Archive for The Decemberists

A Christmas Gift For You

Posted in News with tags , , , on December 21, 2010 by 30daysout

If you can tear yourself away from work (or, more likely, the office Christmas party) for a few minutes, we have an announcement to make.  Because you have all been such good and helpful readers this year, and as a little thank-you for helping us reach 1 million readers earlier this month, we have a Christmas gift for you.

Actually, it’s a handful of Christmas gifts: free music!  OK, we know what you’re saying, but … this is LEGAL free music provided to you by outlets that may or may not be more legitimate than us.  Usually you have to fork over an e-mail address in return, but it’s still free.  And there are some legitimately big artists here.  Don’t thank us, it’s just our way of saying we appreciate you.

“Discoverer,” a new song from R.E.M.

The Sharpest Crown EP from Joe Pug

“Getting Ready For Christmas Day,” a new song by Paul Simon

“Tree By The River,” a new song by Iron and Wine

Songs from 10 Albums You May Have Missed in 2010, courtesy of SPIN

“Ghost Woman Blues,” a new song by the Low Anthem

Vans Warped Tour 2011 Sneak Peek Sampler (iTunes download)

A ton of free holiday music from (Registration may be required)

“Down By The Water,” a new song from The Decemberists (via Pitchfork)

Free top tunes from the 2010 Austin City Limits festival, from SPIN

Think Indie Xmas Nog sampler (featuring Blondie, Neko Case, Lee “Scratch” Perry and more) (Free registration required)

Artists on the rise from iTunes

“30 Days Of Dead,” Grateful Dead songs for free download

Review: “The Hazards of Love,” The Decemberists

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on March 25, 2009 by 30daysout


After the Decemberists’ big breakthrough album The Crane Wife (2006) I liked this band, but thought they were kinda pretentious.  That notion is reinforced in spades with The Hazards Of Love, a new 17-song cycle that this Oregon-based band previewed in its entirety at SXSW.  Lead singer/songwriter Colin Meloy is the northwestern Van Dyke Parks: his lyrics are verbally dense and sometimes a little too thickly literary.  On the new album, he tells the story of a girl and her lover who happens to have the power to shape-shift.  I dunno, it was kind of hard to follow in a literal sense but the music is gorgeous: I’d give the Best Supporting Actress award to singer Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, who energetically sings the part of the evil queen on this album.  Another female singer, Becky Stark (of the band Lavender Diamond) sings the lead part and Meloy’s familiar singing is the backbone of the concept.  At times I thought I was listening to Led Zeppelin (“The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid”) or Fairport Convention (“The Hazards Of Love 3″/Revenge”) or even King Crimson (“The Queen’s Rebuke”), but that’s actually a good thing.  And the album rocks, in places:  like “The Abduction of Margaret” and “The Rake’s Song.”  And “Margaret” is a lot like past Decemberists efforts, allowing a sort of bookmark for novice listeners.   So enjoy this throwback of a rock album like you would any other progressive rock effort – spark the bong and ponder the pompous profundity of The Hazards Of Love.

MP3: “The Abduction Of Margaret”

Stream the entire album live from SXSW on NPR Radio

The Decemberists official website

Friday is Boss’ Day: Will The Boss show up at SXSW?

Posted in Bruce Springsteen, SXSW with tags , , , , , , on March 13, 2009 by 30daysout


This is the SXSW version of our Boss’ Day report, and today we will attempt to create some wildly unsubstantiated rumors with our blatant fabrications.  In other (shorter) words, April Fool’s a few weeks early.

So anyway … Bruce Springsteen has never shown up at SXSW, the industry’s biggest music conference, but hey, there is a first time for everything.  Little Steven is speaking at this year’s conference, Alejandro Escovedo and The Hold Steady are playing, and the Working On A Dream Tour is set to kick off April 1 … so rumors are flying all around that The Boss is going to make the trek to Central Texas and do something.  (Not really.  Don’t send angry e-mails, OK?)  Some scenarios:

1. He is the “special guest” listed on the flier for the Little Steven’s Underground Garage Friday day party at Antone’s, where he performs a rousing version of “Outlaw Pete” with Joe Ely and Little Steven.

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SXSW Report: Austin Crazy Time

Posted in SXSW with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 11, 2009 by 30daysout


The South by Southwest music conference is a big event every year in Austin that masquerades as an important opportunity for music industry types to get together, discuss their business and get exposed to a few new acts.  What it really is – and it shall hereafter be referred to as SXSW – is a huge-ass party with more than a thousand music acts playing nearly continuously for about four days.  Big Fun.

Over the years we’ve covered this event for various news media outlets, but we stopped doing that about 10 years ago.  Now we just go for the free, unofficial “side” events (also known as day parties) that are way more fun than the official SXSW-sponsored events.  Plus they almost always have free beer.  If you’re lucky (or get there really early) you might get a cup or two.


The Gaslight Anthem, 2008

So we’re going over to Austin next week.  My advice has always been to make a plan, pick a few must-see acts and just “go with the flow.”  Last year we parked the car and heard a band playing.  Just a few steps, and we’re watching the Gaslight Anthem.  Take a look at the crowd in the photo … you wouldn’t see that for this band today. 

And that’s really why you go to SXSW, to discover new acts that you really like, and who might sooner or later (or never) become big stars.  Oh sure, we had a blast when the Stooges played in 2007 and when Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Mick Jones of the Clash returned last year with Carbon Silicon – and this year the big rumor is a possible appearance by Metallica – but that sort of stuff is actually a sideshow.

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