Okkervil River, "Black" (YSI link)
Okkervil River, "A Stone" (YSI link)
Okkervil River, "The Next Four Months" (YSI link)
Mang, I know it's not really fashionable to go back to music that's like a few years and old, but fuck blog conventions. That's a rock'n'roll attitude, people. Anyway, one of the great things about the iPod is that it allows you the chance to sort of stumble onto an old favorite that you may not have heard for awhile, while you scroll through the lists, desperately trying not to make eye contact with the guy in the eye patch across from you on the L. This happened to me recently, as I returned to Okkervil River's Black Sheep Boy.
This album is seriously one of the best indie, rock, whatever you want to call it albums I've heard. Ever. Every song works, some of them are phenomenal, the lyrics are brilliant and open and angry and sad and loving and cold. The music covers a good amount of territory, from Springsteen rocker to shambling country-western ballad. The songs above are my favorites from the original LP ("Black", "A Stone") and the only song that didn't make it on to either the original LP or the appendix EP. "The Next Four Months" was only released on the deluxe edition that came out recently.
I really don't want to blab on about these songs or this album, as it will only lessen the brilliance. Give a listen to "A Stone," which is so beautiful and sad that it makes me want to cry. It's this shuffling country rock song, something early Wilco fans or Neil Young people would get behind. But for me, it's the lyrics that makes this one a masterpiece. Will Sheff, lead singer and the main man behind Okkervil River, has this perfect that completely conveys the frustration and sadness at losing his woman because he isn't perfect and emotionless, a stone. I hear that, brother. The last part is stunning: "
And I think I believe that, if stones could dream, they'd dream of being laid side-by-side, piece-by-piece, and turned into a castle for some towering queen they're unable to know./And when that queen's daughter came of age, I think she'd be lovely and stubborn and brave,/and suitors would journey from kingdoms away to make themselves known./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..."
Stop what you are doing and immediately buy this album. I cannot recommend it more highly, as I consider one of the best albums of the past 5 years. I will be listening to this album forever, I hope that others will too.