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Take a nice big bite: The Mountain Goats, Hop Along & Young Guv on the Indie Rock Hit Parade

The Mountain Goats | Photo by Lissa Gottwals
The Mountain Goats | Photo by Lissa Gottwals

If you’re looking for action, look no further than tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade on XPN. Starting at 11pm, it’s a non-stop, two-hour showcase of some seriously great new releases (with a couple of old favorites thrown in for good measure). The centerpiece of tonight’s show is our Weekly Album Spotlight, where we’ll be hearing a few tracks from Beat The Champ, the new release from The Mountain Goats. Sure, this is their 15th full-length, but John Darnielle and company have become reinvigorated over the past few years, amping up production value and honing the wry and personal lyrics that have become the band’s trademark. Even if you’re not a fan of professional wrestling, you won’t be able to resist the self-examination and reflection (and hooks) to be found on Beat The Champ. Aside from that, we’ve got a stacked lineup of new tunes to get to, including a few of these.

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Stream The Mountain Goats’ Beat the Champ before their upcoming Union Transfer show

The Mountain Goats | Photo by Lissa Gotwals
The Mountain Goats | Photo by Lissa Gotwals

Q: What happens when you mix old-school professional wrestling and folk trio The Mountain Goats?

A: Beat the Champ, the group’s upcoming album available for streaming over on NPR’s First Listen. Much like their other albums, Beat the Champ plays like an energetic history lesson and insightful look into a niche environment. Continue reading →

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The Mountain Goats will bring a new album about pro wrestling and death to Union Transfer in April

The Mountain Goats | photo via mountain-goats.com
The Mountain Goats | photo via mountain-goats.com

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 →

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Philly Boy: Listen to Jon Wurster’s Guest DJ set on the Indie Rock Hit Parade

Jon Wurster as seen in Superchunk's "Crossed Wires" video
Jon Wurster as seen in Superchunk’s “Crossed Wires” video

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.

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Jon Wurster takes the reins on tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Jon Wurster | Photo by Jason Arthurs
Jon Wurster | Photo by Jason Arthurs

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 →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Jens Lekman at Union Transfer, Reef the Lost Cauze at the Trocadero, The Mountain Goats at TLA, The Districts at World Cafe Live

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.

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Stream The Mountain Goats Transcendental Youth

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. 

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My Morning Download: “Cry For Judas” by The Mountain Goats (playing TLA in October)


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
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Listen to a Spotify playlist from Strand of Oaks’ Tim Showalter (playing Union Transfer tonight)

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.