The cool thing about living in the digital age is that your favorite band can stealthily record a whole bunch of new material and you won’t even know until it’s released. That’s exactly what went down just a few short days ago when Okkervil River busted out with Golden Opportunities 2, a sequel of sorts to the covers record they gifted their fans for Christmas in 2009. The original Golden Opportunities Mix Tape featured amazing covers of songs by the likes of Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, and an amazingly translated mash up of Serge Gainsbourg’s “I Came Here To Say I’m Going Away” and “96 Tears.” Oh, and lead singer Will Sheff totally English-ed the French tune up himself. Pretty legit, huh?
This time around, the Texas quintet is only tackling five tunes, all of which I can honestly say I’ve never heard before, but if there’s one thing you can count on Sheff for, it’s to best you with his knowledge of not just music, but basically everything. Books? Will Sheff knows about books. Greek myths? Duh, Will Sheff writes songs about Greek myths. In fact, one of my very favorite things about Okkervil River is the fact that Sheff consistently bests me in the smarts department and I learn all sorts of new things from lyrics about the likes of Lethe’s banks. Despite this, I’m always still very anxious whenever the band releases a cover. Sure, theses songs will be missing Sheff’s trademark lit references and musical witticisms but they’ll introduce me to some new jams that I’d be blissfully ignorant to if it wasn’t for Sheff. Like Jim Sullivan’s “U.F.O.,” a song that has a really amazing story behind it. And it’s a story I would have probably never heard if it wasn’t for Sheff!
And the best part about Golden Opportunities 2? The EP is free on the band’s website — and available in lossless format! Thanks, Will Sheff. I love you, too.