What I’ve Been Listening to: Darnielle Binge Edition

Well, over the past month, I’ve bought a total of 6 CD’s, which I really couldn’t afford.  Oh well, it’s just money, right?  Anyway, I’ve been on a John Darnielle/Mountain Goats Binge lately, but before we get to that, here’s some other things I’ve been listening to:

Black Sheep Boy/Black Sheep Boy Apprentice-Okkervil River-This is a great album, in the truest sense of the word. Nothing feels like it’s been just thrown on here; everything fits.  It’s concept album, even if the "narrative" isn’t as straight forward is in other concept albums.  The "Black Sheep Boy"  turns up in the eponymous song, as well as in "In a Radio Song," "So Come Back, I am Waiting", and in the Appendix’s "Black Sheep Boy #4," and "Another Radio Song."  All the aforementioned are great,(ESPECIALLY "Another Radio Song"), as is "For Real", and "Get Big."  You always hurt the one you love.  Get it if you like indie rock, or if you like alt-country and your name’s not J.A.Y.S.O.N.

Eban and Charley Soundtrack-Stephin Merritt-Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields scores this film and does the soundtrack duties.  If I have one complaint about this, it’s that at roughly 37 minutes, it’s much too short.  Actually, if I have two complaints, the second would be that only 6 out of the 16 tracks on this disc have lyrics (which are my favorite part of anything by Merritt).  Still, as a score, it’s interesting, and as an album, it had "My Little Ukelele", which is a great song.  If you are a fan of Merritt’s work, get it used (I paid $5.00); if you are not familiar, get a Magnetic Fields album (Like i or 69 Love Songs).  If you are familiar with Merritt’s work, then you must be a fan. 

Vampire Weekend-Vampire Weekend- Vampire weekend rock out with an interesting mix of new-wave nostalgia and Afro-Caribbean beats.  OK, I know fuck-all about Afro-Caribbean beats, but I haven’t read a review of this band that hasn’t included some variation of the phrase (sometimes ommitting the Caribbean part), so I thought I’d get it out of the way.  Anyway, this is good stuff.  "Oxford Comma" has become one of my favorite songs to sing in the shower, "A-Punk" sounds not like a new-wave pastiche, but rather EXACTLY like an 80’s new-wave song.  It’s all good here, though "One (Blake’s Got a New Face)" sounds a little too much like Sting-meets-They Might Be Giants.  Highlights are "Oxford Comma" (obviously), "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa" and "M79."  What should you skip?  Well, here’s a hint: I’m not a Sting fan.  The vocals on the whole album are smooth; this is what Maroon 5 might sound like if they didn’t suck.


None Shall Pass-Aesop Rock-What?  You like rap, but you’re turned off by the lack of intelligence rap music that’s played on the radio has?  Well, Aesop Rock is the MC for you; He has an Bachelor’s degree in English (according to the Wikipedias)!  Seriously, though, very good rap album that, besides featuring such great songs as "Bring Back Pluto," "Catacomb Kids," and "39 Thieves," also features the lead singer of The Mountain Goats (John Darnielle) on "Coffee."  I’ll admit it: I only got this because I’m slowly becoming a Mountain Goats completist (I WILL find a copy of Taboo VI: The Homecoming!), but it’s a great album to listen to while working out ("None Shall Pass" is a great song to run to).

We Shall All Be Healed-The Mountain Goats-What can I say?  I loves me a concept album!  This one is about Darnielle’s meth-using friends from his teenage years.  It’s filled with feelings of invincibility and realizations of the opposite.  If I had to pick a least favorite track, it would be "Letter from Belgium," though it’s not a bad song.  The highlights would have to be "Palmcorder Yajna," "The Young Thousands," "Your Belgium Things," "Quitto," "Home Again, Garden Grove," and "Against Pollution."  I swear that the chords for "Cotton" are the same ones in the Velvet Underground’s "Rock and Roll."  WSABH is a great album, though I think I preferred The Mountain Goats’ 2005 release, The Sunset Tree, to this one. Mostly-accoustic-folk-rock, this is. 

Heretic Pride-The Mountain Goats-I’m still digesting this one, as I got it on Friday night (it just came out last Tuesday), but I’m really digging it so far.  The first single (see video in a previous post), "Sax Rohmer # 1" is one of my favorite Mountain Goats’ songs, as are "Heretic Pride," the rocking "Lovecraft in Brooklyn" (featuring one of my favorite lines: "I woke up afraid of my own shadow/Like, genuinely afraid"), and "So Desparate", a song that I can relate to all too well.  As much as I love this album, "Tianchi Lake" and "How to Embrace a Swamp Monster"seem a little trite compared to the rest of the album.  Still, I always say that if an album has 3 great songs, it’s worth the purchase; this album has at least 8 great songs, and a few really good ones.  I’d have no problem letting someone listen to this album as an introduction to the band.


9 Responses to “What I’ve Been Listening to: Darnielle Binge Edition”

  1. Your reviews are better than Pitchfork’s! At least you listen to the albums first.

  2. I was just reading about Filter magazine reviewing the newest Black Crowes CD without listening to it. They actually admitted it when pressed. They said that they don’t have time to listen to every CD, but a high profile CD like that one needed reviewed, so they opted to make “educated guesses” about the quality!

  3. Oh, and Kelly…did you notice that I used the word “eponymous”? I didn’t even have to look it up! That was one of your “words of the day”, wasn’t it?

  4. I take umbrage at this, sir. You’ve besmirched me. You should listen to what I’m listening to, for your health.

  5. Heh. Yeah, I thought that Darnielle Binge looked like a name. Someone should tell John Darnielle to start a side project!

  6. A correction to the above…I’m liking “How to Embrace a Swamp Creature” more and more…lyrically, I’ve always liked it, but it seems musically weak. It’s growing on me, though.

  7. Aesop Rock’s stuff is dope! I will have to research some of the records you mention though

  8. there’s a copy of Taboo up here:

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