Thursday, November 15, 2007

Okkervil River - The Stage Names Expanded
Okkervil River, "Plus Ones (demo)" (YSI link)

Okkervil River, "A Girl In Port (demo)" (YSI link)

Not sure if anyone guessed, but clearly I was alluding to Okkervil River when I referenced the only contemporary artist whose music has a similar impact on me. Recently, Jagjaguwar issued a limited edition version of this year's The Stage Names with a bonus disc, featuring the demos for all of the album's songs. What you get is Will Sheff on acoustic guitar singing the tracks from the album, stripped down and bare-bones. I normally find these sorts of kitchen sink approaches to an album overkill, as there's a reason that demos and outtakes didn't make it on an album. However, since I'm about as big a fan as Okkervil River has, I actually found these sketches wonderful, a chance to hear Sheff's lyrics and voice clearly and a further reminder of just how talented this dude is. This is probably more for fans, but I hope that everyone will give them a listen as I think they'll be surprised at how captivating Sheff can be with just a guitar and a microphone.

Honestly, this was really just a chance to mention The Stage Names again and implore you to buy this CD. End of year lists are coming up and this is one of the few that has come immediately to mind. This one gets my highest recommendation, read my earlier review if you'd like to see what I initially said and a more fleshed out take on the music.

P.S. Beware, the acid is going to melt your face off tomorrow. I'm not sure everyone's ready, but there's only one way to find out, right? It's aciiiiiiieeeeeeeeddddddd!

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