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Soundbite

Our critics' picks in new releases

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What better band for this month than with Portland, Oregon's The Decembrists? Lead singer Colin Meloy spins yarns that are off-kilter and weird, full of eccentric characters and puzzling wordplay, but the music is warm and alluring: Belle-and-Sebastian-like chanteys, ballads, and Beatleseque vaudeville hall rockers replete with breathy accordion, twelve-string guitar riffs, glockenspiel chimes, tambourine rustles, trumpet flourishes, and rickety barrelhouse piano.

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