Watch The Decemberists Perform "The Hazards Of Love 4"

SXSW Music Festival

SXSW 2009: The Decemberists

Download Audio

The Decemberists in Concert at SXSW 2009 - 03/19/2009

Fans of the beloved Portland, Ore., rock group The Decemberists already know the band for its outsized ambition. Frontman Colin Meloy's blend of sweeping melodies and hyperliterate, deliberately anachronistic references won the group major indie-pop laurels — and, as of its last album, the attention of a major label. But The Decemberists' newest project promises new heights of bombast: Its new record, The Hazards of Love, is a sprawling 17-part narrative song-cycle.

The band premiered the music of Hazards in its entirety, and played music from the rest of its repertory, as part of NPR Music's official South by Southwest showcase.

The Hazards of Love tells the woodland melodrama of a character named Margaret — voiced by Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond and Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond, alternately — who encounters such obstacles as a lecherous villain, forest royalty and rapacious, shape-shifting fauna. As for the music itself, Meloy draws heavily from British folk, but also adds plenty of synthesizers and hard rock verging on heavy metal. Jim James of My Morning Jacket and Robyn Hitchcock also make guest appearances on the record.

Set to be released on March 24, The Hazards of Love is the band's fifth full-length release. The Decemberists' previous album, 2006's The Crane Wife, was named the top CD of 2006 by listeners of NPR's All Songs Considered. This Wednesday-night concert will also mark the third time the full band has performed a live webcast for NPR Music.

[+] read more[-] less

More From SXSW Music Festival

Shamir performed songs from his upcoming album, Ratchet, at NPR Music's SXSW showcase at Stubb's on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. /Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption /Adam Kissick for NPR

Front Row

Watch Shamir Perform 3 Songs From 'Ratchet'

Sporting a Yo Gabba Gabba shirt, Shamir clearly came to have a blast — and play songs from Ratchet.

Stromae proved to the audience at Stubb's in Austin why he's a major star just about everywhere but the U.S. Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Adam Kissick for NPR

SXSW Music Festival

Stromae, Live In Concert: SXSW 2015

Watch the international superstar perform for a legion of rhapsodic fans at our SXSW showcase.

Courtney Barnett performed songs from her new album, Sometimes I Think And Sit And Sometimes I Just Sit, at NPR Music's SXSW showcase on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. /Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption /Adam Kissick for NPR

SXSW Music Festival

Courtney Barnett, Live In Concert: SXSW 2015

The famously anxious Melbourne singer-songwriter is now a full-fledged rock 'n' roll star.

Compton rapper Boogie kicked off NPR Music's SXSW showcase at Stubb's on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. /Adam Kissick for NPR hide caption

itoggle caption /Adam Kissick for NPR

Front Row

Boogie, Live In Concert: SXSW 2015

The Compton rapper's set included personal songs performed in order of increasing intensity.

Back To Top