Black Prairie

If you've ever wondered what the Decemberists would sound like without Colin Meloy - if all the nasally vocals and songs about pirates are just too much for you to handle - then you'll be surprised at the style and sound of Black Prairie. The band boasts three Decemberists¬óJenny Conlee, Nate Query,and Chris Funk¬óand two other Portland musicians, but bears little resemblance to Meloy's lush ballads. Black Prairie's songs are primarily instrumental; they sound like an ambient country jug band with a fondness for slide guitar. There's no orchestral storytelling here - the few songs with vocals on Black Prairie's upcoming full length are old traditionals like "Red Rocking Chair." Conlee's vocals on that track are downright fantastic. She slurs her words in a sultry way, making lyrics like, "Ain't got no use for your red rocking chair/ Ain't got a baby now," sound sexy instead of sad. Black Prairie refuses to be condemned by their other band's sins. PAIGE RICHMOND

Sat., April 3, 9:30 p.m., 2010

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