Pop and rock music covers a wide variety of genres, styles, and influences. From Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to Aerosmith and the Dave Matthews Band, pop and rock music are collectively the most successful types of music out there today. Want to see The Decemberists on tour? View the listings below for upcoming dates and The Decemberists tickets.
The Decemberists came together in Portland, Oregon, in 2000 to begin their early venture together as a band. It wasn't long before the eclectic group of artists began to compose the lyrics and music to the songs that would form the first Decemberists album, 5 Songs. Though the Decemberists' first album was self-released, they soon began to write full length albums that would be released on label. Castaways and Cutouts was released on the Hush Records label in 2002 (and again in 2003 on the Kill Rock Stars label), and it gained them a lot of recognition in the indie community. The Decemberists' sound was (and is) something very unique, an amalgam of musical styles and themes. Few other bands prior to them had attempted to write about an Odalisque, a French Legionnaire, or a common prostitute in Boston all on one album, in a way as cohesive as Castaways and Cutouts managed to be as an album. The band followed up their label debut with Her Majesty in 2003 and Picaresque in 2005, both released with the Kill Rock Stars label. Their third full-length album also resulted in the band's first music video for the song "16 Military Wives," which the band produced themselves and published via BitTorrent.
After their success in the indy world on tour and via record sales, the band signed with a major label in 2005. Capitol Records didn't cramp the Decemberists' eclectic style, however. Their first major label debut happened in 2006 with the release of The Crane Wife, which received rave reviews from places like Allmusic, Being There Magazine, and Rolling Stone. Though the album's name and its title song "The Crane Wife" were inspired by a Japanese folk tale, the songs therein touch on everything from the American Civil War to Shakespeare's The Tempest. The most noted single for the album is "O, Valencia!" which tells the story of two modern day "star-cross'd lovers" a-la Romeo and Juliet. The album's release garnered the Decemberists their first real mainstream attention. The band appeared on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, NPR's Fresh Air and All Songs Considered (where fans voted The Crane Wife the best album of 2006). Further, the band decided to get the fans involved by filming themselves in front of a green screen and asking them to create a music video for "O Valencia!" This eventually led to an infamous and light-hearted "feud" with Stephen Colbert, which finally resulted in a Colbert Report guitar solo competition.
The indie band released a series of singles in 2008 as part of a volume called Always the Bridesmaid. The band toured briefly in support of their new singles and performed at a rally in Portland, Oregon (the band's hometown), in support of Barack Obama's presidential bid. The Decemberists appeared on PBS TV show Austin City Limits, which also featured artists like Wilco, Norah Jones, Arcade Fire, and Kings of Leon in 2007 and 2008. The Decemberists also covered the song "Little Boxes" for HBO's Weeds TV series, a song that has also been covered by other artists such as Regina Spektor and Rise Against.
Decemberists fans had to wait for nearly three years after the release of The Crane Wife for a taste of their newest full length album, Hazards of Love. The album, like Crane Wife before it, was released by the Capitol Records label. The Hazards of Love departs from previous Decemberists albums where the various songs seemed fractious and separate from one another, even if they shared similar themes. Hazards is instead shaped loosely as a long narrative, telling the story of a woman named Margaret and her lover William. The two lovers find themselves pulled into terrible and frightening adventures among a host of unsavory characters. Colin Meloy has said in interviews that he believes people will call the album a "rock opera" because of its narrative quality. Before the album was released, the band had two of the album's songs available for download, "The Rake's Song" and "The Hazards of Love 1."