The Mountain Goats, an enormously prolific and powerful force within indie rock for decades, have a new EP, one that they only announced yesterday. The four-song collection Hex Of Infinite Binding follows Marsh Witch Visions, the EP that that Mountain Goats released last year. And in the Bandcamp text accompanying the new record, frontman John Darnielle writes that he’s “hereby centering an intention to spend more time” in “the general spiritual realm of the EP.” If you’ve spent any time with the early Mountain Goats EPs, you know that this is very good news.
Darnielle’s new songs are, of course, vastly different from what was on those old EPs. He’s gotten into softer, more ornate sounds, and the new EP, like the recent batch of covers that Darnielle shared, is full of pianos and woodwinds and hushed vocals. But Darnielle remains a delightfully arcane writer. Consider the Hex Of Infinite Binding opener “Song For Ted Sallis,” an ode to the Marvel Comics character who is transformed into the silent and sad swamp-monster known as Man-Thing.
The new EP is, on first listen, absolutely lovely. You can stream it and read what Darnielle has to say about it below:
WELCOME WAYWARD TRAVELER TO THE HEX VORTEX. I used to release a whole bunch of EPs. I miss the general spiritual realm of the EP and am hereby centering an intention to spend more time thereat. These songs represent, in part, the first salvo of my resolve. “Almost Every Door” and “Song for Ted Sallis” were written at home in North Carolina sometime during the summer and recorded by Brandon Eggleston at Electrical Audio in Chicago during our three-night stand at Old Town School of Folk Music. “Tucson Fog” is a home recording from last December, things can get a little dark in December. “Hospital Reaction Shot” was produced & engineered by Chris Stamey at Modern Recording, Chapel Hill, NC; Chris also wrote the string arrangements and played bass and electric guitar. Percussion on “Almost Every Door” and “Song for Ted Sallis” by Matt Espy from Dead Rider, maximum respect. Only one of these songs is directly about death but the person or persons in all these songs will someday die. The death one, “Hospital Reaction Shot,” is drawn from a picture of Mickey Deans holding a press conference to inform the world of the death of Judy Garland, to whom he had been married for three months. Yet the press conference is a sham, because Judy Garland lives, as Ted Sallis lives, as do many others thought missing. They can often be found in the vortex shortly before sundown, plotting their return. We live in hope!
You can buy the Hex Of Infinite Binding EP at Bandcamp.