The Decemberists

10 Concept Albums You’re Probably Not Getting

Concept albums should not be evaluated solely on how flashy the concept is, but rather, how well it’s executed as a narrative. Sometimes, the musician goes into painstaking detail to lay out the concept, but the overabundance of details and references to other works is overwhelming or inaccessible to the listener. Sometimes the story’s just right, but the way the album is received and discussed obscures the concept. It takes a very specific touch to not only tell the story, but also make sure that it’s accessible and comprehensible to the listener. With this in mind, we examined ten concept albums that don’t quite hit that sweet spot, either on the band’s part or on the fan’s… Read More

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The 10 Most Genuinely Disturbing Songs About Fathers

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday, which means there’ll be much breaking out of Cat Stevens’ “Father and Son” and Will Smith’s “Just the Two of Us” across the Internet. Since you’ll surely be getting your dose of sentimentality elsewhere, here are handful of significantly less wholesome songs about fathers. There are plenty that spring to mind (although the, ahem, daddy of the lot — Korn’s “Daddy” — turns out to not in fact be about Jonathan Davis’s father at all, hence its absence from this list). But still, there are plenty of other candidates, and all of them are better than anything that involves Will Smith. Here goes. … Read More

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‘The Simpsons’ Hipster Episode Was Everything That’s Wrong With ‘The Simpsons’ Now

Like many other former fans, I stopped watching The Simpsons sometime in the mid-2000s. It’s not that I think it’s uniformly terrible now — it’s still better than a whole lot of other shows on TV — or I’m boycotting it on principle. Hell, I even end up tuning in a few times per season, for a “Treehouse of Horror” or if someone I like is guest starring. But unlike its newish neighbor in Fox’s Sunday-night animation block, Bob’s Burgers, The Simpsons just can’t hold my attention anymore.

Sure, part of it is just that, a quarter-century into its run, the show rarely comes up with the kind of brilliantly loopy storylines that sustained it through the ’90s. What bothers me even more, though, is that a show that once had so many smart and original things to say about American culture has long seemed behind the times, its criticism mild and stale. In perhaps the most glaring example of this unfortunate trend, The Simpsons welcomed Portlandia stars Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein (as well as Patton Oswalt and, briefly, The Decemberists) to Springfield for an episode about hipsters. … Read More

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Hilariously Awful T-Shirts for Your Favorite Bands

We’ve all been there. You go to see a band you love, the show exceeds your already astronomical expectations, and when it’s all over, you feel the need to take home a memento of the evening. But then you get to merch table and the T-shirts are inexplicably awful. Thankfully, as the excellent Low Times has proven, terrible band T-shirts can be a whole lot funnier than they are disappointing. The site asked its audience to use CustomInk to create the worst designs they could think of, and the results — which feature tributes to the likes of Animal Collective, Bon Iver, and even Kelly Clarkson — are hilarious. Click through for a few of our favorites, and visit Low Times to see all 31 of the finalists (including a design submitted by one Steve Albini). … Read More

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Wrapped Up In Books: 10 Great Odes to Famous Writers

Here at Flavorpill, we’re huge fans of genre crossover, particularly when one artist we love pays tribute to another one we hold dear. This week, Vol. 1 Brooklyn pointed us towards a new song by Diehard called “Steinbeck,” after, of course, the famous author. After listening, we were inspired to dig up a few more sonic odes to famous writers — not just songs inspired by their works, mind you, though there are many of those, but songs actually devoted to or inspired by the authors themselves, which are a little less common. Click through to listen to ten songs we love about famous writers we love even more — or just stream the entire playlist here — and let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorite sonic odes to authors in the comments! … Read More

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5 Albums You Need to Stream for Free This Week: VCMG, Lee Ranaldo

Mondays are difficult enough without being robbed of an hour of sleep along the way, eh? If you’re anything like us, this morning’s a bit of a struggle, but nevertheless, we’ve found our regular selection of five excellent and/or noteworthy records streaming for free across the vast echoing expanses of the internet. This week, we’re particularly excited about Lee Ranaldo’s new record, along with Vince Clarke and Martin Gore’s first collaboration in 30 years. There’s also new records from the Decemberists, Lucero, and, um, the Ting Tings. Click through and get listening. … Read More

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Literary Mixtape: Harriet the Spy

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: the eponymous character from Louise Fitzhugh’s ’60s classic, Harriet the Spy. … Read More

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Literary Mixtape: Scheherazade from 'Arabian Nights'

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin, or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: Scheherazade, the Persian queen of a thousand stories. … Read More

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Literary Mixtape: Lady Macbeth

If you’ve ever wondered what your favorite literary characters might be listening to while they save the world/contemplate existence/get into trouble, or hallucinated a soundtrack to go along with your favorite novels, well, us too. But wonder no more! Here, we sneak a look at the hypothetical iPods of some of literature’s most interesting characters. What would be on the personal playlists of Holden Caulfield or Elizabeth Bennett, Huck Finn or Harry Potter, Tintin or Humbert Humbert? Something revealing, we bet. Or at least something danceable. Read on for a cozy reading soundtrack, character study, or yet another way to emulate your favorite literary hero. This week: the woman pulling the strings — but dirtying her hands — Lady Macbeth. … Read More

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Watch a Decemberists Video Inspired by ‘Infinite Jest’

The Decemberists have made their reputation on being indie rock’s most literary band, so we’re hardly surprised that they’ve made a music video inspired by David Foster Wallace. In an interview with NPR, Colin Meloy explained that he wrote The King Is Dead‘s “Calamity Song” after finishing Infinite Jest and realized that Wallace’s singular style of humor had impacted his own writing. With that in mind, Meloy said, “I had this funny idea that a good video for the song would be a re-creation of the Enfield Tennis Academy’s round of Eschaton — basically, a global thermonuclear crisis re-created on a tennis court — that’s played about a third of the way into the book.” That is exactly what happens in the excellent video below, directed by Parks and Recreation co-creator Michael Schur, who was delighted to participate in the project, telling NPR, “The Decemberists are my favorite band, and Infinite Jest is my favorite book.” … Read More

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