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The Decemberists & Tegan And Sara march 14 2005, 09:57 pm
submitted by: normal mc

The Decemberists
Her Majesty The Decemberists


It’s either the worst speech impediment in pop today or the best affectation. The world may never know. The lead singer cannot pronounce his ‘R’ properly. But it’s not all the time, only when the word ends with an ‘R’… and it’s not the Bostonian ‘pahk the cah’ nonsense. It reminds me of the time I beat up Richie Barry in 2nd grade for making fun of the way I couldn’t roll my ‘R’.

I looked it up. The motherfuckers are from Portland, Oregon. No one from Portland should sing like this. Not that it’s bad mind you, I’m just saying geographically it doesn’t jive.

Either way, The Decemberists have scratched and clawed their ways to the top of my list of bands I wish to hear more from, I enjoyed ‘Her Majesty, The Decemberists’ immensely. A folksy mix of jangly pop, string quartet, accordion and harps of all persuasions, ‘Her Majesty’ is winter road trip music at it’s finest. Evocative and moody, it’s a minstrel sideshow ‘plugged in’ and much more palatable than your average art house/coffeehouse junk.

Sparse in parts and involving in others, ‘Her Majesty’ is winter weather, road trip music. Thematic at points (you could easily hear ‘The Gymnast’ as accompaniment to a depressing montage in a PT Anderson film), they’re earnest and poetic, as good folk bands ought to be. ‘Los Angeles, I’m Yours’ is surely already optioned, as well. ‘Billy Liar’ has a mean waltzing quality to it and makes me wish I had friend named Billy to make a mix tape for.

The characters they sing of are instantly memorable and heartbreakingly real. The stories are subtle and open to much interpretation. A thinking man’s band, no doubt. If you need to be told what to feel, steer clear.

The Decemberists are destined for obscurity. Their songs, while toe tapping hum able, are much to obtuse for mass acceptance. Oh well.






Tegan And Sara
So Jealous


A year and a half ago, I gave a favorable review to Tegan & Sara’s ‘If It Was You’. Normally, when I like something relatively new (it was their second release), the follow-up leaves me upset, underwhelmed and disappointed overall. ‘So Jealous’ is a fantastic third act from this talented Canadian duo… dare I say the most talented Canadian duo since Bob and Doug… or Terrance and Phillip, even.

Plus they are lesbians. That being said, have the snarky heartbroken Canucks deviated from their ‘so darn catchy’ formula that made me fall in love with ‘If It Was You’? Thankfully no.

Maybe I’m too emotional or too easily swayed by a clever turn of a phrase or lyrical witticism, but a few standout tracks from ‘So Jealous’ really tugged at the Norm’s heartstrings. The opener being one of them, ‘You Wouldn’t Like Me’, with its gloriously simple guitars and a boombap drive. ‘I feel like you wouldn’t like me if you met me’… wow. Did they read my mind? That’s what I think when I like someone and then proceed to try too hard to hide my faults thus sabotaging any chance of a relationship… oh. My bad. This isn’t my blog. Never mind. Let’s move on. (Now that I know they are lesbians it does kinda hurt the whole ‘I can relate’ emotional angle, I admit. But still…)

The question ‘what do I need to do to see myself in a better mood’ is asked right at the beginning of ‘Fix You Up’. It’s shit like this that kills me. Then the chorus ‘and we’ll get ya fixed up in no time’… ouch. Here they are singing to someone that they’re just as fucked up as anyone else and hey, they’ll figure a way out of it. As if that wasn’t enough to throw ol’ Norm into a navel gazing regret-a-thon of epic proportions, how about this line - ‘what I figured out was that I needed more time to figure you out’? An upper, a downer. Buck up, camper! It’s saccharine and melancholy, but a real pick-me-up, really. Maybe someday someone will fix me up. Maybe it’ll be Lindsay Lohan!

‘So Jealous’ has some great 80’s inspired synth riffage (‘I Know I Know I Know’, ‘Walking With A Ghost’), which compliments the acoustic guitars throughout. ‘Speak Slow’ and ‘Take Me Anywhere’ kick up the BPM’s a notch or two from the usual mid-tempo almost ballads. The tongue-in-cheek humor is still there with ‘We Didn’t Do It For The Money’. Nary a weak track on the album, ‘So Jealous’ kicks my lame white ass. My favorite track by far is the wall of guitar rocker ‘I Bet It Stung’. Slightly off center drumming, fuzz tone and light synth, great harmonies and some obtuse lyrics…

I know you plan out everything that you want to say
I wish that we didn't have to go about things this way
I love the rock and roll; I love the rock and roll
Don't get so uptight, don't get so uptight
Go, go away

Tell me you love me like you think you want to be loved
Pull on my hand and say, please just let's make it this way
I love the rock and roll; I love the rock and roll
Don't get so uptight, don't get so uptight
Go, go away


I dare you to tell me what’s not to love about these chicks? I mean really… lesbian, Canadian, great pop. Plus they are hot...











comments...   add a comment...


dj tanner
dj tanner 4789 posts
03.14.2005
comment no. 1

Jon Hall lives in Portland, Oregon.


chosen rosen
chosen rosen 657 posts
03.15.2005
comment no. 2

you've got me really curious about the decemberists. may have to go check them out. thanks norm!


dj tanner
dj tanner 4789 posts
03.22.2005
comment no. 3

The Decemberists have a new CD out today!





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