published: 17 /
Kill Rock Stars
Excellent new EP from Portland, Oregon indiepopsters the Decemberists, which while we wait for their forthcoming next album which is due out next year , treats us two previously released songs and also two new outtakes
Last summer, I e-mailed the band Boycrazy and asked them for an interview for a fanzine I was making at the time. A while later, I got a reply from one of the members, Rachel Blumberg, who said that Boycrazy had split up two years ago, but that I was welcome to ask her questions anyway. She also mentioned that she was now in a new band, the Decemberists, and that I should check them out. Well, of course I got curious, and pointed my browser to their website www.decemberists.com and downloaded the two songs offered there.
Needless to say, I was very impressed with what I heard, and I decided to take a chance and hoped that the rest of the songs were just as good. A couple of weeks later, the mailman brought me a package from Hush Records containing the band's debut album, 'Castaways and Cutouts' ; the first EP, '5 Songs' and a very nice t-shirt. I fell instantly in love with the music, and listened to the records over and over and over for the next week or two, until one day when the mailman once again brought me a package with a Decemberists CD, but this time I hadn't ordered it. It turned out that they had a new album coming out, and I was sent a copy from the local newspaper I write for here in Sweden. Sometimes, the world is a small place...
The album, "Her Majesty... The Decemberists", was just as good as I hoped it would be, and together with the previous two, it was pretty much all I listened to last autumn. Then the band returned this spring with a new EP, 'The Tain', which consisted of one track, which was 19 minutes long. It may not sound like the ideal length for a song, but the Decemberists actually managed to keep me fascinated throughout the whole song, which is a great accomplishment, I must say. And we also got the chance to hear Rachel, who plays the drums with the band, sing on her own, which is a nice experience indeed.
So, while we're waiting for the next album, which is due out next year, Kill Rock Stars treats us to a CD-single with two previously released songs from the last album, and two outtakes from the very same sessions. 'Billy Liar'and 'Los Angeles, I'm Yours' sounds just as good as they did that first time I heard them, and frontman Colin Maloy's lyrics are still imaginative and makes every song like a tale of it's own. He clearly has a predilection for human destinies, and his words are both clever, funny and sad, like in 'A Cautionary Song' off the first album, which tells the tale of a mother who sells her body to sailors at night when her children is sleeping at home. Even though it's a very tragic and sad subject, Colin manages to make it funny too, which is admirable.
The two outtakes are both very good also , with 'Everything I Try to Do, Nothing Seems to Turn Out Right' being a song good enough for any of the albums, and 'Sunshine' being a typical outtake, as it sounds like a demo recording that never became anything more than just that. On the latter, Colin sings together with Rachel, which sounds very nice indeed. Although, I wonder who handles the drums on that track, as it sounds quite amateurish at times. Oh well, never mind. It's a good song anyway...
There are not a lot of bands that would make me think about going to abroad just to see them play live, but I was actually thinking about going to London the other week when the Decemberists played there. My wallet is probably happy that I didn't, but still... it was probably a great show...
Los Angeles, I'm Yours
Everything I Try to Do, Nothing Seems to Turn Out Right