The beginning of the year is usually a strong time for album releases, with memories of Surfer Blood, Beach House, Los Campesinos! and Vampire Weekend still fresh from this year. The year before we had Merriweather Post Pavilion. This January, the year will hopefully get a quick jolt from The Decemberists, who offer their new record, The King Is Dead, on January 18th. The album is supposedly a back-to-basics sort of affair, with frontman Colin Meloy describing it as an “exercise in restraint.” Seems like a logical next step after a rock opera, no?
The album, and the band’s performance on Conan last night, feature Gillian Welch, because Meloy can apparently get any indie or folky lady to be a Decemberist at will. Shara Worden will be missed. But also on the album will be Peter Buck on a handful of songs, and if you close your eyes during this track, you can totally hear Michael Stipe circa 1985 nailing this tune. Not that Meloy doesn’t nail it too. R.E.M. has an album coming out soon as well, so will see who does the best impression of old R.E.M. when it is all said and done.