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[personal profile] viktor_haag
I had probably only casually heard of The Decemberists. And then a friend of mine who is a music nut (he's even in a band, which to me seems a bit of a novelty and rather special) pointed out that he was a Decemberists fan and insisted that I listen to their newest album on NPR's First Listen.

Woah. I don't know about their entire catalog, but "The King Is Dead" in particular aligns strongly with what I'm liking to listen to right now. It's nigh perfect. Shortish, very smartly crafted roots-folk-guitar-pop with tight harmonies and obliquely spiritual lyrical vibe. One might almost call it American Myth Pop. It evokes the best of REM's heady middle years, but with perhaps a bit more musicality and less edge. And it certainly helps that Gillian Welch provides harmony vocals on many of the tracks: carefully constructed to draw me in.

You might not like it, but I think it's definitely worth a listen to see if you will.

Date: 2011-01-22 08:12 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] richardthinks.livejournal.com
I think American Myth pop is exactly right. Have you heard Mariner's Revenge Song?

Date: 2011-01-24 18:33 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] viktor-haag.livejournal.com
Not consciously:after googling and youtoobing, yes, I've heard it amongst my very recent whirlwind tour of their catalog.

I'm usually not a listener of shanties and celtic-infused-sea-pub-folk-pop, but we have lots of examples of same here in Canada (most popularly, recently, Great Big Sea) -- I don't see why there wouldn't be lots of similar bands from south of the border especially from communities with a maritime tradition.

Date: 2011-01-24 21:07 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] richardthinks.livejournal.com
The Broadside Band are the big name I immediately think of, but I got a heavy dose of chanties and the like when I spoke at Mystic Seaport last year, and for a while the kids were full of salt and vinegar singing "Cape Cod Girls" and "Boney was a Warrior." Before that I hadn't been aware, quite, that there was a strand of American nationalism wound around Herman Melville and seafaring and the New Bedford Whaling Fleet and Six Frigates for the Republic. Kinda disturbing, in a jolly, doom laden, literate working class kind of way.

QC on Decemberists.

Date: 2011-01-26 16:48 (UTC)
From: [identity profile] viktor-haag.livejournal.com
AFAIK, I wouldn't call the sea-folk-pop tradition in Canada so much "nationalistic" as "regionalistic", and in some cases rather "anti-nationalistic" (the part that gets co-opted or interpreted as agit-prop against Federalism, esp, presumably, in Quebec and Newfoundland). But when I think sea-folk-pop I have to admit I think a lot more "Canada!" than I do "USA!" -- that could, of course, be because I'm Canadian and so have more natural exposure to the roots of our folk-musical history than the roots of USAmerican folk-musical history: I have to depend upon osmosis more than active awareness because I'm not really a folkie, much.

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