Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
Wake And Be Fine
New Okkervil River is Very Far but almost here
Alexandra ValentiLast year, for my 35th birthday, I got a special gift in the form of The National releasing what would be probably my favourite record of last year in High Violet. Now Okkervil River, who have a habit of running neck and neck with The National in competition for the title of “my favourite band” – it’s a real thing – look like they’re trying to win my affections the same way by announcing a May 10 release date for their new record I Am Very Far.
They’d already announced the release of lead single “Mermaid” on 12″ come February 8, but the band took to the stage on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on Monday night to perform a different new song, “Wake And Be Fine”. And if not for Will Sheff’s distinctive vocals and presence, you might be forgiven for not recognizing them – besides the fact that New Pornographer Carl Newman and The Roots’ Questlove joined them for the occasion on vocals and drums respectively, Okkervil 2011 is a considerably different band from that which made The Stage Names and The Stand-Ins – Sheff remains, of course, as does multi-instrumentalist Scott Brackett and bassist Patrick Pestorius, but mainstays Jonathan Meiburg (keys), Brian Cassidy (guitar) and Travis Nelsen (drums) have all left the band in the past couple of years, replaced by Justin Sherburn, Lauren Gurgiolo and Cully Symington respectively. By no means is Okkervil a lesser band for the changes, but it is a different one and it will take a little adjusting to see them thusly, especially without the always-entertaining Nelson behind the kit.
But either way, the news of the imminent arrival of more Okkervil River was enough to make my day yesterday. Happy early birthday!
Okkervil labelmates The Cave Singers and Lia Ices both have new records coming out – No Witch on February 22 and Grown Unknown on January 25 respectively – and have plotted a Spring tour that stops in at the Drake Underground on April 5. Tickets $13.50 in advance.
Of Montreal may already be plotting the follow-up to last year’s False Priest – or so Kevin Barnes tells Spin – but they’re not done touring said record. They’ll be coming back to Toronto for the first time in two and a half years – yes it’s been that long – for a show at The Phoenix on May 3, tickets $28 on sale now.
Pitchfork reports that The Dodos have recruited one Neko Case to help them out on their new record No Color, due out March 14. Her vocals will grace about half of the album, which will be great, but I think it’d have been more great if they got her to play all kinds of instruments but not sing a note. Because that’s how my sense of humour works.
The rumour mill has it that The Strokes’ fourth album will be out on March 22. Which jives with what’s already known, but until there’s an official announcement, it’s just hearsay. Hearsay I’m willing to blog, clearly.
Colin Meloy tells Exclaim that The King Is Dead, the new Decemberists record due next week, could be their last for a while as they attend to other projects. So see them at The Sound Academy on February 1 while you can. There’s also and interview at The Sydney Morning Herald.
Beatroute talks to Sam Fogarino of Interpol, who have two Toronto visits on the books this year – a headlining date at the Sound Academy for February 15 and a support slot for U2 at the ACC on July 12.