Release Date: Aug 2, 2011
Record label: Capitol
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock
Like him or loathe him, Colin Meloy has become one of the most distinctive songwriters of his era. Combining antiquated diction with lilting melodies drawn from UK folk rock and U.S. indie pop, his compositions are recognizable whether they're sung by Marianne Faithfull, Patti Smith, or anyone else. What stands out most from the Decemberists' near-decade together isn't the albums.
Recorded live in the studio in Los Angeles, the Decemberists' iTunes Session EP collects eight cuts from the bookish indie rockers, including early favorites like “Calamity Song,” tracks from their jangly 2010 release, The King Is Dead, and a cover of Leonard Cohen's “Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye.” .
The following is a statement that might get this writer a lot of flak from Decemberists fans, but they were (as opposed to are) a great band. Everything was peachy keen in my opinion until the indie folk-rock group unleashed The Hazards of Love in 2009, a sprawling 17-song concept album that was overly ambitious in execution and, lacking any great hooks, saw the band hit a brick wall: that record, in my esteemed view, is almost flat-out unlistenable. (And, yes, I understand there are people who love the album to the point of being fanatical about it just from reading one reader’s take in the comments section of PopMatters’ review of The King Is Dead, as that review more or less said the same thing about Hazards.