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XPN Fest Recap: Offa Rex transports the BB&T to the Olde English isles

Offa Rex | photo by Jeremy Zimmerman for WXPN

Offa Rex is the new collaboration between The Decemberists and English folk singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney, and if the crowd was expecting to hear a Decemberists-heavy set geared towards fans of the beloved indie rock band they were in for a surprise. The set focused on Offa Rex’s debut album The Queen of Hearts, released July 14th on Nonesuch, but did include one cover of a Decemberists song, “Rox in the Box.” The billing that always seems to accompany Offa Rex is the parenthetical “(The Decemberists + Olivia Chaney),” but it is now clear that this is more informative than descriptive.

The collaboration was brought to life out of Decemberists’ Colin Meloy desire to create an Albion Band-backing-Shirley Collins-type project, and that’s exactly what was realized as the Decemberists act as the backing band for Chaney’s clear, haunting vocals. The Queen of Hearts reimagines classic folk songs found in the British Isles, and the role of 60’s folk hero troubadours appears to be a natural one for The Decemberists to step into, simply eliminating the “alternative” from their “alt-folk” classification.

I half expected them to walk on stage wearing period costumes, but there was no such luck. Continue reading →

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XPN Fest band Offa Rex get heavy on new “Sheepcrook And Black Dog” single

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

Leading up to the July 14th release of their debut LP, Offa Rex have shared another song off of The Queen of Hearts called “Sheepcrook and Black Dog.” The collaborative outfit of singer-songwriter Olivia Chaney and The Decemberists will perform at this year’s XPoNential Music Festival on Friday, July 28th.

Continue reading →

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Watch Offa Rex add a psychedelic groove to the traditional folk song “Blackleg Miner”

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

New group Offa Rex is the beautiful folky brainchild between indie outfit The Decemberists and singer-songwriter  Olivia Chaney. The collaborative project, which is rooted in traditional British folk music, will debut their upcoming album Queen of Hearts on July 7th. But before then, the band has released a video for their take on the historic song, “Blackleg Miner.” 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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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 →