Posts Tagged ‘Okkervil River’

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“In The Rainbow Rain” will be out 27th April via the fine folks at ATO. Okkervil’s last album, Away, was my favorite Okkervil River album release for awhile. Based on this track, Sheff seems to have maintained the momentum.

Here’s some info on the album.

Will Sheff and the band started work on the new album shortly after the end of that tour – and the presidential election. “If December 2016 was good for anything, it was good for writing songs,” he says. Galvanized by the seismic events of that Fall and the following year, Sheff, sometimes co-writing with his new band, channeled his outrage and sadness into music intended to be hopeful, healing and uplifting. Inspired by the Quaker meetings he had been attending, Sheff injected the album with undercurrents of spirituality and gratitude. The result is something akin to a modern secular gospel record, and among the best music of his career.

Okkervil River “In The Rainbow Rain” out April 27th!

Okkervil River is the folk rock band led by Will Sheff. The cult band is a favourite amongst their peers as much as their own fans. The band from Austin, Texas, take their name from a short story by contemporary Russian author Tatyana Tolstaya. The band formed in 1998 and quickly released the EP Bedroom followed by the seven track EP Stars Too Small To Use the next year.

The band have released a total of seven studio albums including Don’t Fall In Love With Everyone You See (2002), Down The River Of Golden Dreams (2003), Black Sheep Boy (2005), The Stage Names (2007), The Stands Ins (2008), I Am Very Far  their latest album The Silver Gymnasium (2013).

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2016 was the year that I suddenly felt much older than I often assume myself to be . Thankfully, such fears found a soundtrack in the beautiful new album from Okkervil River, and one that stands as Will Sheff’s best collection of songs for at least a decade or, perhaps, ever.

Happening almost by accident, after Sheff had taken himself away from the humdrum of daily life, to reflect both on the changing shape of his band, as well as the passing of his Grandfather, ‘Away’ feels markedly significant from the outset; clutching at memories from his own life, while shaping his worries and consternations about death and ageing, and the living we all have to do in-between, in to a narrative that flips between both something embracing and complex, with unbridled will. Rousing, delicate, beautiful, and haunted, ‘Away’ carries all the drama that we’ve come to know and love throughout Okkervil River’s lifetime and adorns it with a striking sense of humanity; like pumping warm blood into limbs we were just thinking might well hang cold for the rest of our days. It turns out, however, that there’s life in them yet.

Photo credit: The Horse With No Name

Will Sheff has been fronting Okkervil River for almost twenty years and fighting off an encroaching cynicism maybe even longer. One of the most sobering songwriters around, and one given to fantastical tangents and literary asides, he ponders the legacy he’ll leave behind, never quite bitter but fatalistic as he ponders the sad fates of the Force MDs and Judee Sill. When he admits, “It was a big waste,” he might be referring to their sad lives or to the energy he has spent digging into their music.

From Okkervil River’s new studio album “Away”

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The last few years have been a difficult period, personally and professionally, for Okkervil River frontman, Will Sheff. He lost music industry contacts and band members, and went through the painful experience of watching his grandfather, a man he describes as his idol, die in a hospice. As is so often the case, from these difficult times, he found new inspiration, and ultimately constructed his latest album, Away, which features collaborations with Marissa Nadler and composer Nathan Thatcher, before being mixed in Los Angeles with Jonathan Wilson.

This week Okkervil River, essentially now a solo project, shared the first track from their upcoming album, entitled chillingly, Okkervil River R.I.P. Described by Will as an “emotional transcription” of this difficult period in his life, the single is a masterpiece. It beings as his emotive vocal croaks over a gently picked acoustic guitar, and from there the whole thing slowly builds; a bass pulses, a piano rolls in with a hauntingly beautiful motif, drums click into gear, an a distant organ buzzes. Lyrically it’s heartbreaking, as Will recalls his grandfather’s final days, “you’ve got a big day coming, a big day coming now.” We won’t hear Away in its entirety until September but it promises to be very special, as Will puts it, “it’s not really an Okkervil River album and it’s also my favourite Okkervil River album.” Will Sheff or Okkervil River, whatever you call it, we can’t wait to hear it.

Away is out September 9th via ATO Records. Okkervil River tour the UK in October,

I guess this isn’t really a ‘new release’, because it’s actually ten years old. BUT, this special 10 year anniversary edition is new, and I want to take this opportunity to introduce this pivotal album to anyone who may have missed it the first time round.

I was lucky enough to hear Black Sheep Boy when it first came out ten years ago. It was a defining album for me, and I would mention it to everyone. Not just in the literal sense of my iPod, It shaped my understanding of emotional music, and of the heights that could be achieved by expressing your despair through music. Also, it is home to one of the best songs ever penned, ‘A Stone.’ In it you will hear the words, “And I think that I know the bitter dismay of a lover who brought fresh bouquets every day, when she turned him away, to remember some knave who once gave just one rose, one day, years ago.” And then you will die, because your ear will have become too beautiful for this world.