Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s featured selection, chosen by Afternoon Show host Cheryl Waters, is “The Wanting Comes In Waves/Repaid” by The Decemberists from their recently released album The Hazards of Love available on Capitol Records.
Let’s face it. You’re either a fan of The Decemberists or you’re not. If you belong in the first category, you are generally willing to go along with whatever unusual concept comes out of Colin Meloy’s brain and into your speakers because it sounds good for some reason. I personally never thought I would be driving down the freeway singing sea chanteys at the top of my lungs, but there you go. It happened(s). What I’m curious about is if their latest effort, The Hazards of Love, will be the album that pulls non fans into the other category. Today’s song rocks. Literally (pun intended). I know their last album, The Crane Wife, had a tinge more rock elements than previous efforts, but Meloy, et al, have gone full on rock as today’s song is over 6 minutes of wailing guitar riffs and features My Brightest Diamond‘s Shara Worden rocking out a la Grace Slick opposite Meloy for more of a Jefferson Airplane sound than their usual nerdy lit rock. Other guests smattered throughout the album include Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Robyn Hitchcock, and Rebecca Gates (The Spinanes).
Some of the more nerdy details of the album’s concept and background story may as well be lost on the masses (but several folks recommend reading the lyrics when you listen to the album) but are well documented. One thing you might find curious is how Meloy got from British folk artist Anne Briggs-whose album The Hazards of Love originally inspired Meloy to write songs based on old folk songs, to classic metal sound heard throughout the album. A quick look at her wiki page shows that Ms. Briggs was also inspirational to one Mr. Jimmy Page… and voila!
The Decemberists begin their full on tour in support of the album with a little performance at Marymoor Park on July 17th with Andrew Bird and Blind Pilot. This show just might make me forget I hate festival/outdoor concerts/the Eastside. What an amazing line up. More dates and clever travelogues can be found on their website. Get your tickets early! They also recently donated a song to Causes 2, where 100% of the proceeds benefit several charities doing work in Africa. Other artists on this comp include LCD Soundsystem, My Morning Jacket, Diplo, Gnarls Barkley, Devendra Banhart and Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings. Digital downloads are available here.
Here’s a video of The Decemberists performing today’s song on The Colbert Report: