The Mountain Goats
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The Mountain Goats (stylized "the Mountain Goats") is a Carolina-Native Indie-Rock band, first formed as a solo performance by lead singer/ songwriter/ lead guitarist John Darnielle. Darnielle would often, at his first performances, say "Hi we're The Mountain Goats," gesturing to the stage that was empty save for himself. As the popularity of Darnielle's solo-performance grew several musicians joined The Mountain Goats' lineup, completely ruining Darnielle's opening joke. Darnielle remained the only core member of The Mountain Goats, and some temporary additions include bassist Peter Hughes, drummer Jon Wurster, singer-songwriter Franklin Bruno, and bassist and vocalist Rachel Ware. The Mountain Goats successfully drove off any undesirable mainstream attention when they recorded their first tracks using unusually low-tech equipment. In one instance, The Mountain Goats used only a boom box, and distributed their recordings only on cassettes or 7-inch vinyls. In 2002 Darnielle decided to use more professionalized methods but avoided selling out by continuing to write and perform good music. While this transition was met with some resistance by The Mountain Goats' small but loyal fan base, their complaints were eventually quelled after realizing that Darnielle was still moderately poor. The Mountain Goats continue to make music today.
edit Critical Response
In 2005 he was praised as "America's best non-hip hop lyricist" by New Yorker critic Sasha Frere-Jones. After taking longer to think, Frere-Jones decided to remove the phrases "America's" and "non-hip hop" from her draft. However, her reviewer had already been reviewed and printed, and as a result Frere-Jones was laid-off by the New Yorker, citing her "inability to appreciate the difference between music lyrics and the angry ranting of self-indulgent millionaires." Realizing the bad press it would receive for this statement, the New Yorker added a footnote that stated that "There are some good rappers out there. Like Busdriver. Man, have you heard "Imaginary Places"? How does that guy do it?" Supposedly, Busdriver held a press conference to expound his appreciation of the New Yorker's praise. Unfortunately, no record of his speech exists as the rapper read the entire six-page document in the space of thirty seconds. There exists no record indicating that Darnielle and Busdriver have ever met in person.
Darnielle was also included in Paste Magazine's list of "The 100 Best Living Songwriters." Darnielle's number was 82, mostly due to the fact that Paste magazine was attempting to pander to better-known songwriters (for example, Bob Dylan) in order to get a mention in a songwriter's autobiography. As of yet Paste Magazine has been unsuccessful.
Despite this positive response, The Mountain Goats have received some negative response however, mostly in the form of YouTube commenter's oft typo-ridden comments. For many years there was a valiant battle among roving parties, those who liked The Mountain Goats, those who disliked The Mountain Goats, and those who disliked Nickleback. Admittedly, this third party was more difficult to distinguish as it consisted of the entirety of the human race. This text-based war ravaged The Mountain Goats for generations until the dissenters either left or realized they had the emotional depth of teaspoons. There has been a period of peace following this conflict, which continues into the present.
edit Artistic Styling
The Mountain Goats' style expands over numerous genres; from the string accompaniments in "Dilaudid" to the electric guitar-heavy "Lovecraft in Brooklyn." The Mountain Goats' usual style consists of simple melodies plucked on an Acoustic Guitar sometimes paired with a piano or simple drum variation. (For reference, see "This Year" and "Sax Rohmer #1.") Though The Mountain Goats has an enormous catalog of stand-alone singles, Darnielle has described his technique as making each album be one complete story (paraphrase). For example, The Mountain Goats' 2005 album "The Sunset Tree" describes Darnielle's early life and his relationship with his stepfather. After a number of complaints, "The Sunset Tree" was required to have a warning label- on which was inscribed "WARNING: The Series of Songs Contained in this Disc May Induce an Intense Feeling of Blissful Melancholy." Several accounts show that while listening to "The Sunset Tree" a number of people's hearts burst in a case of what doctors described as "Too large a quantity of simultaneous joy and sadness too quickly." Or, as the Pulitzer Prize winning reviewer Jcasaurus puts it, "This shit is awesome."
The Mountain Goats have created a number of story-based series of songs, the most famous of which is the "Alpha Series." The "Alpha Series" tells the story of two married alcoholics. At the beginning of the series, the characters are madly in love, but as the songs progress the two character's relationship begins to deteriorate until it becomes a cesspool of resentment and bitterness. Darnielle's first title for the series was "Marriage," but he scrapped this as not to turn-off any potential dates.
Other series include; the "Going to..." series, the "Pure..." series, the "Orange Ball" series, and the "Quetzalcoatl" series. The last series was met with some anger as nobody could pronounce its title.
Individual songs; Many.
Darnielle has been asked how he can write so many songs. When asked about where he found the time, Darnielle replied "Shut up, I'm writing a song." Darnielle proceeded to spend the remainder of the interview writing in a notebook and muttering under his breath.
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