Formed in Portland, Oregon, in 1999, The Decemberists is a group composed of five members: Colin Meloy (vocals, guitar), Jenny Conlee, Rachel Blumberg, Chris Funk, Jesse Emerson. There doesn't seem to be too much to the formation of the band, in that it seems like the tried and true, "we all knew each other indirectly through friends and played in bands, and then we finally got together" story. The focus of the band, though, and the press surrounding it seems to be on the vocalist, Colin Meloy. A member of three bands (Figure Head, Happy Cactus, and Tariko) before The Decemberists, he seems to be the "veteran" of the group.

Initially, The Decemberists were signed with the Portland label Hush Records. However, they are under the Washington label Kill Rockstars, recent as of their second release Castaways & Cutouts.

I was first introduced to this group by a friend. He assured me that if I liked Neutral Milk Hotel (which I did... very much), then I would surely like the sounds of The Decemberists. He was right, although I would describe them a little differently, or at least elaborate on his description. I would say that they sound similar to Jeff Magnum, of Neutral Milk Hotel (as far as vocals), Harvey Danger, and They Might Be Giants. While listening to their second, and most recent release Her Majesty the Decemberists, all three of those artists/groups came to mind. Many of the songs, at least on Her Majesty The Decemberists have a piratey, folk kind of sound to them, which makes them all very easy to listen to. As of now, my favorite song by The Decemberists is The Gymnast, High Above the Ground. It is such a pretty and peaceful song.

One interesting fact about the band: their official drink is Orangina, an orange-drink that can be purchased in Canada.


  • Five Songs
    • Oceanside
    • Shiny
    • My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist
    • Angel, Won't You Call Me?
    • I Don't Mind
    • The Apology Song
  • Castaways & Cutouts
  • Her Majesty The Decemberists
    • Shanty for the Arethusa
    • Billy Liar
    • Los Angeles, I'm Yours
    • The Gymnast, High Above the Ground
    • The Bachelor and the Bride
    • Song for Myla Goldberg
    • The Soldiering Life
    • Red Right Ankle
    • I Was Meant for the Stage
    • As I Rise

For more information about The Decemberists, visit their site at: Or, for further information on them, and some nifty extra things, visit Hush Records at:

In the 7 or so years between dgrnx’s wriiteup and the time of this one, the Decemberists have stayed busy releasing three more LP albums, two more EP albums, having a equipment van stolen, signing to a major label, playing political rallies for American President Barack Obama, challenging Steven Colbert to a green screen contest and a shred-off, and continuing to write highly literate music to the point that their latest release is a rock opera based on the folk story Tam Lin.

My personal story of first hearing about the Decemberists is highly boring, I had somehow stumbled across a video for their single from Picaresque titled “Sixteen Military Wives” and quickly fell in love with the music and the “Rushmore” inspired video. As my musical wankery knows no bounds I’ve had the pleasure of hooking multiple friends onto their music, including my current girlfriend. Shara Worden as The Forest Queen seems to just do it for some woman.

  • The Tain - The Decemberists' first attempt at a concept album, the Tain is a 18 minute and some odd seconds song cycle based on the Tain Bo Cuailnge. It is one song broken into five nameless parts.

For those curious Orangina is still the official drink of The Decemberists.

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