BOZEMAN – Okkervil River on Tuesday, Oct. 29 makes a stop at the Filling Station in
Bozeman, Mont. during its coast-to-coast tour.
The Austin-based indie rock band is touring in support of their seventh album, The
Silver Gymnasium, released Sept. 3. The concept album takes place in 1986 in the
small town of Meriden, N.H., where front man Will Sheff grew up.
Sheff likens the spirit of The Silver Gymnasium to “an action figure you found in the
woods,” he said in a press release. “New Hampshire is the woods, the ’80s is the
action figure, but neither of them is interesting to me on their own; it’s the way they
go together.” That overlap between the ordinary and the otherworldly resonates
throughout the eleven new songs.
The band formed in 1998 and has performed with such acts as the Decembrists, The
New Pornographers, The National and Lou Reed. Their sound is synth-heavy with
driving rhythms, and relies on Sheff’s edgy voice and poetic lyrics.
“I’m not standing on top of the mountain, screaming that my childhood was special
and everyone should pay attention to it,” Sheff said. “I am a firm believer that if you
make your work very honest and personal, then it’s going to be meaningful to
people who aren’t like you but have feelings like yours.”
The album’s tracks reference Atari video games, VCR machines, cassette tapes and
the films and television shows of that era, underscoring how pop culture shaped –
and disoriented – Sheff and his childhood friends, according to the press release.
Although The Silver Gymnasium is Okkervil River’s seventh studio full-length
recording, the idea for this album has been percolating in Sheff’s head for years. You
can hear the result of that percolation at the Filling Station show, when they play
with special guest Matthew E. White.