The Mountain Goats already released one album this year, just not the one they had been planning. When the world went on lockdown due to COVID-19, John Darnielle busted out his faithful old boombox and quickly conceived Songs For Pierre Chuvin, a return to the Mountain Goats’ roots as a lo-fi solo project. But just before all that, Darnielle and has longtime bandmates recorded a proper studio album, and now that’s coming out too.
Darnielle recorded the intriguingly titled Getting Into Knives with his longtime bandmates Peter Hughes, Matt Douglas, and Jon Wurster at Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis the first week of March. The promo materials make sure to point out that they tracked the album in the same room where the Cramps once recorded their debut. It’s dedicated “to the secret priests of the Bell Swamp, those oracles of Brunswick County, wizards of Winnabow, night lords of the thousand acres: whose domain yet grows, may its borders encompass the sky and all beyond.”
Lead single “As Many Candles As Possible” (again with the great titles) begins like so: “When stray dogs finally catch you in the alley/ You don’t consider their point of view/ But when the wounds are healed, and the scars are shiny/ Sometimes then you do.” That’s vicious, and so is the rhythm section here. It’s one of the harder-hitting Mountain Goats songs in memory, and you can hear it below.
01 “Corsican Mastiff Stride”
02 “Get Famous”
03 “Picture of My Dress”
04 “As Many Candles As Possible”
05 “Tidal Wave”
06 “Pez Dorado”
07 “The Last Place I Saw You Alive”
08 “Bell Swamp Connection”
09 “The Great Gold Sheep”
10 “Rat Queen”
11 “Wolf Count”
12 “Harbor Me”
13 “Getting Into Knives”
Getting Into Knives is out 10/23 on Merge.