock. And I, being a fan of all that is rock, ALSO want you to rock. Really, I do.
Why is it then that each and every time you open your mouth I feel like you are less singing a song than simply reading a story to me? Reading a story that BELONGS IN A FREAKING BOOK.
It takes an immense talent to craft a hit, or even good song. And I’m not saying that you can’t tell complex stories or use $25 words in songs (see Andrew Bird for an excellent example of this…Bird makes up, as in creates himself, $30 words and then makes you believe that they exist through pure songwriting prowess). But it takes a truly deft hand to craft such a thing, and whether or not you succeed is never determined by just by the quantity or quality of the words that you throw at the page. It has to have guts. Soul. BALLS.
The Decemberists have none. And it’s Malloy’s fault.
But that didn’t stop them from making the next great REM album despite themselves.
“The King Is Dead” is an effort of straight up hero worship.....