Friday music blogging: Okkervil River
I was originally going to fly to D.C. on Sun. June 10, but I moved it back a day when I found out Okkervil River is playing Seattle that night. Okkervil is a bit of a strange case — they’re one of my favorite bands of the last few years, maybe ever, but I’m leery about recommending them to people. They are … an acquired taste. There’s what you might call retail music — stuff that’s immediately appealing to a wide audience, right off the shelf. Mark Ronson is like that, as is most pop music. Then there’s what you might call thrift store music — one-of-a-kind, idiosyncratic, oddly shaped, a little ungainly, hard to get a grip on … but once you find a thrift store band that fits you, it’s a lifelong treasure.
Okkervil River is like that for me — a thrift store find. It took me a while to wrap my head around their stuff. It took seeing them live (unbelievably powerful live performance, btw). But then something clicked, and I’ve been listening to them obsessively ever since, getting to know every odd time signature, non-repeating chorus, dense, dark lyric, and wailing vocal by heart. If you have some patience, they can become your treasure too, and our shared secret.
Anyway, this song is actually fairly accessible and poppy for them, probably because it’s a cover. “O, Dana” is off their newish EP, Overboard & Down. It’s a cover of a song by legendary power pop band Big Star, from the 1978 album Third/Sister Lovers.
Friday Music Blogging Bonus: Here’s the original Big Star version: