Thursday, August 31, 2006

Band of the Week: The Mountain Goats

When singer/guitarist John Darnielle and SF producer John Vanderslice collaborate together on an album, something fantastic invariably occurs. The intersection of the polished pop music and stripped down acoustic sensibilities creates something larger than the sum of its parts.

The Mountain Goats’ previous few albums The Sunset Tree, We Shall All Be Healed, and All Hail West Texas are clear examples of this, with such numerous noteworthy tracks like the funny and sad The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton, the all whispery Dinu Lipatti’s Bones, survivor’s anthem This Year, and the raucous Pigs That Ran Straightaway Into The Water, The Triumph Of.

Darnielle writes lyrics that are often poetic, but are always full of style and wit. For instance, there’s The Fall of the Star High Running Back with its smart and catchy lines, “Selling acid was a bad idea and selling it to a cop was a worse one. New laws said that seventeen-year-olds could serve federal time. You were the first one, so I sing this song for you…”

And he’s also incredibly productive -- with a new album seemingly every nine months or so. I’m just starting to listen to last week’s Get Lonely but even being reminded about the band makes me dust off older cds to hear all my favorite songs. If The Mountain Goats’ label 4AD ever decided to put together a Best of collection, whoever was in charge of it would have a damn hard time fitting all of Darnielle’s greatest tracks on one album...


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