Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Okkervil River | Golden Opportunities

Without any hype or advanced notice, Okkervil River has dropped an album of cover songs on its fans. The bonus is that it's free and available for download from their website. There's also a link to download the zip file on a post on their message board if you have any problems with the other page.

I've only listened to Golden Opportunities a few times but my favorites are the covers of John Phillips' "April Anne" and Serge Gainsbourg's "I Came Hear To Say I'm Going Away". The latter was done for a French radio broadcast and came out really well despite being converted from French to English.

They also did an interview session with their fans surrounding the release of the album which is highly entertaining (go here and click on "News"). The interview starts with Will Sheff explaining why the album was handled in this manner which turns into his views on the current state of the music business. Then some fan pops up with the classic "Hey, I said hi to you once. Do you remember me?" question, to which the proper answer is "No. Next." However, Sheff spends five paragraphs explaining his feelings toward these interactions with fans.

After reading that painfully drawn-out answer to the fan's question, my eyes were rolling up into my head. However, my vision was saved by another fan who uncorked this humdinger of a question. I'm still giggling about it:

How does such a fucking fragile, tortured emo soul as yourself survive in a world that is oh so cold and cruel? Do you just cry yourself to sleep every night? How to you keep from just ending it all?

-Alan (via email)

I love Okkervil River and their sense of humor to post that question (and answer it) but I have to say that Alan perfectly sums up my lingering doubts about the band. They do tip the scales onto the "dramatic" side of life.

Regardless, a free album is a sweet gift for their fans.

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