Decemberists listening party at Philz Coffee in San Francisco gives fans chance to unite and converse using words like “parapet”

The Decemberists
OMG, you guys, from this photo I can tell that Colin Melloy has THE EXACT SAME BOUZOUKI that I do!!! (by Autumn de Wilde via EMI)

Anyone who knows me knows I am counting down the minutes to Tuesday, which is when The Decemberists will officially release The King is Dead, the Portland band’s sixth studio album. I’ve already listened to the streaming preview that NPR has been offering this week, and I told one friend that her reaction (“Holy Sh** the New Decemberists album is great”) needed to be upgraded to “Holy Effing Sh**!”

As promised, the album drops some of the monumental, conceptual narratives and prog-rock that defined the band’s last few efforts and gets down to some Americana roots, with lots of harmonica, acoustic guitar, pedal steel and three-part harmonies. Colin Meloy is back to writing short, poppy folk songs. They’re not as cheeky as some of The Decemberists’ early stuff, but they still demonstrate plenty of grandiloquent phraseology, e.g. “This bulkhead’s built of fallen bretheren bones.”

I already have tickets for the band’s show on Valentine’s Day at the Fox Theater (where, I was excited to learn, they’ll be joined by Sara Watkins of Nickel Creek fame) but I don’t have to wait until then to surround myself with a bunch of Decemberists nerds. The band is sponsoring a number of listening parties across the country in advance of the album’s release, and the final one is in San Francisco:

(It’s a little unclear from the press release, but Facebook says the location is indeed the original Philz in the Mission District.)

In addition to being able to talk to other fans about the use of the word “gaberdine” in “Down By the Water,” you’ll have the chance to win limited-edition posters, the $165 Deluxe Box Edition and other nifty swag, I’m sure.

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