“The songs cluster around themes of hidden things and the dread that hidden things inspire,” says singer/songwriter John Darnielle, “but also the excitement, the attraction, the magnetic draw that scary unknown hidden things exert.” The title refers to an apocryphal tarot deck, though Darnielle explains that the album’s fascination with the occult originates in having run across the word “occult” in a textbook in his nursing-student days. “‘Occult’ just means ‘hidden’ or ‘not immediately obvious’ in medical terminology. There was a nursing directive to be aware of ‘occult blood.’ I thought it was the greatest thing I’d ever heard,” he says.
“Damn These Vampires” has an expansive, epic quality that bodes well for the album as a whole. There’s a precision in that emotional punctuation that Darnielle uses so effectively elsewhere that leaves me with goosebumps… So, grab your headphones, press play, and enjoy.
[audio:https://www.shh-listen.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/The-Mountain-Goats-Damn-These-Vampires.mp3|titles=The Mountain Goats – Damn These Vampires] Download
After that, check out this Pitchfork interview with Darnielle about the making of the album, and then head over to Stereogum to grab the new, twitter-released, non-album track “Tyler Lambert’s Grave.” Enjoy!