Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Music Library: Mountain Goats, Move, Mozartean Players, Mr. T

The Mountain Goats - Zopilote Machine (1994), Sweden (1995), The Coroner's Gambit (2000), All Hail West Texas (2002), Tallahassee (2002), We Shall All Be Healed (2004), The Sunset Tree (2005), Get Lonely (2006), Babylon Springs EP (2006), Heretic Pride (2008), and The Life Of The World To Come (2009). I am legally bound to begin by mentioning that John Darnielle, the main - and often, only - Mountain Goat, is one of the best lyricists working today.  He has mastered the art of writing simple songs that rarely overwork their subjects and still manage to pack a gut-punch.  Many of his songs are tied together by exploring common fictional subjects: a dysfunctional couple of alcoholics (shades of The Wild Palms there), a sad and violent upbringing, a misspent youth of meth abuse, an unshakable sense of alienation and loss tied to being between locations.  The early albums are lo-fi to an extreme, sounding exactly like what they are: a guy recording acoustic songs on a cheap boombox.  The production values pick up with All Hail West Texas, which is also Darnielle's first truly great album, and the beginning of a streak that lasted for the next five.  By the time of Heretic Pride, though, I'm kind of tired of the bleakness (note: I feel differently when not listening to the Mountain Goats back-to-back), and I've never really enjoyed The Life Of The World To Come, although I suspect that its a grower whose time has not yet come for me. I feel that I could say a lot more about the Mountain Goats, but I'm not sure that I have the stamina.  The Ms are dragging along (I actually finished listening to them months ago, but I'm still trying to finish the write-ups), and I'd rather move along.

The Move - "Down On The Bay."  Loosie track from the band that would soon become Electric Light Orchestra.  I'm mostly indifferent, though.

Mozartean Players - Schubert: Piano Trio No. 1, Opp. 99 (1992).  Lovely compositional music.  As with so much classical music, I feel completely unable to verbalize what I like about it and why.

Mr. T - "Mr. T's Commandment."  Believe it!  Apparently the youth of 1984 needed a stern-talking, no-fool-suffering tough guy with bad hair to arhythmically inform them that failing to stay in school, follow the Bible, or stay away from drugs would lead to a threatening visit from Mr. T himself.  Interesting fact: Ice-T worked on this EP, although not on the song I have.


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