-
neumu
Tuesday, September 29, 2020 
-
-
--archival-captured-cinematronic-continuity error-daily report-datastream-depth of field--
-
--drama-44.1 khz-gramophone-inquisitive-needle drops-picture book-twinklepop--
-
Neumu = Art + Music + Words
Search Neumu:  

illustration



edited by michael goldbergcontact


Mountain Goats LP Tells 'Doomed Love' Story

It's been observed that Mountain Goats shows are often jam-packed with affectionate couples. The Mountain Goats are actually John Darnielle, who sings rapid-fire, complex lyrics with crisp delivery to piquant and unexpected melodies. He admits that he makes couples-oriented music. However, the idiosyncratic performer adds, "I fantasize they're no longer actually couples and want to lock into the I-loved-you-and-now-I-wish-someone-would-kill-us-both groove that so many of my songs encourage. But probably that's not the case. I've been asked to play at several weddings."

No one ever said love was rational, least of all Darnielle, who has pioneered what might be called the "relationship/suicide" genre and is known for writing songs that loosely fit into ongoing series. Due in stores Nov. 5, Tallahassee, his first release for celebrated English label 4AD (Pixies, Breeders, Red House Painters, Throwing Muses), is a full album of his "Alpha" series of songs. It's a concept album about the dark end to an already doomed relationship.

In an email sent from his home in Ames, Iowa, Darnielle explained: "A long, long time ago I started writing these songs about a young married couple who a) were doomed and knew it, b) were barreling headlong toward divorce, and c) were as in love with alcohol as they were with the memory of the love in whose murder they were presently conspiring. Which is to say: they were songs about people who saw which way the wind was blowing in their lives and opted to go down with the ship rather than save themselves.

"This gets complicated," Darnielle added, "but what could deepen a love more than the shared knowledge that all is lost?

"So they start running to various places," he continued. "Mexico, Catalina. They spend a year in a motel in Vegas. Where it all comes to a boil is in Tallahassee [in northern Florida], in a crumbling house they occupy together while drinking themselves into the ground. Tallahassee is 14 songs about the bad things that go on in the house they buy on Southwood Plantation Road. Which road may or may not actually exist, but was on an antiquated map of the region I had."

The 14 songs are "Tallahassee," "First Few Desperate Hours," "Southwood Plantation Road," "Game Shows Touch Our Lives," "The House That Dripped Blood," "Idylls of the King," "No Children," "See America Right," "Peacocks," "International Small Arms Traffic Blues," "Have to Explode," "Old College Try," "Oceanographer's Choice" and "Alpha Rats Nest."

What drives Darnielle to write songs based on such twisted material? "Many of my songs take as their springboard the pain of separation," he wrote. "Being separated from people or places or things is always hard, and I come from a Californian generation whose parents routinely divorced because 'things weren't working out.' I sing about the real consequences of termination — relationships, living circumstances — and I think the people who like what I do hear the dark humor at the bottom of such an enterprise."

"Dark humor" does not capture this lyricist's uncommon wit. His sing-along tunes are filled with lyrics oozing with bilious comedy, by turns literate, dramatic and tragic. In "First Few Desperate Hours," for example, Darnielle sings: "When cloven hoof prints turn up in the garden/ We keep up the good fight/ To keep our spirits light/ But they drop like flies."

Each line is darker than the last in "No Children," which is slightly reminiscent of Hal Ashby's 1971 black comedy, "Harold and Maude." To a guitar-and-piano-driven tune, Darnielle sings, "I hope I cut myself shaving tomorrow/ I hope it bleeds all day long/ Our friends say it's darkest before the sun rises/ We're pretty sure they're all wrong." And these are hardly the song's — or the album's — most ominous lyrics.

Tallahassee is the Mountain Goats' first recording with a star producer. Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Delgados, Belle and Sebastian) recorded the band at Tarbox Studios in upstate New York (where the Flaming Lips and Mercury Rev record) and mixed it at Glasgow, Scotland's Cava Studios, where, as Darnielle puts it, Doogan "added surprises" such as bells to "Idylls of the King." Previous Mountain Goats albums have tended to consist of Darnielle's intense, melodic vocals accompanied by the furious strumming of his acoustic guitar.

