Posts Tagged ‘mountain goats’

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Music, tech, and culture roundup

September 18, 2009

canadianMusicWikipedia

Colbert Report to stream albums. The Flaming Lips were on the The Colbert Report on Wednesday night, and the Mountain Goats (whoo!) are scheduled to be guests in a couple of weeks. More interesting, though, is that both artists will be streaming their albums, before the official release dates, on the Colbert website.  Here’s hoping it leads to new fans and bigger sales. [via Underwire]

Canadian music wiki. Journalism student and CBC Radio 3 intern Amanda Ash is working on putting together a Wikipedia-style database of Canadian music as her thesis project, tapping into CanCon-loving music fans (whence the awesome illo, above).  She’s soliciting ideas – go help her out.

Another fun online musical toy. In the same vein as the online Tenori-On, there’s a web-based musical instrument, Nudge, with a range of sounds and tempos. If you come up with something you like, you can embed it in your blog or share it with your friends. Warning: making pretty melodies is quite the timesuck. [via Indie Music Tech].

There and back again. Over at the New Yorker, Sasha Frere-Jones has a thoughtful profile of Trent Reznor, tracing his journey from indie, to major label, to indie again.

What does filesharing mean for composers? Lyricist and composer Björn Ulvaeus (sound familiar? argues that musicians can ‘sing for their supper,’ but songwriters can’t, and they might end up the big losers with declining music sales. This probably explain why composers and songwriters are trying to get a cut from 30-second song previews on iTunes.

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Cruisin’ with the Mountain Goats

December 31, 2008

Norwegian Jewel

Go on a cruise with the Mountain Goats, the Weakerthans, Sloan, and many more. The Barenaked Ladies have organized a six-day trip, Ships & Dip V, on the Norwegian Jewel [pictured], with you and whole slew of artists. It’s the first week of February, starting from Miami and going to Cozumel and the Grand Stirrup Cay. Part of me thinks, “Ooh, a week  with John Darnielle and John K. Samson” and then the rest of my higher brain functions kick in and remind me that it’s a cruise, and not even a cool cruise.

However, if it sounds like a fun- and music-filled vacation to you, you can find full details here. Book fast – there are only a hundred cabins left (of course, it’s also just a month away).

MP3: The Weakerthans – Left and Leaving

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Upcoming: AC Newman, Get Guilty

December 10, 2008

acnewman_getguilty

Speaking of the New Pornographers, their head honcho A.C. Newman‘s second solo album, Get Guilty, now has a release date – January 20th – and a tour schedule. He’ll be hitting Neumo’s in Seattle on February 21st and the Paradise in Boston on the March 14th (full tour schedule here). Nicole Atkins and Jon Wurster – better known as the drummer for the Mountain Goats – do guest stints on the album, so I am extra-psyched about hearing the whole thing. Here’s a taste to keep you going until then.

MP3: AC Newman – Submarines of Stockholm [preorder]

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Concert Notes: The Mountain Goats and Kaki King

October 21, 2008

[embedded YouTube video; if you can’t see it, click here]

[Showbox at the Market, Seattle, WA; October 20, 2008]

I’ve seen the Mountain Goats umpteen times, and every show that I’ve been to has been amazing – I’ve never been to a show where I felt like John Darnielle has given less than his best. Last night was no exception, and the superlative Mountain Goats performance was only highlighted by opener Kaki King.

There’s a fable for artists, whose source is now lost to me. The story is that two budding potters were taking a class. One neophyte potter was told that his efforts should go towards making the perfect pot, and that he would be graded on the perfection on a single piece. The second was told that she would be graded on the volume of pots that she turned out; that she shouldn’t worry much about any given pot, as her grade would just be based on the total number. At the end of the class, the student who was just interested in getting pots made was making better pots than the student who agonized over making each one perfect. I thought of this story last night as the Mountain Goats played ‘Going to Georgia.’ It’s an astonishing piece of songwriting, a perfect merger of music, lyrics, and emotion. I once listened to it a dozen times in a row, and each time I heard “she smiled as she eased the gun from my hand,” I felt like someone had reached into my chest and torqued my heart. Darnielle is famously prolific and, like the potter in the story, it’s clear that he’s honed his craft. It comes through in both the quality of individual songs and in the sheer depth of stellar songs from his catalog that he can draw from for his live shows.

As well as being an exceptional songwriter, Darnielle is a phenomenal performer. He always comes across as happy to be performing and fully engaged in his interactions with his band and with the audience. One of the manifestations of this is his between-song banter.  A highlight last night was his response to shouted-out song requests. Like most musicians, Darnielle doesn’t do requests from the audience. (listen up, concertgoers!) He described his response in terms of Kafka’s The Castle, in which the protagonist tries to convince the guards to let him in. “The guards say, “You can give us money. We wouldn’t want you to feel like you hadn’t tried everything you could.” So he gives them his money, and they take it, and they still don’t play Ace of Bass.”

Darnielle’s onstage gifts were thrown into stark relief by his tourmate and collaborator, Kaki King. It’s abundantly clear that King is technically proficient, and I’m happy to see a guitar goddess get added to the mostly male pantheon. But her performance was insular. She barely engaged with her band, much less the audience, and her few remarks were surprisingly mean-spirited. She introduced what I presume was her best-known song with, “I’m contractually obligated to play this song. So you can all touch yourselves now.” Not a very effective way to endear yourself to your existing fans, much less win over new ones. And I’m sorry, Ms. King – you’re just not famous enough to be bored with playing your ‘hits.’  The only time she seemed seriously engaged with anything besides her guitar was when she was sharing a stage with Darnielle – she was smiling, facing him, and her body language said, loud and clear, “I’m playing with you!” (they performed several songs from the Black Pear Tree EP and the Smiths’ ‘I’m so Sorry’).  King has a lot to learn from her tourmate, who is admittedly a master – I would follow John Darnielle into Hell if he sang and played his guitar as we went, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

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The Mountain Goats: Satanic Messiah EP

October 10, 2008

Woo! The Mountain Goats (and by ‘Mountain Goats,’ we mean ‘John Darnielle’) just recorded a four-song EP, Satanic Messiah. It’s available for download here; donations via PayPal or Google Checkout are encouraged ($3 for the ‘congregant’ level, $6.66 for the ‘disciple’ level, and $10 for the ‘acolyte’ level). Despite the title and Darnielle’s well-known obsession with black metal, it’s classic Mountain Goats with acoustic guitar, piano and vocals (albeit somewhat darker themes than the usual). It’ll also be available as a double 7″, but in an edition strictly limited to 665 (the 666th copy will be Darnielle’s own, of course).

download page

Previously: A Mountain Goats sampler; John Darnielle plays with the Weakerthans; Upcoming: Mountain Goats + Kaki King EP

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Upcoming: Mountain Goats + Kaki King EP

September 8, 2008

The Mountain Goats and guitarist-singer-songwriter Kaki King recorded a six-song EP, Black Pear Tree, and they just released the first single from it. Titled “Thank You Mario But Our Princess is in Another Castle,” John Darnielle describes it as being from the point of view of Toad (shown above being used as a human – er. Toad – shield by the Peach Princess). King and Darnielle are planning on having the EP available as a download and as vinyl in time for their joint tour, which kicks off on October 13 in Chicago.

MP3: The Mountain Goats and Kaki King – Thank You Mario But Our Princess is in Another Castle

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A Mountain Goats sampler

April 13, 2008

[embedded YouTube video; if you can’t see it, click here]

I’ve been on something of a Mountain Goats kick recently, partly because of the recent concerts and partly because listening to John Darnielle’s songs can make anyone feel better about their personal life. I ended up putting together a ‘best of’ CD for myself, and then proffering it to assorted friends. In lieu of accosting you personally, grabbing your lapels, and shouting, ‘John Darnielle is a brilliant songwriter and lyricist!’, I instead humbly offer this small sampling of his work. All links are to YouTube.

Going to Georgia (live); from Zopilote Machine, 1994

See America Right (live), from Tallahassee, 2002

This Year (video), from The Sunset Tree, 2005

Woke Up New (video), from Get Lonely, 2006

Sax Rohmer #1 (video), from Heretic Pride, 2008

Intrigued? For more info, check out this recent interview and session on NPR.