While everyone waits for the new Decemberists record to leak, former tour partner (and superior band – oh snap) Okkervil River has a tour-only EP out. Like all of their recent material, it’s awesome. If you’re not a fan of Okkervil, well, you should chat up Hank May and he can probably tell you everything you need to know.
But in a nutshell, the band plays rustic guitar folk with a little rock ‘n’ roll for good measure – think Highway 61 Revisited-era Bob Dylan meets John Wesley Harding-era Bob Dylan, with the vocal gravitas of a Leonard Cohen. Will Sheff has a droopy-eared voice that always lends his narratives the proper balance of sincerity and humor, and his writing is perhaps the best in indie rock. Bright Eyes could sure stand to learn a thing or two about storytelling from these guys, or at least learn to name check Joni Mitchell (as Sheff does on the EP’s “Love To A Monster”).
You can pick this EP up on the band’s fall tour. I’ve seen them play twice and they do not disappoint.
(Buy records and hear more tracks at Jagjaguwar Records)