Posted September 7, 2020 by Jeff in Tunes

Mountain Goats Take Their Talents to Memphis

the Mountain Goats photo by Jade Wilson
the Mountain Goats photo by Jade Wilson

The Mountain Goats just announced their new album, Getting Into Knives, will arrive on Oct. 23. The first single, “As Many Candles As Possible,” which features Al Green’s organist Charles Hodges, features a Lalitree Darnielle-directed lyric video. The album will come out on cassette, CD and vinyl wherever records are sold. There’ll also be a limited-edition metallic gold Peak Vinyl in the Merge store and salmon-colored deluxe vinyl in the Mountain Goats store.

When Darnielle spoke with NPR in April about the ten days spent writing and recording Songs for Pierre Chuvin on his infamous boombox, he simply said the group has been recording new material at “famed studios in the Deep South.”

Specifically, the band recorded at Sam Phillips Recording. After working as the engineer for 2019’s In League With Dragons, Matt Ross-Spang suggested the band come down to Sam Phillips Recording for a tour. That led to the decision to record in Memphis and to promote Ross-Spang as producer for the follow-up.

The band recorded in a single week with “magic” microphones salvaged from the Nashville Network, and in the same room where the Cramps tracked their 1980 debut album. On “The Last Place I Saw You Alive,” Darnielle details the “darkness of knowing you’ll never see a loved one again. “Us worms turn into butterflies, I guess,” he sings. Elsewhere, “Wolf Count” draws sympathy for a wolf being hunted.

“Everything becomes a blur from six feet away,” Darnielle sings on “Tidal Wave,” a song written years before social distancing became thing. 

“Some waves are slow things that cover you without you having noticed,” Darnielle explains. “With the album, you either slam the door shut or you open on to the next path. The trick is to sew up an ending, but at the same time open the doors to the theater and let the sunlight in.”

You can follow the band on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

Photo by Jade Wilson


Jeff started writing about rock ’n’ roll some 20 years ago when he stood in the pouring rain to hitch hike his way to see R.E.M. on their Life’s Rich Pageant tour. Since that time, he's written for various daily newspapers, alt-weeklies, magazines and websites. Feel free to comment on his posts or suggest music, film and art to him at jeff@whopperjaw.net.