EXCLUSIVE: Times New Viking, "Rip Allegory (Live at Great Scott)" EXCLUSIVE: Times New Viking, "The Late '80s (Live at Great Scott)"
Your average man on the street in Texas might disagree, but here at the Phoenix we think Times New Viking are pretty much the bees knees. We just named them Ohio's best new band -- mostly to give us something to argue about over Fourth of July weekend -- and coincidentally they were gonna be in town, so we took the cameras. No, that's not actually a Joanna Newsome cover, by the way -- although if she ever abandons nine-minute harp epics in favor of 90-second garage-punk bleats, we'll be the first in line to iTunes that shit.
Tangentially, Ohio's best band of all time, according to us, is Pere Ubu. And while nobody disputes that Pere Ubu were Ohio guys, some people have been questioning whether Okkervil River's Will Sheff is actually from New Hampshire. This really shouldn't be in dispute either. It's true that Okkervil River doesn't play NH so much anymore: In fact, Ryan Walsh interviewed Mr. Sheff for us just before opening for the Sheff solo gig at the Brattle a while back -- a gig that took place a day or so after Will's first hometown gig in a long time. But just yesterday a local high-school pal of the Okkervil River guys checked in to offer some memories: that'd be the In/Out bassist Nick Blakey (also currently holding the calendar on Church in the Fenway), who went to that "Meriden high school" we name-checked. As a member of Kimball Union Academy's class of '92, Blakey was friendly with founding (but since departed) Okkervil members Seth Warren (whom he played with in jazz band!), Alex Arcone, and Zach Thomas. Nick recalls chatting with Sheff occasionally (mostly, he says, "about Pere Ubu," incidentally) but was on better terms with Sheff's mom -- who was Blakey's Spanish teacher! He's threatening to dig up yearbooks.