Thursday, August 09, 2007

Okkervil River :: The Stage Names

One of my favorite bands is Austin's own Okkervil River. Their new album just came out on Monday, and it has officially bumped the new Wilco album out of the first slot of the CD changer in the Stay Classy wagon. Will Sheff, the uber-talented front man of Okkervil River has a very interesting narrative style of writing lyrics. The songs are all about specific situations, they are not really the kind of songs that are left to your interpretation. They are kind of similar to The Decemberists in that aspect, but Okkervil's music is darker and the stories are more intimate - plus Will's voice is soaked in emotion and has a kind of haunting quality to it.
I am really surpised they haven't yet been shuttled into the spotlight amongst the ranks of The Shins, Wilco, etc. Some of my personal favorite moments on this album are "Unless It Kicks" - which kind of has a jivy Strokes-esque quality to it, and also "John Allyn Smith Sails", which my buddy Shaner pointed out to me earlier today - which starts off a soft finger-picking acoustic kind of pop song and eventually morphs into a pretty awesome cover of a Beach Boys standard, really interesting.
As well as being an incredibly talented musician, Will Sheff is also an amazing artist. A while ago I came across his flickr account and his work is really interesting and disturbingly beautiful. You can check out his work here: Will Sheff's art.
Here are some of my favorites, he does a lot of work on scratchboards which is a very difficult medium to work in. His work inspired my to start painting on scratchboards myself, although I am still trying to ge the hang of it.
This one is mixed media and it was used as the cover to their most recent EP.Here are a couple of his scratchboards -
Will also did the cross-stitch cover of the album above, super talented person. I don't know where the finds the time to do so much art.
Here is a sample off the new album. You'll love it, available on itunes.
Okkervil River :: Unless It Kicks


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