Our friends at MP3.com recently relaunched their site, and to celebrate we’re helping them give away some fantastic new songs for free! Today, we’re featuring “Down By The Water” from The Decemberists.
Portland, Oregon’s [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]The Decemberists[/lastfm] have been around for 11 years, which in indie-rock years is about 100. New album The King Is Dead is a masterful effort that takes their sound in an exciting new direction. For a taste of this new sound, download the single “Down By the Water.”
The Decemberists built their name on a unique style of symphonic pop, as well as singer Colin Meloy’s historical narrative-inspired lyrics.
Their early albums featured ballads about infant monarchs and Spanish armadas, and accordions as much as guitars. As they progressed, the band got more and more ambitious with their albums, culminating in 2009’s The Hazards of Love, a full-on rock opera that some hailed as a masterpiece of a concept album and others derided as a Dungeons and Dragons soundtrack.
Everyone has been wondering how they could follow that! Luckily, The King Is Dead is a masterful effort that takes their sound in a new direction. The Victorian-era tales, for instance, have been replaced by Americana rock in the style of [lastfm]R.E.M.[/lastfm] or [lastfm]Tom Petty[/lastfm].
“Down By The Water” starts with a loud blast of harmonica, then launches into a toe-tapping acoustic-guitar rhythm. Country music is certainly a touchstone, but nature might be the band’s biggest influence on The King is Dead. The album’s cover art shows a dark wall of pine trees, like you’re looking out at the woods from the porch of a cabin at dusk. This is an album where The Decemberists find new roots, not in the Victorian-era tales of their past albums, but in the backwoods of their native Oregon.
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