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The Mountain Goats

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Biography

The Mountain Goats are, for all practical purposes, the endlessly clever and prolific John Darnielle and whatever musicians he surrounds himself with, which means that while the soundscape may change from project to project, the overall tone and feel of Darnielle's work remains remarkably consistent. At his best, he writes finely observed, slightly surreal, impressionistic vignettes that manage to mix life as we live it with life as we wish we could live it, and as such he has more in common with a novelist than he does with the typical singer/songwriter -- which is fitting, as he's also a published author. Darnielle's early Mountain Goats releases were lo-fi, cassette-recorded efforts cut with a rotating lineup of musicians, such as 1995's Nine Black Poppies and 2000's The Coroner's Gambit. By 2005's The Sunset Tree, his recordings had become cleaner and less cluttered, but his characters studies were just as vivid, and as the Mountain Goats finally cohered into a stable lineup (with Darnielle joined by Peter Hughes, Matt Douglas, and Jon Wurster), they recorded tuneful, thematically unified albums such as Beat the Champ (2015) and Goths (2017) that ranked with their finest work. Taking the name from the Screamin' Jay Hawkins song "Big Yellow Coat," Darnielle first donned the Mountain Goats moniker in 1991 while working as a nurse in a California state hospital, and began releasing cassette-only albums for the Shrimper label. Despite attracting a devoted underground following (or, possibly, because of it), the Mountain Goats continued to release songs in cassette form-only for many years, virtually using tape hiss as an additional instrument. Besides innumerable compilation tracks, the Mountain Goats have also released many 7" singles for over a dozen labels. Their full-length albums include Nine Black Poppies and Zopilote Machine (both released in 1995), Sweden (1996), Full Force Galesburg (1997), and Nothing for Juice (1997). Protein Source of the Future...NOW! and Bitter Melon Farm (both 1999 releases) collected many early tape tracks and singles. Darnielle began the new millennium with The Coroner's Gambit for Absolutely Kosher before signing to 4AD for the release of the surprisingly polished Tallahassee in 2002. We Shall All Be Healed followed in 2004, and one year later, Darnielle was back with The Sunset Tree. Remaining as prolific as ever, Darnielle turned away from the intensity of The Sunset Tree for a calmer, more reflective set of songs on 2006's Get Lonely. The accessible and assured Heretic Pride appeared in 2008. Next up was the Bible verse-inspired The Life of the World to Come, the group's sixth album for 4AD, in 2010. Switching to Merge Records in 2011, Darnielle released All Eternals Deck, which was recorded in four different studios in Brooklyn, Boston, North Carolina, and Florida with four different producers -- John Congleton, Scott Solter, Brandon Eggleston, and Morbid Angel guitarist and Hate Eternal frontman Erik Rutan -- helming various tracks. That year the band was also handpicked by Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel to perform at the All Tomorrow's Parties festival that he was curating in Minehead, England, but they were ultimately unable to appear due to scheduling issues. In 2012, a reissue collecting long out-of-print Mountain Goats cassettes surfaced on Shrimper. The collection gathered 1992's The Hound Chronicles and 1993's Hot Garden Stomp. Following the release of 2012's dark Transcendental Youth, Darnielle shifted his focus to raising his young family and publishing his debut novel, Wolf in White Van. His subsequent return to recording came in the form of 2015's Beat the Champ, a collection of songs about professional wrestling. In 2017, Darnielle kept himself busy with the release of recording and publishing projects: a concept album from the Mountain Goats titled Goths, and a novel, Universal Harvester. Another of Darnielle's youthful obsessions, multiplayer role-playing games, informed his next set of incisive character studies, 2019's In League with Dragons. ~ Jason Nickey & Steve Leggett
