Mountain Goats Show Preview

Author: Rolands Lauzums

Older indie rock bands tend to bind themselves to certain constants. Dinosaur Jr. albums will encompass the sound of grilling out in your backyard. Superchunk will continue to play measured punk songs for an audience that now would rather hear it in a cafe in Atwood instead of a grimy basement. John Darnielle, under the Mountain Goats name, will hammer out vaguely folksy tunes on his acoustic guitar layered with witty and humorous lyrics. Well, that was true until the release of The Mountain Goats’s album, Goths, earlier this year. On it, Darnielle dropped the guitar, shedding what seemed like an integral gear to the machine that kept churning out solid albums like Beat the Champ, Transcendental Youth or All Eternals Deck. But perhaps packing up the obsolete machine into the attic is what the band needs to stay fresh and interesting and prevent them from remaining a band that aging hipsters see to only hear “This Year” and “No Children” back to back. Goths is John Darnielle’s best attempt to try something new since he dropped the solo lo-fi recording process for 2002’s Tallahassee. While there’s no frantic strumming here, Goths still remains a Mountain Goats album showcasing Darnielle’s clever lyrics, this time through a concept album about the 80s goth culture and its travel from the UK over here to the US.

On July 8th, The Mountain Goats arrive here in Madison once again with their new album in tow as well as their impressively deep catalouge. Like how it helped revitalize their studio output, it should be interesting to see how the guitarless songs from the new album augment their live act. However, there are still the curmudgeon among us who balk at the prospect of any change. While it would be a difficult ask of the band to play every hit from every one of their 16 albums (and many more obscure releases), they have made it a point to play deep cuts for fans. While hoping for them to play their wonderful cover of Ace of Base’s “The Sign” may be just be a far-away dream, they’re sure to impress even the most cynical critic.