New Mountain Goats: “All Devils Here Now”

To commemorate reaching 40,000 Twitter followers, John Darnielle has gifted us with a new song entitled “All Devils Here Now.”   The track is actually a demo, recorded sometime between Tallahassee and We Shall All Be Healed.  The song, Darnielle notes, features “actual Iowa bugs” and shares “psychic and geographic space” with other material from those albums.  Indeed, it’s hard not to be struck by the subdued tone of the entire recording, as recent Mountain Goats recordings have tended towards larger, more polished arrangements.

Whatever the case, it’s a great track, and a wonderful gift for Mountain Goats fans.  Have a listen:


Happy New Year! – Albums I Loved in 2011

Hi, Everyone!  Well, it’s that time of year again!  The time when I get to pontificate about the top releases of the year.  However, as usual, I have a really difficult time ranking things.  This is something that carries over from my work as a professor.  After all, what is the difference between a 93 and a 94?  I know it when I see it, but just how to explain?  So, I’m just going to wimp out present some of the albums I loved in no particular order.  For those of you looking for a more ordered (and possibly comprehensive) list, I would recommend checking in with Pitchfork, Slowcoustic, or NPR Music.  All right, let’s get on with the show!

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Things I Should’ve Mentioned…

It’s been a bit slow around here, huh?  Sorry about that!  I’ve been teaching three classes, working on a research project, and dealing with the Zombie Dissertation From Hell ™!  I really do want to be a good blogger again… honest.  But until that day, it’s time for a quick recap of some of the stuff that has gone whizzing by in my absence.  I hope you enjoy!

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Mountain Goats: “You Were Cool” (and more!) – Live

I saw the Mountain Goats tonight in Boston, and I now need to make sure you’ve got “You Were Cool” in your arsenal.  I can honestly say that I can’t think of anyone who exudes more energy or raw emotion than John Darnielle.  From joy that positively explodes in your chest to poignant anecdotes from days gone by, a Mountain Goats concert is a real workout for the soul.  Which brings me to “You Were Cool…”

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Mountain Goats Cover Minutemen, Billy Bragg for Wisconsin Unions

Recent events in Wisconsin have prompted two members of the Mountain Goats – John Darnielle and Peter Hughes – to produce covers of pro-union songs.  First up was John Darnielle’s cover of Billy Bragg’s “Power in an Union.”  On the vimeo page, John writes:

Everybody knows I don’t generally do the acoustic guitar guy rocking political jams deal but as a former member of SEIU 660 & the California Association of Psychiatric Technicians & a kid who benefited from great teachers I wanted to spend tonight saying WE ARE ON YOUR SIDE xo jd

In response, Peter Hughes recorded a cover of “Themselves” by The Minutemen.  In the blog post where the cover first appeared, Peter writes:

Not exactly a union song per se, but a call to arms and the song that’s been in my head on continuous repeat for about the last two years.

Great stuff, and hopefully motivational.  Check them both out below:

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