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The Mellowing Of Meloy

The Decemberists lead man talks about the joys of letting go.

Riff City
Colin Meloy has come a long way from his days as a young songwriter penning fanciful songs in the Oak Street Building in Industrial Southeast Portland. At that time, around the turn of the millennium, ...   More
Wednesday, October 11, 2006 MARK BAUMGARTEN

Janus Figures

The first four lines that Colin Meloy released as a Decemberist, on 2002's Castaways and Cutouts, are perhaps his most powerful. "My name is Leslie Ann Levine," he sang over a simple guitar strum. "My mother birthed me down a dry ravine/ My mother birthed me far too soon/ Born at nine and dead at noon."

While the words "whimsical" and "literary" have been the adjectives of ch...   More
Monday, October 9, 2006 by MARK BAUMGARTEN

Janus Figures

On The Crane Wife, the Decemberists introduce a powerful musical performance, and some lifeless characters.

Riff City
The first four lines that Colin Meloy released as a Decemberist, on 2002's Castaways and Cutouts, are perhaps his most powerful. "My name is Leslie Ann Levine," he sang over a simple guitar strum. "My ...   More
Wednesday, October 4, 2006 MARK BAUMGARTEN

Joy! Janet Weiss Joins the Jicks.

Spawning enough alliteration to keep the powers that be at this publication sated for the next two weeks, former Sleater-Kinney drummer Janet Weiss has joined Stephen Malkmus's band, the Jicks. This, we must tell you, is awesome. But first we must tell you that this story originally broke over on the Portla...   More
Monday, October 2, 2006 by MARK BAUMGARTEN

LEAK: Swan Island, "Flew the Coop" from The Centre Will Hold (Holocene Music)

You know when you start a band (and I know you have) and the guitarist always starts out by playing the "Crazy Train" riff over and over again? First you laugh and then you humor your guitarist's obsession and then you say "stop!" Well, the ladies in Swan Island did not say "stop," in fact they "ei ei ei"-ed t...   More
Thursday, September 28, 2006 by MARK BAUMGARTEN

Hillstomp Headed to Northern Ireland

Apparently the Transportation Security Administration is not only allowing some liquids back on flights, but they have also cleared "minimal gothic junkbox blues," an unstable substance that has been known to blow away entire clubs full of innocent Americans.

Now that I've made light of terroris...   More
Tuesday, September 26, 2006 by MARK BAUMGARTEN

The Kingdom, Sept. 21 at Doug Fir

In honor of the release of its debut LP, K1, the Kingdom got all dressed up. The boys were all outfitted in respectable button-up shirts and Jenna Roadman was outfitted in a very tasteful frock with a pink scarf. It was all very respectful. The audience was too, for the most part. On a Thursday night th...   More
Friday, September 22, 2006 by MARK BAUMGARTEN

Cosmos Corbin Mashes Up Portland

I know, I know. The mash-up is so 2004. But Portland mash-ups? Totally 2006. And mash-ups by Cosmos Corbin? Well, as you can hear for yourself at his MySpace, this guy's marriages of Portland indie rock hits and Top 40 R&B hits are timeless. Up on his page right now are mash-ups of Elliott Smith and Kelis, the...   More
Friday, September 22, 2006 by MARK BAUMGARTEN

Decemberists Play Secret Show, Milk Press for Drinks

My philosophy on drinks for bands is this: Buy them. When a band requests a round of whiskeys from the stage, they are making a promise. They are saying, "We would liked to get ripped up tonight so that we can play a fun, long, drunken set. We would like to exorcise some demons. If you help us, we will take yo...   More
Thursday, September 21, 2006 by MARK BAUMGARTEN

A Cautionary Tale: Heroes and Villains gets serious and aims high on its debut, Turn Your Swords. That’s the problem.

“The Setup,” the first track on Heroes and Villains' debut, Turn Your Swords, introduces the listener to a character by way of the midrange harmonies of vocalists Adam Raitano and Maranda Dabel. “He's a man/ He's a man/ And he seems to understand what it's for/ All is fair in love and war....   More
Wednesday, September 20, 2006 by MARK BAUMGARTEN
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