on life, music etc beyond mainstream


Here we have the new album from my beloved Mountain Goats. Remember, the last one, „Dark In Here“, was an absolute gem, a highlight in lyrical and musical terms, even for the band‘s high standards. Bleed Out is more straight forwward, inspired by action movies from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s, in which Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle found comfort toward the end of 2020. Cozied up in his North Carolina home, Darnielle watched French thrillers like 2008’s Mesrine, vintage Italian Poliziotteschi, and 1974’s The Freakmaker starring Donald Pleasence. Here‘s the song „Make You Suffer“. I highly recommend, after listening to the album two times in a row, to go to one of your favourite action movies from the days of old. In my case, 1968‘s neo-noir action thriller „Bullitt“ with Steve McQueen never fails. „It’s an interesting question, though: can you get emotional depth from things created solely to thrill?“ this is what Michael Hamm writes in his three star review, and I kindly answer: „Yes, you can.

This entry was posted on Sonntag, 21. August 2022 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Mark Denning:

    Revenge is a bit like eating an entire half-gallon of ice cream by yourself — it may feel good in the moment, but you’re almost certain to regret it later on. John Darnielle understands both sides of the equation, and those emotions are at the core of 2022’s Bleed Out, the 23rd album from his group the Mountain Goats and a beautifully crafted study of the joys and perils of bad karma.

    According to Darnielle, he’d been watching a lot of thrillers from the 1970s and ’80s when he was writing this material, and many of the songs brilliantly evoke that fleeting moment where the protagonist pauses before leaping into the maelstrom. He’s equally conscious of the rush that comes with obeying that impulse — especially on the roaring „Wage Wars Get Rich Die Handsome“ — as well as the darkness that comes in the aftermath, as in „Mark on You.“

    Though Bleed Out is primarily focused on the darker side of human emotion, Darnielle never strays far from examining it all through the lens of classic crime cinema. These songs often take the familiar tropes of the genre (titles like „Training Montage,“ „Extraction Point,“ and „Need More Bandages“ tell you what to expect) and dig into the thoughts and feelings of these standard-issue characters in a way that’s smart and unexpected.

    Exploring the inner lives of people most folks think they know from their surfaces has been one of Darnielle’s favorite themes on albums like 2015’s Beat the Champ and 2017’s Goths, and Bleed Out follows a trickier path but proves to be just as eloquent.

    As good as Darnielle’s songwriting is — and it has been consistently great for well over two decades now — the best script won’t work without the right execution, and Bleed Out finds him and his collaborators at the top of their game. His vocals are crisp and impassioned at just the right emotional register, and his band (Peter Hughes on bass and guitar; Matt Douglas on guitar, keys, and sax; and Jon Wurster on drums and percussion) is nothing short of superb, filling out the melodies with taste, smarts, and force.

    As is often the case in a vintage thriller, the team has also brought in a secret weapon, in this case Alicia Bognanno of the band Bully, who produced the album and adds additional electric guitar and keyboards that boost the ferocity and force of these tracks. Some bands are consistently great in a way that gets just a bit tiring over time as they do the same pleasing thing over and over again. With the Mountain Goats, John Darnielle has created a vehicle where he finds ways to surprise the listener each time out, and Bleed Out is more proof that he’s one of the best storytellers indie rock has ever produced.

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

  3. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Another in depth text on this album:

    Favourite passage:

    „John Darnielle took his kids to see Ghidorah, The Three-Headed Monster, a kaiju film from 1964. It is technically the fifth film in the Godzilla franchise and shows Godzilla joining forces with his two enemies from the prequels, Mothra and Rodan, to defeat Ghidorah. They must exact revenge upon him for attacking Matsumoto city. They have to make him suffer. But it also has a surreal quality to it, with aliens from Venus and other other-worldly delights.

    “It has this Japanese vocal duet called The Peanuts, who were a popular pair of sisters who sang. Because they were sisters their vocal timbre was almost identical, so they had sort of a ghostly quality to their singing together. And they play these 12-inch high twins who live on Infant Island with Mothra.”

    The film was a hit with the Darnielle pack. “My kids are used to seeing super high-action stuff, so I’m wondering how it will go over with them. They absolutely adored it; they had such a good time, and it didn’t really batter them the way that … this is the main difference between any modern film and film prior to the digital age. Now it is possible to overwhelm the senses completely, and that seems to be what they’re going for. And that seems to be what people are growing up to enjoy, and that’s fine. Whatever works for other people. But for me, I want my senses to be tantalized and stimulated. I don’t want to feel flooded. I don’t want to feel spent when I leave the theater. I want to feel curious. I want to talk more about it. My younger son, who’s seven never talked as much about a movie when he came home from the theater as he did about that one. He wanted to tell his mom the whole story.”


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