Friday, April 4, 2008

ARTIST: I am gonna make it thru this year if it kills me

It was a couple of years ago that a good friend of mine introduced me to the Mountain Goats (the recording/performing pseudonym for John Darnielle) - and when she explained them to me I'll admit that I was skeptical. A guy with a kind of nasally voice, singing emotionally driven songs over vigorously strum palm-muted acoustic guitar? Sounded like a recipe for disaster to me.

Well, she let me borrow 2005's The Sunset Tree and said "here, you'll love them". And as it turns out, I did. The music was actually even quirkier than I had expected, but what really won me over was his honest, usually heart-breaking narratives in every song. In fact, the whole Sunset Tree album was an exploration of his growing up with an abusive step-father - hardly a sunny topic. But his songs aren't just him whining to a melody - no he's actually pretty adept at introducing and developing characters that you really kinda care about. And there's something about John's delivery that keeps it all from getting too discouraging or depressing. In fact, I think what I like about him most is that at the end of everything, he is really rather hopeful - songs ending with fists pumping, chanting refrains like "I am gonna make it thru this year if it kills me!"

So that being said, the Mountain Goat's new record, Heretic Pride just found its way into my life and I've been reminded again of all the things I love about this guy. Now it isn't for everyone for sure - but give him a shot and you might be surprised. The songs here are all solid, and even kind of ... fun? Like this one, where he draws the comparison that wanting to love him is like wanting to live inside an ultra-hot pressurized oven used to sterilize medical equipment. It's pretty good. And I've also included one of my favorites off of Sunset Tree, from which I drew the title of this post. Enjoy.

The Mountain Goats - Autoclave

from the album Heretic Pride (Amazon/iTunes)

from the album The Sunset Tree (Amazon/iTunes)


Britt said...

Tobler I'm so glad you wrote about The Mountain Goats! I've had their entire discography for years and have tried to share them with several friends. In fact "I am gonna make it thru this year if it kills me!" is a line I say often. Still lovin' the blog. said...

i love the mountain goats. good call. said...

do you listen to Jens Lekman? If not, you will change your life. Night Falls Over Kortedala is my personal favorite