Smile Politely

A Golden Opportunity Down By Okkervil River

Okkervil River fans in the Champaign-Urbana area: in case you didn’t already know, your new favorite eclectic rock n’ roll band not only recently stopped by at Daytrotter for a quick recording session (downloadable for free), but Will Sheff just put up on the Okkervil River website “a kind of album of covers.”

“Some of them were recorded on radio shows, some at live performances, some at people’s apartments, and one of them was recorded in the stairway at our hotel in Muenster while the maid was angrily banging things around. (…)These are all covers I worked up on the last tour whenever I had the occasion, with the eventual intention of putting them out somewhere for free. They all kind of have something to do with themselves and kind of to The Stage Names material” (quote from the band’s message board). So like Black Sheep Boy before it, The Stage Names is getting the Appendix treatment.

Hopefully this internet trend Will and the guys keep riding will continue and they will release some of those previously mentioned twenty two unreleased songs with a Basement Tapes feel.

From a quick first listen, not only are all of these songs in the spirit of The Stage Names, despite being a batch of covers, the album flows together with the consistency of previous works. It’s mostly an acoustic record with instrumentation kept more to a minimum than previously (like The Stage Name demos). I think one of the reasons for this could be that I have never heard original versions of any of these songs, so it’s almost like they’re Okkervil River songs, and Sheff has even weaved lines from the cover songs into various songs on The Stage Names (find them if you can), making Golden Opportunities a great addition to The Stage Names related releases, as well as an interesting creative endeavor in its own right.

Plus, Will Sheff is such a nice guy that he wants to hear back from the fans about what they think of the album. You, too, can ask Will a question that he might answer on an “interview” he will post this Friday. So go ahead and ask if he will ever run out of material to release. Will he ever get writer’s block? Go ahead and ask (at [email protected]).

And for the creative, you could even print out the high definition download of the CD cover and make a great holiday gift for someone.

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