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  • Castaways and Cutouts
    1. Leslie Anne Levine
    2. Here I Dreamt I Was an Architect
    3. July, July!
    4. A Cautionary Song
    5. Odalisque
    6. Cocoon
    7. Grace Cathedral Hill
    8. The Legionnaire's Lament
    9. Clementine
    10. California One / Youth and Beauty Brigade

    Castaways and Cutouts is the debut full-length album by The Decemberists, originally released May 21, 2002 on Hush Records and reissued May 6, 2003 on Kill Rock Stars. The album's title is taken from a line in the song "California One/Youth and Beauty Brigade". The album cover was made by Portland artist Carson Ellis, long-time girlfriend (and now wife) of Colin Meloy. She has created artwork for each of the band's albums. Read more on Last.fm.

  • The Crane Wife (2006)
    1. The Crane Wife 3
    2. Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)
    3. O Valencia!
    4. The Perfect Crime #2
    5. When the War Came
    6. Shankill Butchers
    7. Summersong
    8. The Crane Wife 1 & 2
    9. Sons & Daughters

    The Crane Wife is an album by The Decemberists, released in 2006. It was produced by Tucker Martine and Chris Walla, and is the band's first album on the Capitol Records label. The album was inspired by a Japanese folk tale, and centers on two song cycles, The Crane Wife and The Island, the latter of which was inspired by William Shakespeare's The Tempest. National Public Radio listeners voted The Crane Wife the best album of 2006.[1] The album cover was made by Portland artist Carson Ellis, long-time girlfriend (and now wife) of Colin Meloy, who has created artwork for each of their albums. The Crane Wife is an old Japanese tale. While there are many variations of the tale, a common version is that a poor man finds an injured crane on his doorstep (or outside with an arrow in it), takes it in and nurses it back to health. After he releases the crane, a woman appears at his doorstep with whom he falls in love and marries. Because they need money, his wife offers to weave wondrous clothes out of silk that they can sell at the market, but only if he agrees never to watch her making them. They begin to sell them and live a comfortable life, but he soon makes her weave them more and more. Oblivious to his wife's diminishing health, his greed increases. He eventually peeks in to see what she is doing to make the silk she weaves so desirable. He is shocked to discover that at the loom is a crane plucking feathers from her own body and weaving them into the loom. The crane, seeing him, flies away and never returns. Band leader Colin Meloy found a version of this story and decided to write music based on it. In a January 2007 interview given on the NPR show Fresh Air, Colin Meloy gave this synopsis of the story: "It's a story about a peasant in rural Japan who finds a wounded crane on an evening walk; there's an arrow in its wing. He revives the crane and the crane flies away. A couple days later, a mysterious woman shows up at his door and he takes her in. Eventually they fall in love and get married. But they're very poor, so she suggests that she start weaving this cloth which he can in turn sell at the market—the condition being that when she's weaving it, she has to do it behind closed doors and he can't look in. So this goes on for a while and they actually become kind of wealthy. But eventually, his curiosity gets the best of him and he looks in at her while she's weaving and it turns out that she's a crane and she's been pulling feathers from her wings and putting it into the cloth, which is what makes it so beautiful. But him having seen her breaks the spell, and she turns back into a crane and flies away. That's the end." Read more on Last.fm.

  • The Hazards of Love (2009)
    1. Prelude
    2. The Hazards of Love 1 (The Prettiest Whistles Won't Wrestle the Thistles Undone)
    3. A Bower Scene
    4. Won't Want for Love (Margaret in the Taiga)
    5. The Hazards of Love 2 (Wager All)
    6. The Queen's Approach
    7. Isn't It A Lovely Night?
    8. The Wanting Comes in Waves / Repaid
    9. An Interlude
    10. The Rake's Song
    11. The Abduction of Margaret
    12. The Queen's Rebuke / The Crossing
    13. Annan Water
    14. Margaret in Captivity
    15. The Hazards of Love 3 (Revenge!)
    16. The Wanting Comes in Waves (reprise)
    17. The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)

    The Hazards of Love, released March 24, 2009, is the fifth album by The Decemberists. The album was inspired by an Anne Briggs EP titled The Hazards of Love. According to the band, frontman Colin Meloy set out to write a song with the album's title—eventually leading to an album in itself. Becky Stark (of Lavender Diamond) and Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond) provide guest vocals throughout the album. The Hazards of Love centers around a love story, similar to the use of recurring stories in The Crane Wife: a woman named Margaret (voiced by Stark) falls in love with a shape-shifting forest dweller (voiced by Meloy). A jealous forest queen (voiced by Worden) and an ensemble of recurring characters bring conflict to the album's story arc. On January 15, 2009, "The Rake's Song" became available as a free download on their Myspace page. This was followed on February 16, 2009 by "The Hazards of Love 1," again on Myspace. On March 13, 2009, The Decemberists announced that the album would be released on iTunes on March 17, 2009. The album was released on iTunes Australia on March 14, 2009. On March 20, 2009, Entertainment Weekly began streaming the full album on imeem. This album debuted at #14 and sold 19,210 copies in its first week. Read more on Last.fm.