The Mountain Goats – “Damn These Vampires” (Stereogum Premiere)

When the Mountain Goats announced All Eternals Deck most folks focused on the fact that tr00 metal fan John Darnielle had death metal legend Erik Rutan (Morbid Angel, Hate Eternal) on hand to produce four of the 13 tracks. To the point that people assumed Darnielle was, in fact, planning to release a DM album. He debunked this quickly. Remember, just because you’re recording with a death metal dude doesn’t mean … etc. (Though this P4K interview with Darnielle’s worth reading here, especially if you’re curious how Rutan influenced certain sounds.) As mentioned previously, we also shouldn’t overemphasize the Rutan thing because All Eternals was recorded in four different studios: Rutan did four songs, John Congleton handled four, Brandon Eggleston had one, and Scott Solter turned knobs for the rest. Unlike past Mountain Goats albums it’s hard picking out a central theme (or overall feeling), but Darnielle’s spoken about how “the songs cluster around themes of hidden things and the dread that hidden things inspire” and “the excitement, the attraction, the magnetic draw that scary unknown hidden things exert.” He’s said “other possible points of reference” include “‘Burnt Offerings,’ ‘Go Ask Alice,’ and that one scene in ‘The Warriors’ where they’re on the train and the sun’s coming up and they’re safe but you know the scars are permanent now.” We’re also told the title All Eternals Deck refers to “an apocryphal tarot deck.” It’s fun excavating Darnielle’s work, as always, and you might as well get started at the beginning with this opener, the Congleton-produced “Damn These Vampires,” one that plays on this horror flick thing (“God damn these bite marks deep in my arteries…”) as a classic Western. Or at least a story that can be told using genre imagery: “Brave young cowboys of the near north side / mount those bridge rails, ride all night / scream when captured: arch your back / let this whole town hear your knuckles crack…” This is a Mountain Goats album best experienced through headphones, so maybe don those.

The Mountain Goats – “Damn These Vampires”

All Eternals Deck:

01 “Damn These Vampires”
02 “Birth of Serpents”
03 “Estate Sale Sign”
04 “Age of Kings”
05 “The Autopsy Garland”
06 “Beautiful Gas Mask”
07 “High Hawk Season”
08 “Prowl Great Cain”
09 “Sourdoire Valley Song”
10 “Outer Scorpion Squadron”
11 “For Charles Bronson”
12 “Never Quite Free”
13 “Liza Forever Minnelli”

All Eternals Deck is out 3/29 via Merge. (The album doesn’t include Twitter exclusive “Tyler Lambert’s Grave,” which you should download now.) Because the metal kids will be curious, Rutan produced “Birth Of Serpents” (of course), “The Autopsy Garland” (of course),” “Beautiful Gas Mask” (yes) and “Sourdoire Valley Song.” The trio’s heading out on tour with North Carolina BTW (and later Gayngs members) Megafaun, who’re supporting on all dates except for 4/8 in Chapel Hill.

03/24 – Richmond, VA @ The National
03/25 – Washington DC @ 930 Club
03/26 – York, PA @ Strand-Capitol PAC
03/28 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
03/29 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
04/01 – Boston, MA @ Paradise
04/02 – Ithaca, NY @ Castaways
04/03 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House
04/05 – Chicago, IL @ The Vic
04/06 – Nashville, TN @ Mercy Lounge
04/07 – Atlanta GA @ Variety Playhouse
04/08 – Chapel Hill, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
04/10 – Asheville, NC @ The Grey Eagle
04/11 – Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center
04/12 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr Smalls
04/15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of Living Arts

Jon Wurster, Darnielle, and Peter Hughes out stargazing:

The Mountain Goats Promo Photo