Tuning Out the Tone Deaf
Many of those who know me, you know my musical tastes tended to scream almost one thing only, Punk rock and those associated with it. Many moons have passed since those days of yore and as any angry teen, we all grow up.
Unfortunately, I'm no exception either.
As a musician, the only way for one to get better is by broadening their horizons and taking inspiration from all walks of life, especially in the mega-diverse world of music. It’s almost impossible to meet someone new and not be introduced to some new musician or ultra-obscure band which of course only a select few are privileged to have ever heard about. But what’s even better is when you are accepted into the fold immediately becoming privy to the wealth of knowledge each member has to offer. There’s no better feeling than knowing something that so few are keen to and even better when you introduce someone new into your secret society (Don’t lie to yourself, you know it’s true!). Hopefully I hope it is here where I can introduce you common folk to some new shit and possibly expand your musical lexicon and bring some much needed diversity in our otherwise mundane lives. So without further ado here begins the first issue of Tuning Out the Tone Deaf exclusively found only on Jackass Express.
For those of you still living in your caves deep inside the Himalayas, Indie band The Decemberists have released their newest album The King is Dead. If you’ve never heard of The Decemberists until now, then shame on you, but if you have then you know that these guys will use any instrument in existence, throw them all together and create an opus that even Bach himself would shed tears over cursing himself for not thinking of it himself. Their latest album though is a bit restrained compared to some of their previous albums, but not drastically so. Here, lead singer/song writer Colin Meloy takes his band in a more country/blues/folk inspired direction filled with slide guitars, harmonicas, banjos, accordions and the sorts and masterfully arranges said instruments into heartfelt ballads such as June Hymn reminiscent of old Dylan. The album kicks off with their first song (as opposed to the second song) Don’t Carry It All which really is a testament to what the rest of the album will be like. It’s a strong opener for an otherwise solid album with great songs all around. The tempos to the first few songs are upbeat which segue into more mellow songs such as Rise to Me to bring you down a bit before resurrecting back into a powerful ending. Meloy’s song writing is as strong as ever and with every new album, definitely matures.
It’s great to see a great band try something new and really pull it off. One might argue that their previous albums are pretty similar which in some ways you would be right. But what The Decemeberists do is just build on what they’re already good at and just adapt new music styles ultimately making something new. If you’re looking for something with a bit of country flair, but with out the annoying twangs that are accompanied with so many of the songs in that genre, then you should definitely give this album a good listen to.