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The Hound Chronicles / Hot Garden Stomp

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iTunes Review

This is a collection of two cassette-only albums released in 1992 and 1993, respectively, during the early stage of John Darnielle's career. At a time before personal computers improved recording fidelity for all, cassettes were a popular format for lo-fi musicians to release their music without using expensive studios. The cassette scene also helped create an underground network before the Internet made personal connectivity easier. These songs already show many of Darnielle's musical preferences and stylistic choices. He's already sending his characters to places with his "Going To" series. (Here, it's Wisconsin, Chino, Kansas, Spain, Japan and Norwalk.) His impatient acoustic guitar strumming is pronounced, his literate lyrics tell inspired stories, and the whirr of his Panasonic boombox fades in and out of the mix. Some tracks featuring notes or beats from a stiff Casio keyboard don't conjure quite the same pathos. But considering the pace at which Darnielle was writing and recording these songs, it's a testament to his raw talent that the good material far outweighs the indifferent. 

Customer Reviews

Some of The Mountain Goats' best

Beneath the lo-fi fuzz, there's catchy yet thoughtful songs waiting to burst out. "Going To Wisconsin" and "Sun Song" are the must haves.


the lo-fi and static and whirring is otherworldly


Formed: 1991 in Claremont, CA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The Mountain Goats are, for all practical purposes, the endlessly clever and prolific John Darnielle and whatever musicians he surrounds himself with, which means that while the soundscape may change from project to project, the overall tone and feel of Darnielle's work remains remarkably consistent. At his best, he writes finely observed, slightly surreal, impressionistic vignettes that manage to mix life as we live it with life as we wish we could live it, and as such he has more in common with...
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