Since 1991, John Darnielle has been releasing albums under the moniker The Mountain Goats. The new EP, The Hex of Infinite Binding, is a quiet intimate collection of four songs. On this album he lives up to his reputation of writing warm, highly detailed vignettes that speak about the specific while implying the universal.
Each of these songs deserves it’s own time and place to sit quietly, listen to and gaze at something- a leafy tree on a sunny day, the waves breaking on a cloudy one, rain dropping from a roof- something that won’t distract you from exploring where each song goes.
While I haven’t devoted this level of attention to them, I hope that in the next few weeks you join me in doing so. To highlight for today though, I would like to bring back a song from the 2002 release All Hail West Texas. The song is beautifully titled “The Best Ever Death Metal Band.” It begins “The best ever death metal band out of Denton / with a couple of guys who’d been friends since grade school / one was named Cyrus, the other was Jeff… The best ever death metal band out of Denton / never settled on a name.” It tells the story of this band and the dreams of endless success and, therefore, their embrace of the satanic symbolism of their craft which got Cyrus “sent to the school” and then how Jeff formed ideas of revenge. It concludes with the warmest and kindest “Hail Satan” you might ever here. It’s a tender story of friendship and dreams and it’s two and a half minutes long, acoustic guitar and it’s great.
And the whole album is that way, acoustic stories told, spiritually similar to the new EP which is much more clean and well produced with a wide variety of instrumentation.
There are so many artists out there that escape our attention. The Mountain Goats were one of those for me. But finding them now, I’m so stoked to explore their canon.