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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Okkervil River
The Stand Ins
Jagjaguwar

Rating: 8.3/10 ?


September 25, 2008
The latest offering from Okkervil River picks up where The Stage Names, their previous album, left off - detailing the highs and lows of a life in show-business. This time around, however, fame is a bit more fleeting and involves some pitfalls. Not quite as grandiose and epic as its predecessor, The Stand Ins is still rife with the same nuanced tales and engaging storytelling that made The Stage Names so captivating.

Just shy of a dozen songs, the ensemble of tracks on The Stand Ins is as rich and musically textured as any previous Okkervil River album. Upbeat and adventurous or somber and morose, the Texas band creates a perfect accompaniment to Will Sheff's intelligent and witty lyrics. In a large part it is the music that truly makes Sheff's stories come alive, and Okkervil River are equally adept at providing a toe-tapping sing-along or a down-and-out weary mood to suit the front man's musings. Either way, the result is equally engaging.

With their last two albums, Okkervil River have continued the hyper-lyrical tradition that they established early in their career. Together the players have proven themselves adept at sustaining a brilliant narrative throughout an album. With Black Sheep Boy, the band created a character to explore dark emotions and as a way to provide deep introspection. With The Stage Names and The Stand Ins, the band has traded in the personal to chronicle the experiences of a band getting used to burgeoning success and its repercussions. It's a bumpy ride, but like the characters in their songs, Okkervil River will eventually have to deal with the trappings of success if they continue to put out albums this good.

Reviewed by Kevin Alfoldy
An aspiring global adventurer who cut his teeth on the sandy beaches and dirty bitches of Southern California, Kevin Alfoldy now spends his non-vacation days in Brooklyn, New York, where he occasionally finds the time to rub the crust out of his eyes long enough to contribute reviews and feature articles for LAS. A longtime staff member, Kevin also captains the tattered, often half-sunk raft of EPmd, our irregular column of EP reviews.

See other reviews by Kevin Alfoldy

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