"That year I had a policy where I would read any book that anyone recommended to me."
I finally got the new Okkervil River, The Stage Names. It’s everything they do sublimely: tortured confessions, despair verging on exuberance, evocative lyrics. It’s even got a sorta cover of one of my favorite Beach Boys songs, “Sloop John B.”
As usual when I become besotted with a new album, I started my internet sleuthing, which is how I came across their intelligent Pitchfork interview. I learned they took their name from a Russian short story by Tatyana Tolstaya. Shameful that I didn’t know that, since I’m a sucker for well-considered literary references.
For more music & literature crossover, Largehearted Boy has a great series he calls “Book Notes,” where he asks authors to give an annotated list of the music that is somehow related to their book. I think this is one of my favorite ways to get recommendations for new music: people I admire for one thing or another telling me what music they love.