The Decemberists are a folk rock band which formed in 2000 in Portland, Oregon, United States. The band currently consists of Colin Meloy (vocals, guitar), Chris Funk (guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, pedal steel guitar), Jenny Conlee (organ, piano, accordion), Nate Query (electric bass, acoustic bass, cello) and John Moen (drums). Notable former members include Rachel Blumberg (drums, vocals) and Jesse Emerson (bass). The band's most recent album, The King Is Dead was released on 17 January 2011.
Named both in reference to the Russian Decembrist Revolt (they use the national anthem of the Soviet Union as an introduction at many concerts) and to the atmosphere associated with the month of December, the Decemberists write songs that range from upbeat pop to instrumentally lush ballads. They often employ instruments like the accordion, Hammond organ, Wurlitzer organ, and upright bass. In their lyrics, they eschew the angst and introspection common to modern rock, instead favoring a storytelling approach, as evidenced in songs such as "My Mother Was a Chinese Trapeze Artist" from the 5 Songs EP and "The Mariner's Revenge Song" on Picaresque. Their songs convey tales ranging from whimsical ("Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect") to epic ("The Tain") to truly dark ("Odalisque").
They often invoke historical events and themes from around the world. Early in their career, The Decemberists' musical and lyrical aesthetics frequently prompted critics to compare them to Neutral Milk Hotel. Since their debut, their sound has undergone a consistent evolution, most notably in the direction of progressive rock with a strong folk influence, though they have also been described as indie rock and, by Stephen Colbert, as "hyper-literate prog rock." For example, one song, "When the War Came", uses a little-known story from the Siege of Leningrad to describe the heroism of civilian scientists during warfare. The lyrics state: "We made our oath to Vavilov / We'd not betray the solanum / The acres of asteraceae / To our own pangs of starvation".Make The Decemberists Playlist