Histrionics Lesson

October 20, 2005... If you have followed the career of singer/songwriter Liz Phair at all, you should check out this week’s posts at Mystical Beast, which are devoted in their entirety to the former darling of the indie rock press. Most brilliant writing I’ve seen on an MP3 blog in months. So good, in fact, that I had to read it twice.


Okkervil River had been getting press for a long while before I bothered to give them a listen. The band’s name just didn’t appeal to me. I suspected that the word “okkervil” was just a play on the word “overkill,” and this raised a red flag in my tiny, little mind. Wasn’t there a generic thrash/death/black metal band in the eighties called Overkill? If this "Okkervil River" was in any way similar to Overkill, I told myself, I didn’t want to hear them. Regardless, the use of any permuatation of the word "overkill," like the use of any permutation of the word "extreme," says nothing to me so much as "focus group tested and approved by pinheads."

Then I downloaded this song from an MP3 blog that I have long since forgotten...

Okkervil River - Latest Toughs

Similar to Wilco and U2, perhaps, but not at all to Overkill, the only thing extreme about Okkervil River are the histrionics of vocalist Will Sheff ... which I quite like, actually.

See, that’s what happens when intellectual property is pirated willy-nilly: artists whose work I would never have spent a cent on make their way onto my buy-if-the-price-is-right list—because I got to listen to them first, and repeatedly, in the comfort of my own home.

By the way, as it turns out, the band is named after a river in Russia. Why anyone would ever have thought this would be a good idea is beyond me.

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