Of poets and pornstars

Anxiously awaiting the Sept. 9 release of Okkervil River’s The Stand Ins, I find myself among the likes of such musical greats as the irreverent Lou Reed. Ever since last fall’s release of The Stage Names, Okkervil River has seized the minds and ears of music enthusiasts everywhere. A sextet of offbeat, subversive rockers based out of the conservative South (Austin, Texas, specifically), the band borrowed its name from a Russian river that serves as the title to one of Ruskie Tatyana Tolstaya’s novellas (ties to The Decemberists, anyone?). Originally conceived of as part of a double album, The Stand Ins continues the sordid narratives originally told in The Stage Names.
From the tragic character of poet John Berryman to the plethora of numeric song titles alluded to in “Plus Ones” (which I literally had on “repeat” for three weeks straight upon its release), to the identity consumption that plagued late porn star Shannon Wilsey, The Stage Names proves chock-full of literary, underground and pop culture allusions. One can only hope The Stand Ins measures up to such lyrical brilliance. I keep faith, however, that frontman Will Sheff will rise to the occasion.

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