It’s fun when John Darnielle spreads genre wings, whether talking metal in Decibel, guesting on an Aesop Rock jam, or upping the instrumentation during his 4AD tenure, but we’ve always been most fond of the Mountain Goats when dude wails ceaselessly on that trusty guitar, letting loose drill sargeant yowls that somehow add up to smart, funny, touching, emphatic, excellently detailed stories. Such a great lyricist. In that sense — and maybe we’re throwbacks — but gotta say his Shrimper releases and the Zopilote Machine and Sweden-era stuff ruled most heavily (though, yes, The Sunset Tree also ruled heavily). All that said, we’re totally stoked with the older-school sound of “Sax Rohmer #1.” We understand it’s referencing the English “Fu Manchu” novelist (“spies from Imperial China,” the backdrop of clues), but more important is the pounding theme of loving, coming home (“if it’s the last thing that I do”), etc. He’s got blood in his mouth, for fuck’s sake.
Heretic Pride is out 2/19 on 4AD. It’ll include guests like Annie Clark, Erik Friedlander, ever-present Franklin Bruno and Peter Hughes, and Superchunk’s Jon Wurster, but all we really need is Mr. D kicking out his singular oratories. Some tour dates:
02/19 – Anchorage, Alaska @ Wendy Williamson Auditorium (University of Alaska)
02/22 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Richards On Richards
02/23 – Seattle, WA @ Neumo’s
02/25 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
02/26 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir
02/27 – Eugene, OR @ WOW Hall
02/29 – San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s
03/01 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
03/02 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill (matinee)
03/04 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour
03/05 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Troubadour
Here’s not the album cover.