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   This Year
  3.   Cotton
  4.   Steal Smoked Fish
  5.   Cadaver Sniffing Dog
  6.   Cubs in Five
  7.   Rain in Soho
  8.   Grendel's Mother
  9.   High Hawk Season
  10.   The Monkey Song
  11.   Azo Tle Nelli in Tlalticpac?
  12.   Cheshire County
  13.   Going to Maine
  14.   Duke Ellington
  15.   Clemency for the Wizard King
  16.   Chanson du Bon Chose
  17.   Andrew Eldritch Is Moving Back to Leeds
  18.   Billy the Kid's Dream of the Magic Shoes
  19.   Unicorn Tolerance
  20.   Standard Bitter Love Song #8
  21.   Going to Utrecht
  22.   The Coroner's Gambit
  23.   Nine Black Poppies
  24.   Papagallo
  25.   White Cedar
  26.   Tape Travel Is Lonely
  27.   Blood Royal
  28.   Orange Ball of Pain
  29.   Waylon Jennings Live!
  30.   Paid in Cocaine
  31.   Werewolf Gimmick
  32.   The Diaz Brothers
  33.   Never Quite Free
  34.   Creature Song
  35.   Earth Air Water Trees
  36.   Anti Music Song
  37.   Flight 717: Going to Denmark
  38.   Alpha Gelida
  39.   Pure Intentions
  40.   Two Thousand Seasons
  41.   Pure Heat
  42.   Absolute Lithops Effect
  43.   The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton
  44.   Jenny
  45.   Going to Georgia
  46.   Lonesome Suprise
  47.   Waving at You
  48.   Done Bleeding
  49.   An Antidote for Strychnine
  50.   Fresh Berries for You
  51.   Night Light
  52.   Sail On
  53.   Island Garden Song
  54.   Answering the Phone
  55.   Coco-Yam Song
  56.   Pure Sound
  57.   I Corinthians 13:8-10
  58.   Prowl Great Cain
  59.   The Sign
  60.   Riches and Wonders
  61.   Doc Gooden
  62.   The Autopsy Garland
  63.   It's All Here in Brownsville
  64.   Chinese Rifle Song
  65.   Jaipur
  66.   Midland
  67.   Scotch Grove
  68.   Love Cuts the Strings
  69.   Choked Out
  70.   Counterfeit Florida Plates
  71.   Third Snow Song
  72.   Noctifer Birmingham
  73.   The Only Thing I Know
  74.   Song for Dana Plato
  75.   Indonesia
  76.   Lakeside View Apartments Suite
  77.   Transcendental Youth
  78.   Baboon
  79.   Alpha Desperation March
  80.   Sourdoire Valley Song
  81.   Alpha Double Negative: Going to Catalina
  82.   Blue Jays And Cardinals
  83.   Insurance Fraud #2
  84.   Alphabetizing
  85.   The Alphonse Mamb
  86.   For Charles Bronson
  87.   Raja Vocative
  88.   Moon and Sand
  89.   The Mess Inside
  90.   I Know You've Come to Take My Toys Away
  91.   The Legend of Chavo Guerrero
  92.   Going to Kansas
  93.   Going to Cleveland
  94.   Shadow Songs
  95.   Damn These Vampires
  96.   Please Come Home to Hamngatan
  97.   Stars Around Her
  98.   Hand Ball
  99.   Wid Palm City
  100.   Amy aka Spent Gladiator 1
  101.   Historiography
  102.   Night of the Mules
  103.   We Were Patriots
  104.   Abandoned Flesh
  105.   Star Dusting
  106.   Animal Mask
  107.   Trick Mirror
  108.   There Will Be No Divorce
  109.   Million
  110.   Short Song About the 10 Freeway
  111.   Then the Letting Go
  112.   In Memory of Satan
  113.   The Ango-Saxons
  114.   Heights
  115.   Hellhound on My Trial
  116.   Snow Song
  117.   Song for an Old Friend
  118.   Yam, The King of Crops
  119.   Southwestern Territory
  120.   The Bad Doctor
  121.   Possum by Night
  122.   Going to Hungary
  123.   Horser Adish Road
  124.   Quetzalcoatal Is Born
  125.   Younger
  126.   Fault Lines
  127.   Black Molly
  128.   Full Flower
  129.   The Last Day of Jimi Hendrix's Life
  130.   Alagemo
  131.   Liza Forever Minnelli
  132.   Source Decay
  133.   Noche del Guajolote
  134.   Quetzalcoatal Comes Through
  135.   Until I Am Whole
  136.   Brave
  137.   Going to Reykjavik
  138.   Harlem Roulette
  139.   Going to Santiago
  140.   Orange Ball of Peace
  141.   Blueberry Frost
  142.   Color in Your Cheeks
  143.   Jeff Davis County Blues
  144.   Chino Love Song 1979
  145.   Pure Gold
  146.   Going to Kirby Sigston
  147.   Golden Boy
  148.   We Have Seen the Enemy
  149.   Going to Bristol
  150.   Distant Stations
  151.   Cry for Judas
  152.   Quetzalcoatl Eats Plums
  153.   Going to Monaco
  154.   Outer Scorpion Squadron