The Silver Gymnasium by Okkervil River
The last time Okkervil River appeared on the Calendar, they were bringing up the rear with their less-than-stellar offering, I Am Very Far. I thought that album would be the band’s swan song. They’d had a great run in the mid-oughts, with Black Sheep Boy and The Stage Names, but with 2008’s The Stand-Ins the band started to head south, for what I thought would be their final hurrah. I’m so glad to report that I was wrong, as here they are again, this time in the much more favorable #13 spot, with their seventh full-length album The Silver Gymnasium.
This is a great and apparently very personal album for lead singer Will Sheff. There are multiple videos talking about the genesis of this album, and now there’s even a Kickstarter campaign to make a short film about my favorite song from the album, “Down Down The Deep River.”
This is a classic Okkervil River song. If you liked Black Sheep Boy, then this album is for you. It lacks the bombast of songs like “Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe,” but there are plenty of hooks to sink your teeth into. The above video is for a remix of the song “Stay Young.” While I like the original song more than the remix, this version is still quite interesting. I linked to the original version video a month ago, as well as a lyric video for “It Was My Season” back in June, both of which are well worth checking out.
Those songs should be more than enough to convince you this is a renewed band. Sheff seems revived and ready to tackle the world. Pick up the album and there’s a chance you will be, too.
14. The Next Day by David Bowie
15. Reflektor by Arcade Fire
16. We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace & Magic by Foxygen
17. Lanters by Son Lux
18. Howlin’ by Jagwar Ma
19. Impersonator by Majical Cloudz
20. Dream Cave by Cloud Control
21. Mole City by Quasi
22. Phantogram by Phantogram
23. Julia With Blue Jeans On by Moonface
24. Uncanney Valley by The Dismemberment Plan
25. Event II by Deltron 3030
26. Wise Up Ghost by Elvis Costello and The Roots
27. Us Alone by Hayden
28. Pure Heroine by Lorde
29. Shaking the Habitual by The Knife
30. False Idols by Tricky
31. Let’s Be Still by The Head and the Heart