This past week, The Mountain Goats latest release The Sunset Tree has been running through our heads, both conceptually and sonically. This album, for those who haven’t heard or heard about, is from principal songwriter John Darnielle. This is a man who’s been recording for over a decade, and has released something like 400 songs to date (Torontoist admittedly has only heard a fraction of these). His modus operandi has been low fidelity, endlessly imaginative and not without a fleck of humour. The Sunset Tree, given to Torontoist for review, contains scant amounts of the aforementioned ingredients. Not to say this is the Vince Carter of Mountain Goats albums – it’s a good album and will receive a generous mark in our review – but there is a certain weirdness that plagues Mr Darnielle’s most emotional output.
Here are two weird factors that immediately strike us:
a) Any direct, tense abusive stepfather subject material is bound to cause weirdness. It’s supposed to.
b)Remember when P. Diddy became vehemently involved in the 2004 US election? It seemed to come completely out of the blue. In the 2000 election, Diddy was courting Jenny Lopez and still unsure about changing his name from Puff. Three years later and he’s the figure head of a massive youth vote campaign. Granted a lot happened in those three years, but we couldn’t have been the only ones off-put by Diddy’s newfound political vigor. Where did this come from, Diddy? Where were you in the scandal-plagued 2000 election? This situation feels similar to the Goats foray into this new intensely personal songwriting. 2004’s We Shall All Be Healed was not nearly this emotive, and was a more seamless transition from previous Goats material. And now, after hundreds of songs and so many albums, we reach back to adolescence to hear about an abusive stepfather. Where? Why? How? WHAT? It’s like expecting a glass of iced tea, and then blindly drinking milk; it tastes weird. And let us not forget, life is all a matter of expectations. Enter Friday Mixtape:
1. The Mountain Goats – “Dilaudid” non-LP version
From TTIKHTDA. Go to that site. Look around. Goats coming next
Tues Weds in Toronto. Here’s a slide show of the recording process. Thanks to SixEyes.
2. New Pornographers – “Twin Cinema”
New New Pornographers that’s been making the rounds this week.
3. Ryan Adams – Cold Roses Album
Was country-rockin’ around to this album last night, and decided to blog about this cowboy for the third time this week.
4. The Dears – Live in Amsterdam
The Dears will perform at Paradiso, Amsterdam tomorrow. This webcast goes down TOMORROW at 20 CET if you’re interested. Torontoist isn’t interested.
5. The Salingers – “Drive”
Literate fist-pumpers offer a new treat.
6. Caribou – “Barnowl”
7. Annie – “Always Too Late”
Don’t thank Torontoist, thank Travis T for most of these.