What kind of music do The Decemberists and Of Montreal play?

I listened to both of these bands a lot last year since they were part of the wave of indie rock that was hitting the hipster community that I was marginally a part of (and that my roomate was hugely a part of and so played them all the time.) I wouldn’t say I’m a huge fan of these bands, but I like some of their music, but there is definitely something about them that’s kind of weird. I can’t really say what it is. That’s why I’m asking you to help me define it. I realize that The Decemberists and Of Montreal have different styles but they both sort of share the same quirky, light-hearted, intellectual thing.

he Decemberists have this obsession with history and with a certain part of history in particular, the Victorian and Edwardian periods - and Of Montreal has this very gay thing going on, which is also hard to describe but all I can say is that I don’t know many straight boys who are big fans of Of Montreal. There is something about them that’s just kind of musical-theater ish. Whimsical? Maybe that’s the word. I don’t know.

Does anyone else get this vibe from these bands? How would you describe them?

I’d merely call them both “indie rock” bands - neither is doing anything so radical as to be considered even a part of a specific subgenre.

When it comes to Of Montreal, it depends on what era of the band’s career you’re talking about, as they’ve been around for over ten years now. They started out doing a very typical “British Invasion” thing (Kinks, Beatles, Zombies) during the “Cherry Peel” era, then moved on to a more kitschy “baroque pop” sensibility during the era of albums like “The Gay Parade” and “Coquelicot…” where they explored more cabaret/vadevillian sounds and arrangements. More recently, they’ve turned into a very generic “indie pop” band, flirting with joke-electro on their most recent album.

Also, I’m pretty sure that they’re not a “gay” band, despite their twee leanings; last I heard, all or at least most of the members of the band were in heterosexual relationships.

As for the Decemberists, it’s pretty typical indie rock, merely with more anachronistic subject matter.

The melodramatic romanticism of The Decemberists reminds me of The Smiths. They have some similarities. There’s some differences too, but I tend to think of them as kind of following in a similar vein.

I haven’t heard Of Montreal, but I kind of understand what you’re talking about. Other modern bands I mentally group them in with are The New Pornographers, Belle and Sebastian, and The Shins. They have that intelligent light-heartedness that you describe. Maybe Neutral Milk Hotel too, but they’re not as recent.

My second paragraph isn’t worded well. The bands I list are compared to The Decemberists, not Of Montreal.

I think of them all together as well, but just as modern indie-rock. New Pornographers are more power pop (our own WordMan is quite an expert on this subgenre), but I think Belle and Sebastian and the Decemberists follow in the Smiths’ melodramatic, moody footsteps. I’m not familiar with Of Montreal either, though.

I think of The New Pornographers as being in the same vein as Fountains of Wayne - power pop. Good stuff.

I love the Decemberists, but they are much harder to nail down into a genre. Part folk rock, part power pop on some songs, but they have their own unique slant that doesn’t easily fit into a category.

I would agree except for the Decemberists are heads and shoulders musically above the vast majority of indie bands. Their arrangements are far more complex.

Well, I guess it depends on the breadth of your listening habits, but let’s not divert the conversation. :wink:

I saw the Decemberists live and they rocked hard. It was an amazing show and I was tremendously impressed by their musicianship and by their showmanship. I don’t listen to a lot of their music, but if I had a chance to see them live again, I’d do it in a hot second. They gave a kick ass performance.

So you’re saying the “vast majority” of indie bands are just fablous at everything?

I would classify them as “indie pop.”

No, just that the Decemberists’ arrangements are not particularly more complex than the “vast majority” of other independent artists.

Thanks, BBVLou - I enjoy the Decemberists, I just happen to agree with the posters who classify them as Indie Pop. They write interesting, wordy songs with an almost academic bent - but I wouldn’t classify them as pure pop songwriting craftsmen like Fountains of Wayne - who wouldn’t know how to write a bad pop song if you promised them commercial success. Schlesinger and Collingwood are the equivalent of Smokie Robinson or Holland/Dozier/Holland or Goffin/King - songwriting geniuses.

You guys should head over to that thread about the “Biggest Rock Band in the World” - I am bumping my head up against trying to: a) assert criteria for what should qualify a band as “the Biggest Rock Band;” and b) trying to assert that there are plenty of bands out there writing great stuff - it’s just that it is much hard to isolate a single channel to heard where good music is coming from - unless you like American Idol - ugh…

Both are pretty much “indie pop”, mostly because both are hard to classify. (I find that most of the bands I really like are pretty hard to pin into a genre.)

I tend to think of the Elephant 6 bands and others that sound like them as a sub-genre. Of Montreal was part of the collective, many of which share their taste for neo-psychedelia and retro instruments.

I find that statement laughable. Ridiculously laughable. If you had said "I think that there are alot of indie bands with equally or more complex arrangements.’ I could give you that, opinion and all…but vast majority?- That’s ridciulous. OR you only count maybe a few dozen bands as independent artists.