A Make It Pop! that featured a newly-pared down Ah Holly Fam'ly (unmic'd and unplugged), an increasingly complex and elegiac Musee Mecanique, and the coming out party for Portland's latest super-ish group in The Alialujah Choir (featuring Norfolk & Western's Adam Selzer, Weinland's Adam Shearer, Alia Farah, and with help from Rachel Blumberg), was capped nicely by a solo set from Decemberists frontman Colin Meloy, who unveiled a handful of new songs in the process.
Presumably from the batch of songs for the upcoming album on which the band is currently working (Meloy gushed recently about the guitar parts R.E.M.'s Peter Buck was laying down), the collection of three or four included a pair of twin hymns with the simple working titles "January Hymn" and "July Hymn." Clearly still in their early stages with some parts still to be determined, these solo renditions nevertheless give us a barebones idea of what we can expect from the next Decemberists offering.
In other Colin Meloy news, he just inked a three book deal with HarperCollins, to be illustrated by his wife, the artist Carson Ellis.
Finally, the new Decemberists cuts weren't the only surprises of the evening. PDX Pop Now! also lifted the curtain on the tracklist for their annual 2-disc compilation, out later this spring. The mix included stalwart names like Menomena, Blitzen Trapper and Laura Veirs, as well as love to hear more of them acts like Nucular Aminals, Death Songs and The Mean Jeans, and the usual mix of the unfamiliar and unrecognizable within which we can only hope lie our new favorite local bands. Look for the public unveiling of the track list early next week.