Yesterday, I got one of those makes-your-heart-skip-with-joy press releases: a new And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead album, Century of Self, comes out in just over a month! They're independent again! MTV News says they've "amped up the guitars!" And they're coming! To Portland!
Well, you can't have it all. (You apparently can't have anything, if you're me: Mates of State are passing us by again, too. What gives?)
But you can also have The Decemberists. Not in live form â€” at least not yet â€” but in new album form: The Hazards of Love comes out March 24 (which the rest of the world told you about last month, but hey, I just got a freaking press release; cut me some slack!). They're still not independent indie rock, but whatever; I know no one cares (my own noting of this small detail is just a holdover from college, when working on a strictly independent music fest rendered me incapable of not noting when indie means independent and when it means, er, indie). Apparently, The Decemberists have created one of those records you're supposed to listen to all the way through numerous times so that you may properly understand and appreciate its story, which is described thusly:
The Hazards Of Love tells the tale of a woman named Margaret who is ravaged by a shape-shifting animal; her lover, William; a forest queen; and a cold-blooded, lascivious rake, who recounts with spine-tingling ease how he came â€œto be living so easy and freeâ€ in the aforementioned â€œThe Rakeâ€™s Song.â€
"The Rake's Song," you ask? What's that? It's the one tune available for download at thedecemberists.com. You have to sign up for the major-label-run mailing list to get it, though. So, y'know, tell me how it is. I get enough mail already. (This doesn't mean I don't love The Decemberists. Any band that uses copious footnotes on its website is probably all right by me.)
Should these two established somewhat-indie (or not at all) rock acts not be to your taste, the next few months will also bring (among many other things):
â€¢ Changing Horses from Ben Kweller (who lets me down a little bit more with each record, much as I hate to say it and hope this one proves me wrong);
â€¢ Grrr... from Bishop Allen, a band whose records I continually intend and yet fail to pick up;
â€¢ at some point, a new Wilco record, supposedly;
â€¢ Dear John from nice Swedes Loney, Dear;
â€¢ Lily Allen's It's Not Me, It's You;
â€¢ Hold Time from beloved Portlander M. Ward;
â€¢ and the oh-so-exciting Middle Cyclone from Neko Case, whose label, Anti-, is running a nifty thing wherein each time a blog posts a link to download the first single, "People Got a Lotta Nerve," Case and Anti- donate five bucks to the Best Friends Animal Society, an animal rescue organization. You know you want to hear it.