I’ve always been upfront about my unabashed love for The Mountain Goats (previously the Mountain Goats) and it blows my mind to think that this has been going on for almost 20 years now. When I think back to my teen years and all various points of my life along the way, the one artist I really grew up with, that has been a constant is John Darnielle. I first heard The Mountain Goats on Shrimper’s Abridged Perversion compilation around 1994 and Darnielle’s music has been incredibly important to me ever since. I was lucky enough to get a Mountain Goats song for the first ever non-cassette release I put out (I’ll never forget Darnielle calling me, telling me he’d love to give me a song if I could just send him some postage to send me the tape) when I was 16 – one of the formative events of my youth that is directly related to what I am doing right now. There were a ton of really good hometapers back in the early and mid ’90s, but from the beginning it was obvious that The Mountain Goats were something special, something different. I could probably write 10,000 words about what, exactly, makes John Darnielle’s songs so great and why there really is nobody like him, but I’ll refrain for now (some other time, perhaps)… all you need to do is listen to any of his albums and you’ll get it (may I suggest the vastly underrated Full Force Galesburg).
Twenty-plus years later as Darnielle and The Mountain Goats are about to release their 20th album (well, thereabouts if you include all those early cassettes) in October, Transcendental Youth, and this first single, “Cry for Judas,” indicates it’s going to once again be something special.
p.s. someone put out a book of John Darnielle’s lyrics please. Thx.