The Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats Biography

Hyper prolific and militantly lo-fi, the Mountain Goats have scattered hundreds of songs across compilations, label samplers, bootleg cassettes and original albums over the last 15 years, many of them recorded (by choice) on a department store boom box. In the process, they've gathered an enviably large cult following and long list of critical accolades. Singer/songwriter/guitarist and head Goat John Darnielle paused between churning out introspective country-rock gems long enough to spit out this list of twelve songs that would make it onto his ultimate mixtape.

1. George Jones - "Yes, I Know Why"
"The Possum gives a jaw-dropping vocal performance of this old Webb Pierce chestnut; all over town, people jump out of windows."

2. Billy Joe Shaver - "Georgia on a Fast Train"
"Good times, fresh bourbon, and your grand-dad’s rifle. The rhymes in the chorus here just kill me outright."

3. Mia Doi Todd, "The Last Night of Winter"
"So, so gorgeous! Like a great lost track from Nick Drake’s Bryter Later."

4. Sarah Dougher, "Moving"
"As a matter of personal policy, I don’t trust anybody who can make it to the end of this song without crying."

5. Trembling Blue Stars, "Sometimes I Still Feel the Bruise"
"A remarkably clear-headed account of what it’s like to never get over somebody. One of my favorite songs ever."

6. Morrissey, "It’s Hard to Walk Tall, When You’re Small"
"Morrissey, characteristically saving some of his best stuff for b-sides, absolutely murders the vocal on this one, even firing up the falsetto in the bridge. Our Mozz in top form."

7. The Distillers, "Gypsy Rose Lee"
"Do people ever talk about how emotional and true and righteous Brody Armstrong’s lyrics are? No? Well, they should."

8. Enon, "Fly South"
"Somebody needs to tune that A-string, but it doesn’t matter: This slow-burning minor key horror show takes an aching melody and infuses it with total dread."

9. Manishevitz, "Lonesome Cowboy Dave Thomas"
"This goes on pretty much every mix I make, 'cause it’s got such a murderous groove. It’s like a guy with an icy stare looking out at you from a window across the street."

10. Merle Haggard, "If We Make It Through December"
"Haggard’s singles from the '60s are also some of the best-sounding records ever made, sung by one of the greatest singers alive."

11. Blondie, "Shayla"
"The fourth Blondie record doesn’t get enough respect. This song floats like steam."

12. Essential Logic, "Rat Alley"
"Beautiful, bizarre pseudo-tropicalia moment from these divine first-wave-of-punk standouts whose singer quit the scene to chant Hare Krishna."

The Mountain Goats Bio from Discogs

1991-1996: John Darnielle and Rachel Ware.

2002-2007: John Darnielle and Peter Hughes.

2007-present: John Darnielle, Peter Hughes, Jon Wurster.

Occasional members 1991-1995: Sarah Arslanian, Amy Piatt, and Rosanne Lindley.

Occasional members 1995-present: Franklin Bruno, Erik Friedlander, John Vanderslice.

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