Other "goats" this time out are Diskothi-Q's Peter Hughes (bass, guitar, drums, keyboards, shaker, harmonies), Darnielle's longtime collaborator Franklin Bruno (guitar, piano), and the Flaming Lips' Michael Ivins (tambourine). The Delgados played several instruments on "Oceanographer's Choice," a bitter, bluesy rock song with drums. The Mountain Goats have rarely, if ever, integrated drums into their sound.

Darnielle has been known for his super-lo-fi aesthetic, which goes back to tape-trading days on the famous Southern California Shrimper label. His extreme recording preferences led to an avoidance of four-tracks in favor of ghetto blasters. "Everybody was multi-tracking when I got started — it just seemed so boring. And what I was doing with my boom-box just seemed so much more raw than your guy-with-an-electric-guitar-and-a-four-track thing."

These days he's excited about signing to 4AD — the singer/songwriter has himself been a fan of the label over the years. "I remember when the Cocteau Twins were this brand new thing, not to mention The Pixies — this is just a good label, with a history of releasing good, interesting records and some of the best album design ever." Regarding album design, Tallahassee is an elaborate affair with paper foldouts and inserts, comprising an artful audio-visual package.

It's been a busy year for Darnielle. Tallahassee is his third full-length release for 2002. In February the Mountain Goats' All Hail West Texas was released on Emperor Jones to critical acclaim. In January,Absolutely Kosher released the Extra Glenns' recorded debut, Marshall Arts Weekend; Extra Glenns is a collaboration between Darnielle and Bruno. (See previous story: "Mountain Goats To Release LP On 4AD".)

Raised in Claremont, Calif., Darnielle moved to Ames in 1995. In addition to recording and performing, he works with kids in a residential setting there, publishes Last Plane to Jakarta, a zine with a singular, eccentric vision, and freelances to various music magazines. Darnielle is one of the few thoughtful rock critics carrying the torch for "death metal," which he defines — metaphorically — as "castles in ruins with the rotting corpses of wizards and knights who were killed by seriously ugly-looking alien life forms who had righteously hi-tech weapons of death."

His favorite death metal bands are Kataklysm, Nile, Dark Tranquility, Morbid Angel, Arch Enemy ("Their singer is a woman!" he comments. "A tall, blonde woman who looks like she just stepped off a modeling runway! And she sings in your standard metal bark/growl! For real!") and The Forsaken. "There's lots of other Metal I like, too: some black metal (not the Nazi stuff), and lately some of this Goth/Death/Black/Power Metal mix-up stuff that's really getting big in Finland."

The Mountain Goats are presently touring the U.S., often sharing the bill with John Vanderslice. October was spent touring England, Ireland and the West Coast of the U.S.

What's on the horizon for Darnielle? Besides experiencing "endless long stretches of Iowan road unoccupied by aught save corn or bean rows," the productive musician is already writing new songs. Uh, make that love songs. "When you're some distance from closer concentrations of crackheads, they begin to seem kind of romantic in a sick sort of way," he noted. "Plenty of the songs I've been writing feature young crackheads in love, to tell you the God's honest truth." — Jillian Steinberger [Monday, Nov. 4, 2002]


Alejandro Escovedo's Joyous Rebirth

John Vanderslice Kicks Genre

Paul Duncan's Elusive Pop

Stephen Yerkey's Wandering Songs

French Kicks Complete 'Two Thousand'

Spazzy Romanticism: Love Story In Blood Red

Brain Surgeons NYC Rock The Big Questions

Jarboe's 'Men' Charts Turbulent Emotions

Delta 5's Edgy Post-Punk Resurrected

Blitzen Trapper Spiff Things Up

Minus Five: Booze, Betrayal, Bibles and Guns

New Compilation Spotlights Forgotten Folk Guitar Heroes

Chris Brokaw's Experiment In Pop

Old And New With Death Vessel

Silver Jews: Salvation And Redemption

Jana Hunter's Beautiful Doom

Vashti Bunyan Finds Her Voice Again

Nick Castro's Turkish Folk Delight

Katrina Hits New Orleans Musicians Hard

Paula Frazer's Eerie Beauty

The National Find Emotional Balance

Death Cab For Cutie's New Album, Tour

Heavy Trash's Rockabilly Rampage

Help The Wrens Get Their Albums Released!

