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Confetti and Joy: The Decemberists and M. Ward made the Mann Center feel like home

The Decemberists | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN | katemccannphotography.com

It was one of those nights at the Mann Center for Performing Arts where every moment made you fall in love with Philadelphia all over again. And each song made you feel more at home with the ever-engaged audience.

The skyline aglow, M. Ward took the stage with an acoustic guitar, alone, and fervently played to the crowd. The band shuffled in, playing favorites like “Chinese Translation” and “Post-War.” Mid-set, Ward announced a surprise album release of What a Wonderful Industry, that dropped today and followed it up with a new single, “Miracle Man.” Continue reading →

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Now Hear This: New songs from Kylie, Kali and Koze; PC, PCM and SMD; Daphne, Damien, Daniel and the Decemberists

Kylie Minogue | photo via facebook.com/kylieminogue

Every month, noted song expert K. Ross Hoffman presents Now Hear This, a sampling of fresh specimens for your consideration.

This year was already off to a pretty good start, musically speaking, but at some point around the beginning of last month things really started popping off. By which I mean we started getting a steady stream of bright, shiny, undeniable capital-P Pop music, the kind of stuff that’s going to become truly indispensable / inescapable come summertime – which, for all intents and purposes is basically already here – and which will likely wind up defining 2018 in our memories forevermore. And I’m digging it! First off, we got Cardi B’s debut album, Invasion of Privacy, which was not just a major cultural event but also way more fun than I would’ve expected, and has been rightly celebrated as such across the board. (Truly, if you haven’t at least heard the made-for-the-summer Latin-pop sizzler “I Like It,” featuring Bad Bunny & J. Balvin, do yourself the favor – also, she’s coming to town in September with Bruno Mars.) Then there was Drake, of course, replacing himself at the top of the charts with “Nice For What” and having more fun than he’s had in ages (maybe ever?), even if at least half of the song’s appeal is down to that Lauryn Hill sample. (He’s also got an album on the way, and a just-announced September Philly date with Migos.) Continue reading →

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The Decemberists are back to the future with their synth-y new single “Severed” and a Mann Center gig this June

The Decemberists | photo courtesy of artist

The Decemberists’ rich and earthy folk music always lingers with a sense of the past, but it was their recent offshoot project, Offa Rex, that quite literally time travelled back to the way olden days by solely performing traditional English folk songs with guest singer, Olivia Chaney. Now, the band is time traveling again — only this time, to the future.

With the release of their new single “Severed,” we hear the results of working with new producer, John Congelton (St. Vincent, Lana Del Ray, The Districts) for a unique mix of prog and garage rock sounds that morphs into a futuristic, space-y kind of folk breed. Listen to the single below. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: Offa Rex (The Decemberists + Olivia Chaney), Pinegrove, The Dove & The Wolf, Hardwork Movement and more added to XPoNential Music Festival 2017

Offa Rex | photo courtesy of the artist
Offa Rex | photo by Shervin Lainez | courtesy of the artist

The lineup of the 2017 XPoNential Music Festival keeps growing, with today’s addition of Offa Rex — a new collaboration between indie rock troubadours The Decemberists and singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney — to WXPN’s July gathering on the Camden waterfront. The band, which releases its debut album The Queen of Hearts July 7th on Nonesuch Records, blends traditional English-Irish-Scotch songwriting with folk rock and psychedelia. Listen to their interview with NPR Music’s Bob Boilen below. Continue reading →

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It’s springtime in Fishtown as The Decemberists hold court at The Fillmore

The Decemberists | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN
The Decemberists | photo by Kate McCann for WXPN

A packed crowd at The Fillmore stalked the stage, awaiting Colin Meloy and the rest of The Decemberists’ circus-like performance, full of tongue twisted lyrics and fantasy. Touring on their What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World LP from 2015, old fans were shouting for earlier favorites like “Red Right Ankle” and “The Chimbley Sweep.” After opening with a passionate “Crane Wife” parts 1, 2, and 3, everyone was at ease. Continue reading →

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Just Announced: The Decemberists will headline The Fillmore this spring

The Decemberists | photo courtesy of the artist
The Decemberists | photo courtesy of the artist

Portland folk rock favorites The Decemberists are seven albums deep into an illuminating career, with their most recent outing — 2015’s What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World — garnering acclaim among fans and critics alike. The band just announced a short, two-week run in April along the east coast, with singer-songwriter Julien Baker in tow, and the tour stops at The Fillmore on Friday, April 14th. Continue reading →

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The Decemberists bring pageantry and passion to the Academy of Music

The Decemberists | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com
The Decemberists | Photo by Chris Sikich | countfeed.tumblr.com

A gust of drums and a deluge of syllables packaged in an ever-expanding novella of a song. These were my feelings when I first heard The Decemberists’ “The Infanta” back in 2005. The opening track to Picaresque, the song, the album and the band all resurrected my love for music. And to hear this song performed by the 2015 incarnation of the Portland, Oregon-based indie eccentrics this past Tuesday at the Academy of Music was as exhilarating as it was the first time on CD. Before a sell-out crowd the Colin Meloy-led quintet were as captivating as ever. Continue reading →