A niche but nice one - covers album and companion to the Night Vale Presents podcast I Only Listen To The Mountain Goats, curated by podcast evangelist Joseph Fink and Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle. Featuring covers from the likes of Ibibio Sound Machine and Andrew Bird. Out on Merge, on opaque pink and blue vinyl.
- Double LP £28.99
- Shipping cost: £4.25 ?
- NormanPoints: 290 ?
- MRG617LP / Limited edition, coloured vinyl 2LP on Merge, housed in gatefold sleeve. LP1 is opaque pink vinyl / LP2 is opaque blue vinyl
- Includes download code
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As an undying Mountain Goats fanboy I feel it imperative to review this record that exists simply because a podcast does. If you haven’t heard it, ‘I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats’ is a series of conversations between Night Vale Presents writer Joseph Fink and singer-songwriter John Darnielle, a singular mind and endlessly thoughtful dude who has a new way of thinking about literally anything in and outside of the artistic process. Listen to it; you may have to get past some comparisons of podcasting to church experience, but that's fine, it’ll be worth it.
This companion piece offers fourteen by-invitation covers of the Mountain Goats’ ‘All Hail West Texas’, of which the podcast lives in tribute to. Some are straightforward with a no frills permitted policy: Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace opens proceedings with a cover of “The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton” that’s slightly faster and louder, maybe because it’d be impossible to cover this song at its own pace knowing how crucial and inspiring it’s come to be. Other songs are loyal to Darnielle while also being their own genre exercises: the fantastic Ibibio Sound Machine make a version of “Colour In Your Cheeks” that is just as odd and sleuthing -- and, in the end, just as welcoming, offering a kinda dance party where Darnielle once offered warm, homely strums.
And, in honour of the Darnielle of it all, as well as the artistic philosophy of the podcast, some artists use these Mountain Goats songs as an opportunity to get closer to their own craft, to go quintessentially themselves with the skewering words of a Darnielle song. “Distant Stations” has Andrew Bird doing his baroque violin pluck around an indie rock song; saw-musician and ex Neutral Milk Hotel fellow Julian Koster creates a typically absurd version of “Jeff Davis County Blues”. And Nana Grizol do pop-punk with trumpets and gang vocals, as if to say thanks, John, for letting me believe in myself and be firm in what I do. At the end of the day, that’s kinda what I love about ‘I only Listen to the Mountain Goats’: it’s a project about the live-affirming solipsism of working on your own thing and remaining staunchly, sincerely proud of it.
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