31 Songs, 1 Hour 8 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Mountain Goats, essentially John Darnielle and whomever he invites along, released a ton of singles, EPs, compilation tracks that were often pressed in limited editions and difficult to locate or keep track of. Consequently Darnielle eventually gathered his stray tracks into several compilations that make it easier for all concerned. Ghana collects 31 tracks that veer all over Darnielle’s personally evolving terrain. He began his career recording directly to a boombox with only his own excited acoustic guitar strumming to augment his hyperactive vocal delivery. He likes words and odd juxtapositions. His titles often suggest one thing, his lyrics another. “The Last Day of Jimi Hendrix’s Life,” for example, highlights not the tragedy but the mundane details of adjusting the shower and grabbing a glass of water.  In less capable hands, the concept could come off as cheap or insincere, but Darnielle believes in these parallels between the average day and the heightened drama of song. You just never know where he’ll find an epic, as the simplicity of “Leaving Home” expands into an immigrant’s tale of leaving mainland China. Darnielle is someone to keep an ear on.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Mountain Goats, essentially John Darnielle and whomever he invites along, released a ton of singles, EPs, compilation tracks that were often pressed in limited editions and difficult to locate or keep track of. Consequently Darnielle eventually gathered his stray tracks into several compilations that make it easier for all concerned. Ghana collects 31 tracks that veer all over Darnielle’s personally evolving terrain. He began his career recording directly to a boombox with only his own excited acoustic guitar strumming to augment his hyperactive vocal delivery. He likes words and odd juxtapositions. His titles often suggest one thing, his lyrics another. “The Last Day of Jimi Hendrix’s Life,” for example, highlights not the tragedy but the mundane details of adjusting the shower and grabbing a glass of water.  In less capable hands, the concept could come off as cheap or insincere, but Darnielle believes in these parallels between the average day and the heightened drama of song. You just never know where he’ll find an epic, as the simplicity of “Leaving Home” expands into an immigrant’s tale of leaving mainland China. Darnielle is someone to keep an ear on.

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