What a fantastic year for Americana. Okkervil releases what I think is the best album of their career, The Stage Names, which ends with a brilliant coda saluting Brian Wilson (an artist often cited as being the most influential on indie rockers). Ryan finally gets back to the art of songwriting, after many self-indulgent stops along the way. Not to mention his winking foray into hip hop. And The Broken West arrive on the scene, bringing all their own tightly written, wonderful songs.
I recently posted live versions of nearly every track off Easy Tiger. Check it out here.
As for other samples of these great bands . . . I’m kicking off some mp3s with three Okkervil tunes from 2003, performed with Mendoza Line.
And, last but not least, a complete live set by The Broken West, opening from the Walkmen last March: