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The New Decemberists Concept Album Starts Here

John Waters's Loser Gift Basket (2006).

The first of four title tracks off the Decemberists' forthcoming The Hazards of Love may not feature the thundering, seventies-style metal that you'll hear on other parts of the album when it comes out in about a month, but it does showcase the band's velvety folk tendencies and Colin Meloy’s ominous, puppet-show-narrator voice. It also helps establish the disc's loose narrative, which concerns a lady named Margaret, her dude William, a "rake," and a forest queen. So start thinking that through — you'll need the head start.

Photo: Getty Images