Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Music you should dig: The Mountain Goats

PhotobucketOne of my favorite bands I've discovered in the last five years or so are the wonderful Mountain Goats. Singer John Darnielle is one of the most unique voices in the business, kind of like a combination of Bob Dylan, Robyn Hitchcock and a guy you see mumbling poems to himself in the back of the bus. The Mountain Goats are basically Darnielle with a handful of buddies; the band started off with Darnielle recording low-fi confessional acoustic rambles on a guitar on a boom box, and he's since moved into lusher fuller sounds with his more recent albums. His reedy quiver of a voice might catch you off guard, but he draws you in with his elaborate tableaus of monsters, freaks and lovable skateboarding losers, painting even the most ordinary of scenes with a kind of gangly beauty.

None less an authority than The Guardian calls him one of the best lyricists in music today, and it's hard to argue. He's funny, heartbreaking and does maddeningly brilliant turns of phrase. One of my favorites is the early tune "The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton":

The best ever death metal band out of denton
were a couple of guys, who'd been friends since grade school.
one was named cyrus, and the other was jeff.
and they practiced twice a week in jeff's bedroom.

The best ever death metal band out of denton
never settled on a name.
but the top three contenders, after weeks of debate,
were satan's fingers, and the killers, and the hospital bombers.

This is a band with song titles like "Linda Blair Was Born Innocent," "Game Shows Touch Our Lives," "International Small Arms Traffic Blues" and "The Fall Of The Star High School Running Back."

Which brings me to the reason for my post, checking out the new Mountain Goats video! This video just blows me away - I rarely watch music videos anymore in the post-MTV era, but it shows you can still do something creative with a very lyrics-based performer. Enjoy "Sax Rohmer #1" from the new Mountain Goats disc "Heretic Pride":

Best of all, the Mountain Goats are coming to Auckland for a show in April, and you can bet the wife and I will be there in the front row. Go Goats!

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