Mountain Goats : The Life of the World to Come

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There is a chance that you haven’t heard of the Mountain Goats, even though the main force of the band, John Darnielle (above, right), has been recording music since the early 90s (epic indie folklore).  Darnielle’s stuff was mostly lo-fi and recorded independently until the early 2000s, but as far as I can tell he has left the low-fi sound more or less behind behind for something more like an angst-ridden acoustic concept rock.  (Yup, I just made that up).

As for style, John’s lyrics are decidedly literate, and he often toys with obscure themes.  For example, the entirety of the Goats’ ’02 release “Tallahassee” chronicles the slow, booze-fueled unraveling of a couple in the rural South – not exactly light fare.  (You can check out a great track from that album – as well as some fitting Darnielle commentary and the inevitable crowd sing-a-longers – here.)

Yet, despite all of the bizarre, smarty-pants things that go into his songs, Darnielle nearly always manages to blow me away with his haunting imagery and blatant  emotions.  If you ask me, this is the magic of the Mountain Goats.  And, the new album, “The Life of the World to Come” is classic Mountain Goats stuff.  Each song is based on a passage from the Bible.  For real.  And yes, I looked most of them up.  If you are in to the album, you should too.   Trying to follow the murky path Darnielle took to get from ancient Biblical times to some dingy haunt in middle america is a trip worth taking.

One of my fast favorites from the new(ish) album, no cross-referencing required, was Psalms 40:20, re-posted here from a performance a few months ago on the Steven Colbert show.

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