The Decemberists are an American indie rock band from Portland, Oregon. The band consists of Colin Meloy (lead vocals, guitar, principal songwriter), Chris Funk (guitar, multi-instrumentalist), Jenny Conlee (piano, keyboards), Nate Query (bass), and John Moen (drums).
Their debut EP, 5 Songs, was self-released in 2001. Their eighth and latest full-length album I’ll Be Your Girl was released on March 16, 2018 by Capitol Records, and is the band’s fifth record with the label.
In addition to their lyrics, which often focus on historical incidents and/or folklore, The Decemberists are also well known for their eclectic live shows. Audience participation is a part of each performance, typically during encores. The band stages whimsical reenactments of sea battles and other centuries-old events, typically of regional interest, or acts out songs with members of the crowd.
In 2011, the track “Down By the Water” from the album The King Is Dead was nominated for Best Rock Song at the 54th Grammy Awards.
The group’s songs range from upbeat pop to instrumentally lush ballads, and often employ instruments like the accordion, keyboards, and upright bass. In its lyrics, the band eschews the 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. The band’s songs convey tales ranging from whimsical (“The Sporting Life”) to epic (“The Tain”) to dark (“Odalisque”, “The Rake’s Song”) to political (“16 Military Wives”, “Valerie Plame”), and often invoke historical events and themes from around the world (“Yankee Bayonet”, “Shankill Butchers”).
On January 17 2018, the band announced the new album I’ll Be Your Girl, released on March 16th. The album is produced by John Congleton and is accompanied by a tour.