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Beat Jab: Decemberists, WTTS Collector's Edition



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

The Decemberists
We All Raise Our Voices to the Air
★ ★ ★ ★

The Decemberists - SUBMITTED PHOTO.

I went to my first concert when I was about ten years old; yes, with my parents. It was The Grateful Dead (with Jerry), and Sting opened. I’m not even kidding. After that, I was sort of hooked. When I was in high school, I spent almost all the money that I could save on concert tickets. I’ve always liked the feeling of being overwhelmed with the sound. So, naturally, this dual album of songs recorded at various concert venues from April to August 2011, makes sense to me. Some of the favorites are sped up or made goofier or extended; we get the audience reaction, the stage banter—a whole season of experience from a whole career of music. “Rise to Me” is a slowed-down version with a lot more twang than the original. “The Crane Wife 1, 2 and 3” is an epic 16 minutes. If you’re not already a Decemberists fan, this certainly seems excessive, but the songs really are different enough that it’s quite a collection. And the personality comes through: you’ll feel like you get to know Colin Meloy: he’s funny. This is his life. And this album is like strolling along with him for a few months.

WTTS Collector's Edition - SUBMITTED PHOTO.

WTTS Collector’s Edition, Volume 17
★ ★ ★ ½

With spring weather comes the reminder that summer concerts are not so far off. Thank goodness. Not all of these tracks are from summer concerts, but many of them are: there’s just something about the venues in Indianapolis that make for great summer shows. These tracks were recorded in the Sun King Studio 92, The Lawn at the White River, Creation Café, and The Vogue. If you haven’t been out to many concerts lately, here’s proof of what you’re missing. Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs’ “For The Summer,” makes me want to be on the Lawn at the White River right now. Same with My Morning Jacket’s “One Big Holiday.” If you have been to a lot of shows, (like me), you’ll be nodding along, thinking, “Oh yeah…that was a great show.” Other highlights include Iron & Wine’s “Tree by the River,” which was recorded in the Sun King Studio, but brings back memories of their show at The Vogue; and Foster the People’s extended verion of “Pumped Up Kicks” from their show at The Vogue. Their show was full of energy, and this track totally reflects it. Get out to see some shows, Indianapolis—nod along to this album.

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