The Decemberists - "Down By The Water" Album Art

The Decemberists have announced a release date and title to their Hazards Of Love follow-up. It’s called The King Is Dead, was recorded in a barn outside Portland, and it’ll be out in mid-January. Tucker Martine produced. “Down By The Water” is the first taste of the new album, though the band have been playing it live a lot. Gillian Welch appears on seven tracks, and on this one is joined by Peter Buck on 12 string. Colin Meloy says The King is influenced by R.E.M; you’ll hear that on this track. Have a listen:

You can get the track in exchange for your email address:

The King Is Dead is out 1/18. Tracklist:

01 “Don’t Carry It All”
02 “Calamity Song”
03 “Rise To Me”
04 “Rox In The Box
05 “January Hymn
06 “Down By The Water”
07 “All Arise!”
08 “June Hymn
09 “This Is Why We Fight”
10 “Dear Avery”

UPDATE: Album cover, and some words from Colin via press release:

The Decemberists - The King Is Dead

“For all my talk about how complex those records were, this one may have been harder to do. IIt’s a real challenge to make simple music, and lot of times we had to deliberately hold off and keep more space. This record is an exercise in restraint.”

“Over the last eleven years or so, since I moved to Portland, I feel like I’ve been mining mostly English traditions for influence. I guess I’ve kind of come back to a lot of the more American music that got me going in the first place – R.E.M. and Camper Van Beethoven and all these bands that borrowed from more American traditions like Neil Young and the Byrds.”

“Sometimes I kind of miss the epic-ness of the other albums, but it’s nice to get all of the information across in three minutes. It’s like going from reading a novel to reading a bunch of short stories.”

Comments (5)
  1. Well if Peter Buck is Down By The Water with the Decemberists, I guess he finally Found The River? Ahhhhhahahahahahaa, hahah, hah, ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Ohh, maybe he’s there to do a little Nightswimming, yes?

    But it does sound a lot like 1992 R.E.M., although, as with all The Decemberists songs, I can’t actually get past Colin Meloy’s voice. I’m not sure why, it’s not an extreme voice in any direction, it just hits my ears all wrong and I can’t listen to it.

    • That’s interesting….the ONLY thing that ever drew me to the Decemberists in the first place was his voice on Crane Wife and Yankee Bayonet.

      On this one, he sounds like a stronger version of Stipe. Maybe it’s his youth compared to Stipe.

      Anyway it’s remarkable how people can ‘hear’ it as transcendant in one way, yet another can’t stand it.

  2. I like the whole Americana sound going on in this song, the harmonica and Peter Buck playing a 12-string on it is a nice touch. Not the biggest Decemberists fan but I’m curious to hear the rest of this REM-influenced album.

  3. So good! I love everything Decemberists, but Hazards of Love took their schtick to almost goofy extremes. Sounds like they’ve kept it in check this time around. I have a feeling this is going to be a good start to ’11.

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