Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Going with the flow of Okkervil River

There's a funny phenomenon that bubbles up every once and a while. I completely ignore a band for a while, and then for some reason or another I hear one of their songs or albums. And then, boom: they're not only back on my radar, but they start popping up in news stories or making announcements. Perhaps it's the result of heightened senses, but it's not an uncommon occurrence.

For instance: A few weeks ago, a couple of friends of mine had a wedding. At the rehearsal dinner, the groom-to-be was playing "A Girl In Port" by Okkervil River, which happens to be my favorite OR song (and our 10th favorite song from 2007.) It was kind of nice to hear, since I can't remember the last time I heard any Okkervil River song. We chatted about the song and what a great album The Stage Names is (which was named our 21st-best record of 2007, and since that time has certainly gained ground on some of those ahead of it.)

Cut to a week later. I'm standing in front of my CD tower (I still own a CD tower) and deliberated over what album to pull for my morning commute. And there I saw The Stage Names, luminescent, spotlit by some angelic Maglite. I spent the next few commutes listening to the album. I was reminded of when and where I found it: Manifest Music...Columbia, SC...$7 in the used bin, no less than a week after its release. What a coup!

While the progression of events you've just read is nice, it certainly isn't that coincidental. But here's the kicker: Just a few days ago, Okkervil played Fallon and announced a new record; their first since 2008's The Stand-Ins (a patchy addendum to The Stage Names.) The album, due in May, is called I Am Very Far. (Might it be an entrant in the 2nd Indie Music MAYhem? Will there even be a second Indie Music MAYhem? We'll have to see how the release schedule stacks up.)


Check out OR (with houseband the Roots) playing "Wake and Be Fine," a manic waltz that puts Will Sheff's scratchy wails on full display:


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