Friday, August 31, 2007

Okkervil River: The Stage Names, Independent Wednesday, Amoeba Thursday

Austin band Okkervil River have been making quite a stir with their latest release, The Stage Names. The album immediately drew me in on first listen: lead singer Will Sheff's voice is at once desperate and powerful, in some ways aping off of a late 70's Bowie(there are also shades of the Killers' Brandon Flowers, and The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, but then aren't they really aping from Bowie as well?). Scheff even lyric-checks Bowie's "TVC-15" in "Plus Ones": "your eyes dilated as light plays upon the sight of TVC16 as it sings you goodnight".

The overall sound is powerful and forthright, mixing solid acoustic-driven songwriting with experimental and dischordant electric guitar and keyboards. One of the most inviting parts of the record is that when you think the band is blindly pushing forward towards a traditional rock climax, everything dissolves into a cacophony. Now, don't get me wrong: these guys aren't pushing crazy, unexplored sonic boundries, but it's nice to see a rock band trascending what has become a sort of defacto-standard for the garage indie rock sound.

Now, you're thinking, "Great, I'll give the record a listen, but what does this all mean for me?". Well, you're in luck! This coming Wednesday Okkervil River are going to be at The Independent. Unfortunately for you, the tickets have already sold out, so you're going to have to do some hunting on craigslist to get into the show. Still, if this album is any indicator, the show promises to be completely killer, and worth the effort. In the meantime, go buy the record. See you there!

UPDATE: Okkervil will also be playing an acoustic set at Amoeba on Thursday @ 6PM!

mp3: Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks