John Darnielle has always used poetic language, whether it’s in writing lyrics for his indie folk band The Mountain Goats or in his first novel, “Wolf in White Van,” which was on the National Book Award for Fiction.
The ambitious songwriter (and recent new father) today announced the release of Beat the Champ, an upcoming Mountain Goats album about, what appears on the surface, wrestling. But deep down, of course, is lyricism outlining ideas that are “really more about death and difficult-to-navigate interior spaces than wrestling,” as Darnielle explains on the band’s website. Continue reading →
Acting as our very first guest DJ on the Indie Rock Hit Parade, Jon Wurster brought an eclectic selection of songs to share. Each of the songs connects to a specific memory for the Superchunk/Mountain Goats drummer, many hearkening back to his days as a teenager growing up just outside Philadelphia. Wurster recalls shopping for records at the Montgomeryville Mall, befriending the Dead Milkmen and an incident while searching for the London studio where The Clash and the Sex Pistols recorded.
The Indie Rock Hit Parade returns to the XPN wavelength tonight at 11pm! It’s a very special show tonight, as we welcome our very first guest DJ to the Hit Parade: Jon Wurster! You might know Jon as the drummer from Superchunk, the Mountain Goats and Bob Mould‘s band (among others). Or maybe you know him as one half of Scharpling & Wurster, the comedy duo behind The Best Show. No matter how you know him, you won’t want to miss him spinning some of his favorite songs and sharing stories about growing up just outside of Philly. Continue reading →
Swedish pop singer/songwriter Jens Lekman is playing at Union Transfer tonight. His third full-length album I Know What Love Isn’t, which dropped in September, surprised fans by taking a huge step away from the characteristically romantic Lekman on older records. I Know What Love Isn’t may just define the term “break-up album,” Lekman’s sad but smooth voice reminiscing over a former love. The all ages performance tonight begins at 9; more details can be found here. Watch the video for “Erica America” from I Know What Love Isn’t below.
Last Monday, Rolling Stone began streaming Transcendental Youth, the newest album from The Mountain Goats. The album, which drops on Tuesday, quickly follows the indie folk group’s 2011 album All Eternals Deck. Don’t miss The Mountain Goats’ Philly performance at The Theatre of The Living Arts on October 11th, which starts at 7 PM. More details and ticket information for the show can be found here. Stream Transcendental Youth before it becomes available for purchase here.
The Mountain Goats are releasing a new album, Transcendental Youth, on October 2nd on Merge Records. The band is playing the TLA on Thursday, October 11th. John Darnielle started The Mountain Goats in the early Nineties and for the first several years he was the sole member of the band. While he has remained the core member of the band, over the years he’s collaborated with a number of musicians including John Vanderslice, Kaki King and Owen Pallett. The current lineup of the band includes Darnielle, Peter Hughes, and Jon Wurster. Go here for tickets and more information about the show. Below, download a new song from The Mountain Goats’ forthcoming album.
Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company
On the heels of releasing his latest full-length record, Dark Shores, Strand of Oaks plays Philadelphia tonight, opening up for recent Free at Noon highlight The Tallest Man on Earth. Knowing Oaks’ main man Tim Showalter to be a fellow with broad-ranging and exquisite taste in music, we asked him to make us a Spotify playlist to provide a snapshot of where he was while working on his new record. Interestingly, he talked about how focused on his craft he becomes in the album-writing zone that finding new music becomes secondary to making new music. From Showalter:
My approach to music listening is pretty boring. Especially when I started making records, my appetite for discovery really subsided. My manager Ryan sends me new records that I always love and my friend Morgan is huge source for tunes. It really feels like I’m some recluse that people are sending little bits of the outside world too. If you ask my wife what I listen to it would be probably be youtube demo videos of synthesizers and guitar pedals. With that said I will try and combine a list that feels somewhat relevant to where my life has been in the past year or so. Some of these songs influenced what became Dark Shores. Actually, the two songs (Active Child, Future Islands) we’re big influences in me NOT making a Dark Shores a synth album. They made such beautiful albums that I really didn’t want to compete. I was also considering making a pure Pumpkins list but spotify seems pretty weak on deep cuts…
You can listen to Showalter’s mix in the player below. Strand of Oaks plays with The Tallest Man on Earth at Union Transfer, 1026 Spring Garden Street, tonight at 8 p.m. The all-ages show is sold out.
FRIDAY, APRIL 15
Many of The Mountain Goats‘ 13 studio albums have specific themes—like The Life Of The World To Come, in which every song is named for a bible verse, and We Shall All Be Healed, which details the lives of meth addicts. Singer-songwriter John Darnielle’s most recent record, All Eternals Deck (released last month), has no obvious theme (though there are songs about Judy Garland, Neanderthals, and Goya paintings), but Darnielle has said that the album is tied together by the theme of survival. That would certainly be fitting: He’s been recording ultra-literal, nasally pop songs for over 20 years; to survive that long in the music industry is a feat, but to survive that long as an indie artist in nearly unprecedented. As is the case with his other albums, reviews of All Eternals Deck regularly laud Darnielle as one of the best lyricists of the last 20 years. The Mountain Goats perform with Megafaun at 9 p.m. at Theatre Of The Living Arts; tickets to the show are $27. —Dave Simpson
Also playing: Wye Oak + Callers, Secret Mountains at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10); Joan as Police Woman + Jen Hess at Tin Angel (7:30 p.m., 21+, $12); Spectrum + Asteroid #4, Music For Headphones at North Star Bar (9 p.m., 21+, $15)
SATURDAY, APRIL 16
Yoni Wolf of WHY? frequently mentions his ambivalence toward touring, so it will be interesting to see how he handles three shows at First Unitarian Church this weekend. He’s sold out all three performances, despite the lack of a new album since his 2009 LP, Eskimo Snow. Wolf has always pursued a versatile musical integrity over music industry success: He is an original member of the Anticon Collective and gained notice after releasing songs with experimental rappers Doseone and Odd Nosdam; despite their critical acclaim, Wolf left the group to pursue solo work. He’s always mixed hip-hop and folk (as well as other genres), but Eskimo Snow was the least hip-hop. The album descended further into the darkness with which his previous releases danced. It’s obvious from the sold out shows that Wolf still has the audience’s attention; the remaining question is what he will do with it. Yoni Wolf performs with Hop Along at 6 & 9 p.m. Saturday, April 16, and 6 p.m. Sunday, April 17, at First Unitarian Church; tickets to the all-ages show are SOLD OUT. —Dave Simpson
Also playing: Pissed Jeans at Beautiful World Syndicate (2 p.m., all ages, free); When I Was 12 + Slow Animal, Gypsy Death And You, Caboder at Danger Danger Gallery (9 p.m., all ages, $5-$10); DJ Logic + Bodega, Kuf Knotz at The Blockley (9 p.m., $12-$15)
SUNDAY, APRIL 17
Danielson + Strapping Fieldhands, Hermit Thrushes at Johnny Brenda’s (9 p.m., 21+, $10-$12); Daytrader + Hostage Calm, Daylight, Giving Chase, Quiet Arcs, American Royalty at The Barbary (3 p.m., all ages, $10); Macklemore & Ryan Lewis + Shad, Voss (8 p.m., 21+, $8)