With Manishevitz and Jon Harrison and the Mood Swing Set
Ah, theMountain Goats. Our guilty pleasure since 1997. We were living in France, sitting in a hippie's attic apartment, when we first listened to a Mountain Goats tape as we tried to figure out how to get to a market near Montmartre. Does this personal tale set in a foreign land smack of irrelevance? Then you have never heard the Mountain Goats -- namely, singer and guitarist John Darnielle, the man with a band so impressive it renders him plural. Almost every Mountain Goats song is an intimate story incorporating the arrival in or departure from some dreamy locale ("Going to Bogota," "Going to Reykjavik," "Going to Scotland," "Going to Santiago," "Going to Bangor" and "Going to Utrecht"). Apparently, Darnielle travels a lot. He also sings his goddamned heart out. And it rules. After recording a bazillion albums by himself on a four-track, Darnielle recently issued We Shall All Be Healed, his first studio recording with a band and vocalists. It's a good first step, because if Mr. Darnielle took himself any more seriously, we'd probably be ill. But all that emotional intensity carries his music as far as it can go before stopping just short of plummeting over the edge.