The Decemberists Share “Burial Ground,” Their First New Single in 6 Years

For a band with such a flair for the baroque, The Decemberists’ “Burial Ground” is surprisingly straightforward | Courtesy of the artist

Early-aughts indie rock came roaring back this week with the release of “Burial Ground,” the first new song from The Decemberists in the better part of a decade, featuring The Shins frontman James Mercer.

For a band with such a flair for the baroque, The Decemberists’ “Burial Ground” is surprisingly straightforward, a warm, winking guitar-pop song that scans like a statement of renewed purpose. “This world’s all wrong / So let’s go where we belong / Pack up the stereo, meet at the burial ground,” vocalist Colin Meloy sings over jangly guitar strums and tambourine, as if resolving to find peace amid life’s light and darkness alike.

Meloy’s voice is later joined by celebratory horns and Mercer’s own, both of which enhance the song’s sense of communal joy, like the band is delighting in both the songs we sing and those we sing them with. And as if aboard the merry-go-round Meloy mentions, The Decemberists dedicate the track’s third act to looping its hyper-catchy chorus, reveling in its melodious simplicity and the new life music can lend even to a land of the lost.

“‘Burial Ground’ is in that time-honored pop song tradition, a paean to hanging out in graveyards,” Meloy said in a statement. “The melody hook came to me in a dream and I hummed it into my phone on waking. Most dream-songs are bad; this was the exception.”

There’s no word yet on a larger body of work inbound from the band, but in the meantime, they’ll be touring North America this spring and summer, starting on April 30 in Kingston, New York, and wrapping up on the opposite coast in August, with a closing hometown show in Troutdale, Oregon, on Aug. 3. Tickets go on sale to the public Friday, Feb. 9, at 10 a.m. local time.

Find the band’s complete tour itinerary below the playlist. You can stream “Burial Ground” here.

You can hear new music from The Decemberists on The Independent 89.9 HD4, our music-discovery station. For a primer on the latest songs added to rotation, dig into Fresh Squeeze playlists below.

The Decemberists Tour Dates:

April 30: Kingston, NY- Ulster Performing Arts Center

May 2: Boston, MA – Roadrunner

May 3: Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Paramount Theatre

May 6: Toronto, ON – Exhibition Place – Queen Elizabeth Theatre

May 7: Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE

May 8: Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore Philadelphia

May 10: Washington DC – The Anthem

May 11: Durham, NC – Durham Performing Arts Center

May 12: Atlanta, GA – The Eastern 

May 14: Dallas, TX – Majestic Theater

May 15: Austin, TX – Bass Concert Hall

May 17: St Louis, MO – The Pageant

May 18: Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theater

May 19: St Paul, MN – Palace Theatre 

May 21: Chicago, IL – Salt Shed

May 22: Detroit, MI – Royal Oak Music Theater

May 24: Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium

July 12: Bend, OR – Hayden Homes Amphitheater^

July 13: Oakland, CA – Fox Theater

July 15: Los Angeles, CA – The Bellwether

July 18: San Diego, CA – Humphreys

July 19: Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater

July 20: Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren

July 22: Santa Fe, NM – The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing

July 23: Denver, CO – The Mission Ballroom

July 24: Sandy, UT – Sandy Amphitheater

July 26: Missoula, MT – Kettlehouse Amphitheater

July 27: Spokane, WA – Spokane Pavilion

July 29: Vancouver, BC – Queen Elizabeth Theatre

August 3: Troutdale, OR – McMenamins Edgefield*

– co-bill w/ The Head And The Heart^

-w/ Special Guest Ratboys unless noted with a “*”

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