Apr 192011

Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.

Over the past decade, Portland quintet the Decemberists have gone from indie darlings to indie darlings with a number-one album. This year’s The King is Dead took the band to new levels of commercial success, shining some national attention on a band whose name was once known only to the chamber pop-obsessed and English majors. It may not be too unfounded to compare this band’s story to that of R.E.M.’s in the ‘80s; in fact, given the unabashed fandom they display on The King is Dead, that’s a comparison they’d probably happily invite.

The collection of covers crooned by the Decemberists mostly betrays their too-cool-for-school nature. They seem to have hit all the requisites that prove you listened to hip music in the ’80s – the Velvet Underground, the Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen, etc. However, there’s a few genuine surprises here. Embarrassing reading of the Outfield‘s “Your Love” notwithstanding, there’s some real pleasure to be had in the band’s delight at ripping into Heart‘s “Crazy on You,” or in their surprisingly earnest rendition of Bad Company‘s “Feel Like Making Love.” Band leader Colin Meloy also turns in an intimate, slowed-down version of Cheap Trick‘s “Summer Girls” to great effect. Even the band’s usual bombast makes itself known in the 16-minute epic of Pink Floyd‘s “Echoes.”

Check out the collection of Decemberists live covers we’ve assembled below. You can download them either individually or in one big zip file! We’ve put asterisks (*) next to our favorites. After that, tell us: what’s your favorite Decemberists cover? Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below!

Live Collection: The Decemberists

Ask (The Smiths cover)
The Ballad of El Goodo (Big Star cover)
Blues Run the Game (Jackson C. Frank cover)
Bridges and Balloons (Joanna Newsom cover)
Bring on the Dancing Horses (Echo & the Bunnymen cover)
Chinese Bones (Robyn Hitchcock cover)
Clementine (Elliott Smith cover)
Crazy on You (Heart cover) *
Cupid (Sam Cooke cover) [Removed per request]
Cuyahoga (R.E.M. cover) *
Echoes (Pink Floyd cover) *
Every Day Is Like Sunday (Morrissey cover)
Feel Like Making Love (Bad Company cover) *
Go Your Own Way (Fleetwood Mac cover) (with Death Cab for Cutie) *
I Feel Beautiful (Robyn Hitchcock cover)
I Saw Nick Drake (Robyn Hitchcock cover)
I’ll Come Running (Brian Eno cover)
I’m Sticking with You (The Velvet Underground cover)
If I Could Only Win Your Love (The Louvin Brothers cover)
It Sounds Great When You’re Dead (Robyn Hitchcock cover)
King of Carrot Flowers, Part 1 (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)
Let’s Go (The Feelies cover)
Messages of Dark (Robyn Hitchcock cover)
Mr. Blue Sky (ELO cover) *
Nighttime (Big Star cover) *
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (The Band cover)
Nobody Home (Pink Floyd cover)
Pablo Picasso (Jonathan Richman cover)
The Sickbed of Cuchuliann (The Pogues cover)
Sickness (Donner Party cover)
Southern Girls (Cheap Trick cover) *
Tam Lin (Fairport Convention cover)
Think About Me (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Tonight (The Soft Boys cover)
Uncorrected Personality Traits (Robyn Hitchcock)
Up the Junction (Squeeze cover)
The Weight (The Band cover) (with Mavis Staples)
What Goes On (Velvet Underground cover)
Wooden Ships (Crosby, Stills and Nash cover) *
Wuthering Heights (Kate Bush cover) *
Your Love (The Outfield cover)


Check out more from the Decemberists at their official website!

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  4 Responses to “Live Collection: The Decemberists”

Comments (4)
  1. There’s something about the Outfield cover that I enjoy. It’s not a good cover of the song by any stretch, but I think it’s evocative of the half-drunk in a bar, listening to some local 80s cover band feeling that you get when you hear ‘Your Love’ or ‘Take Me Home Tonight’ or whatever. It’s a bad version of the song, but it has the energy right.

  2. Jeff, you’ve got that right. I think it’s the kind of cover where if I was there live I’d quite enjoy it. Hearing it at home, though, and in sequence with a bunch of really solid covers, doesn’t quite convey the same fun to me.

  3. Ask cover is most amazing and unusual… thanks for sharing

  4. howdy, just discovered this website and I was wondering if you still had all of these links on hand. I would really (and I mean really) love to hear Meloy’s cover of Pink Floyd’s “Nobody Home”.

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