Beat Jab: The Decemberists & Exitmusic

Cover art from Long Live the King.

Beat Jab offers reviews in prose poetry form from 2011 Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Emerging Author Award winner Micah Ling.

Long Live the King

The Decemberists


This is, perhaps, the very definition of EP; it’s exactly that—an extension of the ever-popular The King is Dead. The titles even mesh. And the EP is just as likable as the album that came out back in January. The six-track collection starts with a murder ballad—it’s reminiscent of Jack White—it’s old and new at once. “Row Jimmy” is a well-done Grateful Dead cover (is that ironic?). It feels like summer in some out-of-the-way bar, even when you know winter is coming. “I 4 U & U 4 Me” is why The Decemberists are loved—it’s nearly impossible not to just love the sound here—not to want to hear it over and over. “Sonnet” rounds this tight EP out. Traditionally, a sonnet is known to be a “little song:” it tells of some sort of problem and turns toward a solution. If those horns aren’t the solution to whatever sort of problem you may be in the middle of, well, keep reading sonnets—keep listening to this EP. Life has its ups and downs—it’s little struggles that are always littler than they seem. On Spotify, you can listen to Long Live the King and The King is Dead back to back. Do that.

From Silence


Secretly Canadian

The sound that this duo creates is absolute human nature. It’s what you hear in your own mind when you’re singing with the radio up loud. It’s rhythmic and trance-inducing the way Bon Iver and Radiohead are. Aleksa Palladino and Devon Church have the kind of voices that mesh so well you sometimes have a hard time telling them apart. These songs, when they end, make the silence echo and throb. They have a kind of pace that you just give into—not the way jam bands allow songs to take over and grow organically—these are much more polished and practiced than that. They have a pace that’s like observing the ocean at night—sometimes more intense than others, but generally impressive—and suddenly you’re back at the beginning, hearing it all again. So, it makes sense that the first and possibly most notable track on the EP is “The Sea.” And it makes sense that they cover “Space Oddity;” just enough weirdness (the good kind) to classify them with Bowie. This EP can be cycled through several times in one sitting—the kind of music that’s necessarily repetitive.


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