Wednesday, February 20, 2008

(02.20.08) Recommends:

The Mountain Goats.

Sometimes we sit around wondering how our culture will be remembered by future generations. Of today's cultural outputs, what music will survive, what books will be taught in high school English classes, what thinkers will influence the way the next generation understands the world.

However that history is ultimately written, as things stand now one thing is abundantly clear. John Darnielle is one of the most important songwriters we have. If you've ever talked to us about this in Real Life we're merely repeating ourselves, but we'll put it out there on the blog now: the closest we can ever imagine ourselves feeling like heroin addict is listening to The Mountain Goats. We mean this as a compliment, of course. The characters in John Darnielle songs have reached this level of pure, unadulterated misery; it makes us twitchy just listening to the narratives. But here's the thing. It's not like mindless nihilism. The characters embody what we imagine Janis Joplin means when she sings freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. They are at rock bottom, but they have a defiance toward the world that is both scary and awesomely impressive. And it's a defiance we damn well better understand if we want to try to make any sense out of the world.

Or, at least this is how we hear things. Sometimes we wonder if our lives would have turned out differently had we only listened to "upbeat" "happy" music. Frankly, we feel sorry for those who don't listen to the Mountain Goats.

They released a new album earlier this month. We're busting out of our britches with excitement to see them when they come through town for two shows next month. So for now we'll leave you with an old favorite and a new favorite.

Old Favorite:

New Favorite:

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