The Decemberists premiered songs from their new album, The Hazards Of Love, at Stubb's Bar-B-Que in Austin last night (March 18). Through the wonder of the Internet and hardcore fans that post this stuff on video-sharing sites, you can watch some clips of the performance--or if you just want to hear the show, close your eyes and listen to the it courtesy of NPR--and it'll almost be like you're there. Order up some BBQ from your local BBQ joint, grab some adult beverages from your refrigerator, invite your friends over to talk loudly while you're trying to listen to the band and spill beer on your shoes, turn the lights down, turn your audio up to 11 and hit play. And try to keep the BBQ sauce and adult beverages away from your keyboard.
I'm putting the spotlight on the Decemberists because like the folks at SXSW, Stubb's, NPR, and those fans that posted those videos, I think they're a band worthy of your attention. Since Capitol Records was nice enough to make a copy of the band's new album available to me as a legal download, I listened to The Hazards Of Love this morning at the gym and at one point, while I was stretching, I was seemingly so engrossed in the music I found myself starring at the ceiling--or perhaps I was just tired and putting off my workout. Whatever the case, I can tell you on first listen it's an epic song-cycle about--you guessed it--the hazards of love. It's literate, musically interesting, and while sometimes the Decemberists can be a bit twee, there are moments on this album when they rock as hard as PJ Harvey.
Another reason why I'm spotlighting the Decemberists is because my friends at Yahoo! Music were high on the band a long time ago. In fact, they invited the Decemberists in for a performance and interview session way back in 2006. Even more shocking, the band accepted. Rather than let the fine footage go unseen, I'm dusting it off for you now. Check it out below and pick up a copy of The Hazards Of Love, available now as a download through iTunes and on 180-gram vinyl at select indie stores, and on March 24 everywhere else. In the meantime, let me know if you think the Decemberists are truly a band for all seasons or merely the flavor of the month.