Thursday, July 14, 2011

Album Cover Art: Okkervil River - The Stage Names and The Stand Ins

Okkervil River: You Can't Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man


Okkervil River: Calling and Not Calling My Ex


Okkervil River is an indie rock band mostly based out of Austin, Texas. The cover art for all six of their full-length releases and some of their EPs has been done by artist William Schaff. Many other bands use the same artists for all of the their album art (Steve Earle has featured Tony Fitzpatrick's artwork since 1995, and the Drive-By Truckers featuring Wes Freed's art since their 2001 opus Southern Rock Opera. What I particularly love about Schaff's artwork for Okkervil River's 2007 release The Stage Names and 2008 album The Stands Ins is that first, they were both done entirely in embroidery. Second, the album covers were designed to go together (to get a closer look, see Schaff's Flickr album art page). But fans didn't realize this when The Stage Names came out in 2007. We fans just thought is was another cool William Schaff abstract creation. The album itself is a loose concept album of the perils of being an entertainer, be it as a touring musician, a poet, or even a porn star. The Stage Names and The Stand Ins were recorded at the same time, and the music on The Stand Ins mostly doesn't fit The Stage Names theme. But how delighted were we fans when The Stand Ins was released a year later and we found out that the hand reaching out of the gerpy water
was actually that of a drunken skeleton-man, reaching out for help? Wonderful concept, and a very unique design.

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