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The 50 Best Songs of 2009

As part of PopMatters’ 20th anniversary, we are revisiting classic features. Travel back in time a decade ago to 2009, when indie rock was in its full ascendency,and hear the songs that soundtracked the era.

Recent
Music

Newport Folk Festival 2017 Hit All the Right Notes

A great weekend at Newport includes watching talented, diverse performers, participating in a protest song sing-along and maybe a lobster roll.

Music

Offa Rex: The Queen of Hearts

Think of Offa Rex as the Decemberists and UK singer Olivia Chaney jumping into a wormhole to come out the other side as Fairport Convention. It works magically in every way.

Interviews

The Bloom Is On: An Interview with Producer Tucker Martine

He's produced for the Decemberists, Mudhoney, and My Morning Jacket -- and also wrote the Windows Vista theme. A journey through the life of producer Tucker Martine.

Caleb Caldwell
Music

Counterbalance: The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

And I will hang my head low — as we build our homes aluminum and fill our mouths with cinnamon. By land, by sea, by dirigible, we turn our Counterbalance attention to a 2006 indie rock classic.

Music

Governors Ball Day 1: My Morning Jacket + Florence and the Machine + The Decemberists (Photos)

A photo gallery from the first day of Governors Ball, featuring Florence and the Machine, MMJ, The Decemberists, St. Vincent and more.

Music

The Decemberists: What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World

Although this isn’t the Decemberists’ best album, it’s a breathtaking effort that maintains everything that makes them so one-of-a-kind and vital.

Music

The 100 Best Albums of the 2000s: 100-81

PopMatters' picks for the best albums of the 2000s begins with a series of albums that spans epic metal, ornate indie folk, and a terrifying work of electronic music.

Music

The Decemberists: We All Raise Our Voices to the Air (Live Songs 04.11-08.11)

We All Raise Our Voices to the Air is a sterling live document of a band at the peak of their powers showcasing just how good they really are.

Music

The Best Americana of 2011

If you ask a critic or music fan to define Americana, be prepared for an avalanche of diverse responses of opinion. Still, there remain some constant benchmarks, such as pedal steel, fiddle, acoustic guitars -- and good songwriting.

Steve Leftridge and Jeff Strowe
Music

Guessing the 2012 Grammys

Predictions on who will be honored on “music’s biggest night”, based on a mixture of rumors, critical acclaim, and the academy’s voters.

Music

The Decemberists: Long Live the King

A solid and interesting, but ultimately inessential bookend that collects the odds and ends from the band's recording sessions for The King Is Dead.

Music

Making Pop Music as Literary As Possible: An Interview with John Wesley Harding

Keeping up with the variety of passions and activities of John Wesley Harding can be such a challenge that you're best off spending an evening with him, as he plays Master of Ceremonies at the Cabinet of Wonders, the mixed-media carnival that he hosts with comedian Eugene Mirman.

Dennis Shin
Music

John Wesley Harding: Video-making Man

John Wesley Harding teams up with Eugene Mirman for new video, "Sing Your Own Song", which spoofs a Paul Simon classic.

Music

Decemberists’ Colin Meloy Tunes into Book World with ‘Wildwood’

“The Decemberists will be pretty quiet for a bit,” said Colin Meloy, adding that it will be a few years before fans see another record. In the meantime, Meloy plans to give this series of at least three books, which begins with Wildwood, his full attention.

Susan Carpenter - Los Angeles Times (MCT)
Music

The Decemberists: iTunes Session EP

The iTunes Session EP, with its almost exact recreation of album cuts, all but makes more real and palatable a possible lack of creativity with the band.

Reviews

Telluride Bluegrass Festival: 16 - 19 June 2011 (Saturday)

Four days of sun, banjos, snow, Mumfords, fiddles, and rock gods at 10,000 feet where, by Saturday, things get challenging.

Steve Leftridge
Reviews

Desitively Bonnaroo: Reporting from the Land of Dust and Music (Part 3)

You’re here to see your favorite indie-rock act, and you just so happen to have great representatives from other musical styles to explore as well.

Tomas Hachard
Music

I Guess White Boys Feel It More: On Music Biopics

The way that the films Notorious, 8 Mile, Walk The Line, and Ray lead up to scenes of performances shows the remarkable and subtle endurance of troubling racial stereotypes and ideals.

Music

The Decemberists: The Hazards of Love

Beware! Here there be shape-shifters, amoral rakes, an ill-tempered Queen, and a hell of a well-executed rock opera.

Music

Music Day 1: NPR Showcase

Photos: James Edward Crittendon

Music

Various Artists:Dark Was the Night

In its 20th year and in the hands of the National's Dessner Brothers, Red Hot delivers another compilation

Featured: Top of Home Page

M. Ward, The Decemberists, Mos Def...

Reviews

Monolith Festival feat. the Flaming Lips, Cake, the Decemberists, and Spoon

Despite boasting “the Best Live Music Venue in North America”, Red Rocks Amphitheater has had a fairly poor track record when it comes to festivals. So, the question is: can Monolith really break the bad streak?

Reviews

The Decemberists

He knows bar maids and peg-leg princesses like the back of his hand, but when reality comes a'knockin, Colin Meloy simply cannot be trusted.

Kirby Fields
Reviews

The Decemberists: The Decemberists [DVD]

The Decemberists are fun; terrific melodies, compelling stories, and careful pop songcraft.

Music

The Decemberists: The Crane Wife

The Crane Wife is a record of steely voices and beautiful sounds and striking images, of poetry in more senses than one.

Music

The Decemberists: Picaresque

Beware the Decemberists! The band's literate musings take audiences on a journey to the inner mind where ghosts lay in wait and shameful secrets are revealed for your listening pleasure.

Steve Horowitz
Music

The Decemberists: The Tain

The Decemberists' Tain is about the nameless individuals whose lives were swept up as they fought and mourned. As it was in 1974, 2004 seems the right time to resurrect this story, as its tragic themes unfortunately never go out of style.

Michael Metivier
Music

The Decemberists: Her Majesty the Decemberists

Her Majesty the Decemberists is distinctive, where the good parts are so good that it's easy to overlook the not-so-good. Think of it as a delicious, rare fruit, so ripe and sweet that tiny bits of it have gone brown.

Devon Powers
Reviews
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