new music monday, volume one

By popular demand, I'm starting a new music feature here every week. Not only does it give me something to talk about, it gives me something to talk about that I could talk about for hours and hours. When I was 21, I discovered a catchy little band from Portland, Oregon, when their catchy, quirky "Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect" happened to show up on a CMJ disc. I hated it.

And then, somewhere around the 20th, or the 50th listen to that disc, I was suddenly in love with the singer's quirky, brit-accent tinged vocals, with the way that he could make dictionary calibre words seem like they were meant for rock and roll. I couldn't put it down.

and we are vagabonds we travel without seatbelts on we live this close to death

I never expected it to change. I never expected to like this bizarre little band from portland, with the accordions and the autoharp, and the slide guitars, and upright basses. But it did. I did. Before long, I owned everything that the band had ever put out. I had a newfound appreciation for long words. Every play of the disc was like a singalong.

Last year, I was supposed to go to Peru, but an injury had sidelined me from hiking for days upon days. So we went to New York. A bit of a pity trip, really, my "I have to go somewhere because I'm not where I should be" kind of trip. And the Decemberists were playing a beautiful little hole-in-the-wall club called the mercury lounge. Dios (now Dios Malos) and Clearlake opened the show. And then, on stage they trooped. It was the beginning of a borderline obsession with music, of me lusting after double-basses as if they were going to bear my future children. Or rembering why I loved music in the first place.

Last night marked the third Decemberists show that I've attanded in just over a year. I had no idea what to expect, with a few new members, my favourite drummer replaced/augmented by a violinist, and a different drum-master. It was phenomenal. From the moment they stepped onto stage, the band had people captivated. So much so that Colin had everyone (no seriously, everyone in the room, except for the two guys at the back who were all "no that's ok we're too cool to sit down" until the audience turned in its entirety to look at them and one of the remaining standers thought better of that position) on the floor, on their knees, during the chimbley sweep as if it were the only way to be, the band reclining upon their instruments, cries of "shh! crutchy is sleeping" echoing throughout the room. A random audience member traded his drink for crutchy's (chris funk's) guitar, and wowed us with his skills during a mid-song jam. Some lucky person ended up with a tambourine. Some unlucky people showed up to discover that the show was SOLD out.

After the show, unable to contain dorky-bass-playerness, I cornered nate, the bassist to talk about music. I wanted to know about cases, and chords, and key signatures, and he helpfully answered. I think he really wanted a smoke, though. Like really. But I couldn't help it. The hard case for his bass? Hot. David Gage cases look awesome.