Listen to Okkervil River’s Bright New Single, “Don’t Move Back to LA”

The first single off their new album In The Rainbow Rain

Music News Okkervil River
Listen to Okkervil River’s Bright New Single, “Don’t Move Back to LA”

Okkervil River have released their first single off their forthcoming new album In The Rainbow Rain, titled “Don’t Move Back to LA.” The album will be released on April 27 via ATO Records. The Austin, Texas, natives, led by singer-songwriter, Will Sheff, are taking a “left turn” following the release of their 2016 album Away.

Sheff, who produced and co-wrote the album, is moving away from the somber tones and acoustic measures that landed him and his band a place on Paste’s 100 best indie-folk albums list for 2013’s The Silver Gymnasium. This forthcoming album breaks away from the seriousness of Sheff’s previous albums by featuring bright electronic guitars, booming synths and ambient background vocals that add color to the entire work—Sheff says his goal was to make “a record where a sense of kindness felt encoded into the music.”

“Don’t Move Back to LA” is said to be the light-hearted midpoint of the album, where Sheff talks about his real-world experience of not wanting his friends to move away.

Sheff describes the inspiration behind his new single in a statement:

This song had a very straightforward impulse behind it: a bunch of my best friends all moved to LA and I was really sad about it so I wrote a song about how I didn’t want them to leave. I’m specifically referring to them through some of the nicknames in the song. I think the song is also kind of about my own deep and long-held desire to get the hell out of New York City, which for years I felt was suffocating me but which I couldn’t manage to leave. I’d like to think that this song is also about how when people fly out of their original towns for big media cities they forfeit the chance to stay in their smaller towns and make them better, and then you end up with a world where there are big slick cities and bitter and brain-drained small towns and not a lot in between. Ironically, by the very end of recording In the Rainbow Rain I had worked up the courage and had made a solid plan to finally get out of New York City. I got Shawn Everett’s final mix of “Don’t Move Back to LA” in my inbox the morning of the move, and I remember listening to it in my headphones while walking to buy bagels and coffees for the drive. Listening to the song again—and specifically the line “You can have your New York City back”—as we left town via the BQE felt triumphant. I’d written a line in a song and then managed to make the line happen in real life.

“Don’t Move Back to LA” seems to have a bright country-folk inspiration at times, sounding like Bob Dylan circa the ‘60s. The simple message of the song is relatable and heartwarming, with Sheff making himself emotionally exposed, allowing the audience to see him for what he’s really going through. If the single is any indication of what’s to come, In The Rainbow Rain is poised to be the band’s most meaningful album yet.

Okkervil River will go on tour in support of their new album, starting with a special album release party at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn, N.Y. The tour will take the band through many cities and venues including a stop in their hometown of Austin, Texas, for SXSW. Sheff will be joined on stage alongside new band members Benjamin Lazar Davis (bass), Will Graefe (guitar), Sarah Pedinotti (keys) and Cully Symington (percussion). Tickets for the tour will be available starting this Friday, Feb. 16.

Check out the new single “Don’t Move Back to LA” and Okkervil River’s 2007 Daytrotter Session below. You can find the band’s tour slate below, beneath the album art and tracklist, and preorder In The Rainbow Rain before its April 27 release here. Then, revisit a Paste interview with Sheff in 2016 here.

In The Rainbow Rain Album Art:


In The Rainbow Rain Tracklist:
01. Famous Tracheotomies
02. The Dream And The Light
03. Love Somebody
04. Family Song
05. Pulled Up The Ribbon
06. Don’t Move Back To LA
07. Shelter Song
08. How It Is
09. External Actor
10. Human Being Song

Okkervil River Tour Dates:

27 – Brooklyn, N.Y. @ Rough Trade NYC (Album Release Show)

20 – Washington, District of Columbia @ The Black Cat
21 – Carboro, N.C. @ Cat’s Cradle
22 – Atlanta, Ga. @ Aisle 5
24 – Dallas, Texas @ The Kessler Theater
25 – Houston, Texas @ The Heights Theater
29 – Phoenix, Ariz. @ The Crescent Ballroom
31 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Teregram Ballroom

01 – Santa Ana, Calif. @ Constellation Room
02 – San Francisco, Calif. @ Bimbo’s 365 Club
04 – Seattle, Wash. @ Neumos
05 – Portland, Ore. @ Wonder Ballroom
07 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ The State Room
08 – Denver, Colo. @ Bluebird Theater
09 – Omaha, Neb. @ The Waiting Room
11 – St. Paul, Minn. @ Turf Club
12 – Chicago, Ill. @ Thalia Hall
13 – Detroit, Mich. @ El Club
14 – Toronto, Ontario @ Horseshoe Tavern
15 – Woodstock, N.Y. @ Colony
16 – Boston, Mass. @ Royale

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