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Among the diverse Oregon bands devoted to “keeping Portland Weird,” The Decemberists formed in 2000 when Colin Meloy left his band Tarkio in Montana and moved to Portland, Oregon. There he met Nate Query, who introduced Meloy to Jenny Conlee (they had played together in the band Calobo) and the three scored a silent film together.
They played a solo show and just before meeting Query, Meloy met Chris Funk. Funk was a fan of Tarkio and played pedal steel on the first two Decemberists releases, not “officially” becoming a member until the third effort.
You may wonder how these players arrived at the name for their band. The band’s name refers to the “Decembrist revolt,” an 1825 insurrection in Imperial Russia. Meloy has stated that the name is also meant to invoke the “drama and melancholy” of the month of December. Some one has been reading their eastern European international history!
The next five years were a blur of recording, performing and self-releasing their debut 5 Songs EP. Their next three albums were produced for two different indie labels, Hush Records and the Kill Rockstars label.
Just before Christmas of 2005, Meloy announced the band’s signing to Capitol Records. The following April they began work on The Crane Wife, released in 2006.
The Decemberists have since worked with a full orchestra, appeared on numerous television shows and engaged in creative concert staging and theatrics. Since 2006, the band has released four successful albums and their first #1 Billboard chart debut for the 2011 release, The King Is Dead. The track from it, “Down By The Water,” won a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Song at the 54th Grammy Awards, 2012.
The band has just released its eighth album, I’ll Be Your Girl and K-ZAP is spinning the lead single “Severed” on 93.3 FM and streaming at K-ZAP.ORG/LISTEN/ or you can watch the song’s video below.
Castaways and Cutouts (2002)
Her Majesty the Decemberists (2003)
The Crane Wife (2006)
The Hazards of Love (2009)
The King Is Dead (2011)
What a Terrible World, What a Beautiful World (2015)
I’ll Be Your Girl (2018)