Devendra Banhart, Andy Cabic Launch Label

Lydia Lunch's Noir Seductions

Bosque Brown's The Real Deal

PDX Pop Now! Fest Announces Lineup

Sarah Dougher Starts Women-Focused Label

Jennifer Gentle's Joyful Psyche

Mountain Goat Darnielle Gets Autobiographical With 'Sunset Tree'

Mia Doi Todd's Beautiful Collaboration

Return of the Gang of Four

Martha Wainwright Finds Her Voice

Brian Jonestown Massacre's Acid Joyride

Solo Disc Due From Pixies' Frank Black

Heartless Bastards' Big-Hearted Rock

Mike Watt's Midlife Journey

The Black Swans Balance Old And New

Nicolai Dunger's Swedish Blues

The Insomniacs' Hard-Edged Pop

Yo La Tengo Collection Due

Juana Molina's 'Homemade' Sound

Beans Evolves

Earlimart's Songs Of Loss

Devendra Banhart's 'Mosquito Drawings'

Negativland Rerelease 'Helter Stupid'

Alina Simone Transforms The Ordinary

Sounds From Nature: Laura Veirs

Octet's Fractured Electric Pop

Sleater-Kinney Working With Lips Producer

The Cult Of Silkworm

The Evolution Of The Concretes

Devendra Banhart's Exuberant New Songs

Catching Up With The Incredible String Band

Gram Rabbit's Desert Visions

Three Indie-Rock Stars Unite As Maritime

Remembering Johnny Ramone

Jarboe's Many Voices

Phil Elvrum's Long Hard Winter

First U.S. Release For Vashti Bunyan Album

Incredible String Band To Tour U.S.

New Music From Lydia Lunch

Le Tigre Protest The Bush War Presidency

Joel RL Phelps: Bleak Songs Rock Hard

Time Tripping With Galaxie 500

Patti Smith Wants Bush Out!

Sharron Kraus: A New Kind Of Folk Music

The Fiery Furnaces' Psychedelic Theater

Harder, Heavier Burning Brides

Sonic Youth's Ongoing Experiment

The Dt's Do It Their Way

Poster Children Cover Political Rock

Rare Thelonious Monk Recordings Due

Uneasy Pop From dios

Beck, Lips, Waits Cover Daniel Johnston

Understanding Franz Ferdinand

The Truly Amazing Joanna Newsom

Mylab's Boundary-Crossing Experiments In Sound

Have You Heard Jolie Holland Whistle?

The 'Magical Realism' Of Vetiver

The Restless, Rootsy Songs Of Eszter Balint

The Sun Sets On The Blasters

Devendra Banhart To Tour U.S.

The East/West Fusion Sounds Of Macha

Destroyer Gets Mellow For Your Blues

TV On The Radio Get Political

Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse To Play Lollapalooza 2004

New Music From The Fall

Apocalyptic Sound From The Intelligence

Fast And Rude With The Casual Dots

'Rejoicing' With Devendra Banhart

New Album, Tour From The Polyphonic Spree

Shearwater Take Wing

Sleater-Kinney To Tour East/West Coasts

Resurrecting Rocket From The Tombs

Visqueen Want To Get A Riot Goin' On

Lloyd Cole Makes A Commotion

Funkstörung's 'Cut-Up' Theory

Waiting For Mirah's C'mon Miracle

Electrelane Find Their Voice

The Television Is Still On!

Experimental Sounds From Hannah Marcus

The Ponys Play With Rayguns

Ex-Mono Men Leader Returns With The Dt's

Mountain Goats' Darnielle Adopts A More Hi-Fi Sound

Sun Kil Moon To Tour U.S., Europe

Nothin' But The Truth From The Von Bondies

Sultans Survive 'Shipwreck'

Sebadoh Reunite For Spring Tour

Xiu Xiu's 'Reality' Rock

Meet The Patients

Beth Orton, M. Ward Make Sadness Taste Sweet

Oneida's Pathway To Ecstasy

Radiohead, Pixies, Dizzee Rascal To Play Coachella

Young People Tour Behind War Prayers

Pixies Tour Dates Announced

Ani DiFranco Tells It Like It Is

Deerhoof Back For 2004 With Milkman

McLusky Set To 'Bring On The Big Guitars' Again

Pixies Reunite For U.S., European Tours

American Music Club, Decemberists To Play NoisePop 2004

Damien Rice Set To Tour U.S.

