“Once I died in a dream, and the world without me went fine.” Out of an album replete with melancholy moments, this one is…Read More
Formed in 1998 in Austin, TX, Okkervil River find the middle ground between indie rock and folk-rock, placing slightly more emphasis on the former. Vocalist Will Robison Sheff and drummer Seth Warren first rubbed shoulders as high-school students in Meriden, NH, a town they eventually left to attend different colleges. The two reconvened several years later in Austin, where they put together Okkervil River with the help of bassist Zachary Thomas. The group recorded several EPs as a trio, including 2000’s Stars Too Small to Use, before crossing paths with multi-instrumentalist Jonathan Meiburg at a local bar. Meiburg soon joined the band, and Okkervil River made their first big splash at the SXSW festival in March 2000.
Producer Brian Beattie caught the band’s SXSW showcase and agreed to helm Okkervil River’s debut album, Don’t Fall in Love with Everyone You See. Warren relocated to California during the recording sessions and was replaced by drummer Mark Pedini; meanwhile, the band inked a record contract with Jagjaguwar, which released the completed Don’t Fall in Love in January 2002. A second release, Down the River of Golden Dreams, followed one year later. Pedini had left the band by early 2003, however, thus leaving his former bandmates without a drummer as they prepared to return to SXSW. Travis Nelson climbed aboard as a temporary replacement and soon joined the permanent lineup, as did lap steel guitarist Howard Draper.
Stage Names climbed to number 62 on the Billboard charts, Okkervil River’s highest peak to date. Three months after its release, pianist Justin Sherburn joined the band. Lineup changes continued into 2008, as Cassidy left and was replaced by the Wrens’ Charlie Bissell, who toured throughout the summer before giving up his spot to guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo. With their newest lineup intact, Okkervil River returned that fall with the band’s fifth album, The Stand Ins. TV performances and various tour dates followed, as did the opportunity to serve as Roky Erickson’s backing band on True Love Cast Out All Evil. Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff produced the critically acclaimed album, a role he reprised on his own band’s 2011 release, I Am Very Far.
Sheff conceived the album as a tribute to the spirit of pre-adolescence, meant to evoke the nostalgic feeling of, in his words “an action figure you found in the woods.” The map is designed to look like one drawn from a child’s visionRead More