on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2017 5 Dez

„I‘m pretty hardcore, but I‘m not that hardcore“

von: Michael Engelbrecht Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off


… from the state of independance, my kindest regards, my deepest love, my never-ending applause for the latest song cycle of  writer / singer / composer John Darnielle, and his most „Steelish Dan“ – work to date. One of my five star albums of 2017, this is the music I like to listen to in the shower, and in the electric studio with all candles burning! ALL CANDLES BURNING. LOVE LETTERS STRAIGHT FROM MY HEART. Rewind, „steelish dan“??! Yep, from the point of view of jazz vibes, accuracy and smart lyrics.

One of the secrets of my Radio Nights – since „A Coroner‘s Gambit“ fell into my hands, one of my top ten „lo-fi“-albums ever (Neil Young‘s „Tonight‘s the Night“ is another one), I played songs from nearly every single Mountain Goats record what is quite a lot looking back the long and winding road of times lived & times lost. Thus, for the unconsciously unhappy majority who never heard a fucking note of this genius, another chance to revise history, this is what Dan Mork from PopMatters said about „Goths“ … (just let me add, John Darnielle had experienced more darkness in his childhood days than good Dan seems to suggest, tons of darkness, and it has been no „old friend“)


Goths is the first Mountain Goats album to be completely devoid of acoustic or electric guitars. It’s an album about wearing all black to mid-afternoon warehouse shows, dark, drug fueled nightclubs, and hardcore elitism. And it has no guitars. Of course, John Darnielle’s tremendous songwriting makes it work better than it would with guitars. The smooth, calm horns and electric piano enhance the juxtaposition of adulthood and youth, of internal identity and external presentation, of mainstream popularity and self-fulfillment. Darnielle’s writing is as dense and evocative as ever and works well with the jazz and soul instrumentals. Goths is an album of subtle conflict and quiet rebellion, an ode to the darkness from an artist who has accepted his place outside of it. The refrain on „The Grey King and the Silver Flame Attunement“ perhaps sums up the album’s thematic material best as Darnielle sings, „I’m pretty hardcore, but I’m not that hardcore.“ (Dan Kok)

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