The Frames Accept Your Love

Punk Rock's A-Frames To Re-Record Third Album

Finally! Mission Of Burma Record New Album

A Solo Detour For Ladybug Transistor's Sasha Bell

Return Of The Old 97's

Spending The Night With Damien Rice

Tindersticks Reissues Due This Spring

The Evolution Of 'A Silver Mt. Zion'

Neil Young Rocks Australia With 'Greendale'

Poster Children Back In Action

'The Great Cat Power Disaster Of 2003'

Chicks On Speed's Subversive Strategies

Oranger At A Crossroad

Peaches On Tour And In Control

Jawbreaker's Complete Dear You Sessions To Be Released

Belle & Sebastian + Trevor Horn = Sunny Pop Nirvana

Von Bondies' Pawn Shoppe Heart

Descendents Are Back!

Modest Mouse Touring; Album Due in 2004

London Suede Take A (Permanent?) Break

Saul Williams Wants You To Think For Yourself

The 'Zen' Sound Of Calexico

Elliott Smith Dead AT 34

Debut Due From Mark Kozelek's Sun Kil Moon

The Hunches: Music That'll 'Fucking Live Forever'

Vic Chesnutt Speaks His Mind

90 Day Men Cancel Tour

Keith Jarrett, Cecil Taylor Highlight SF Jazz Festival

For My Morning Jacket, It's The Music That Matters

EP Due From The Polyphonic Spree

Bright Eyes, Neva Dinova Collaborate On EP

The Rise & Fall & Rise Of Ben Lee

Catching Up With Cheerfully Defiant Tricky

Hanging Around With The Polyphonic Spree

Sophomore Album Due From The Shins

Noise Rock From Iceland's Singapore Sling

Death Cab To Tour U.S.

Rufus Wainwright's Want One Is 'Family Affair'

Death Cab's Transatlanticism On The Way

Heartfelt Rock From Sweden's Last Days Of April

The Minus 5 Get Down With Wilco

Tywanna Jo Baskette's Southern-Gothic Rock

Xiu Xiu's Stewart Takes On 'Gay-bashing'

Portishead Producer Resurfaces Behind New Diva

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Wire, Primal Scream On Buddyhead Comp

Yeah Yeah Yeahs To Tour West Coast

Sonic Youth, Erase Errata Kick Off 'Buddy Series'

The Locust Are One Scary Band

Damien Rice In The 'Here And Now'

Remembering Karp's Scott Jernigan

ATP-NY Postponed 'Til At Least 2004

The Soul Of Chris Lee

Gits' Frenching The Bully To See Re-Release

Stephen Malkmus Is In Control

Superchunk To Release Rarities Set; Teenage Girls To Swoon As A Result

Summer Touring For The Gossip

Babbling On About Deerhoof

Irish Song Poet Damien Rice's O Released In U.S.

Chatting With ATP's Barry Hogan

Former Digable Planets Frontman Surfaces With Cherrywine

ATP L.A. Festival Rescheduled For Fall

Freakwater's Janet Bean Takes A Solo Turn

Lee's 'Cool Rock'

Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs Highlight YES NEW YORK

Mark Romanek's 'Hurt' Revives Johnny Cash's Career

The Rapture's Post-Punk, Post-Dance Sound

R.E.M., Wilco, Modest Mouse Highlight Bumbershoot Fest

Set Fires To Flames' Sleep-Deprivation Sound

Southern Gothic Past Shadows Verbena's La Musica Negra

The Subtle Evolution Of Yo La Tengo

Spring Tour For Jolie Holland (Plus A Live Album)

Liz Phair Still Pushing The Limits

Gold Chains Wants You To Dance And Think

Young People's War Prayers On The Way



peruse archival
 



-
-snippetcontactsnippetcontributorssnippetvisionsnippethelpsnippetcopyrightsnippetlegalsnippetterms of usesnippetThis site is Copyright © 2003 Insider One LLC
-