It is Feb 18 and I have known what my top three albums of 2008 will be for about the last six weeks. These are three albums that I have been looking forward, one for years, the others not so long. These are albums by three artists who have each made significant thumb prints on my musical taste. I have vivid memories of the first time that I heard/saw each of these artists. I remember sitting in front of the TV watching a clip on RAGE and going woah! Or listening to some random US college radio stream and googling the song lyrics with more haste than I ever have before. The other I remember sitting on the floor at The Troubie grinning and going Man oh Man, where has this person been hiding? These are albums that will be played and are been played endlessly on repeat. Those albums that you make numerous copies of so that you have one beside every CD player you frequent. The album that no matter how many times you listen to it through you still smile at the opening strains of a track.
This post was originally planned as one large post with all three albums in it. However, one album came out today, the other comes out in two months and the third sometime in June and as a result I have typed a fair bit about the album that was released today but not much about the other two. Which is not very fair is it? The album that came out today I have been listening to on non-stop repeat ever since I got the leaked copy, the others I have heard a 60 second clip of one track and the other I know some songs due to a promo single. Anyone who knows me and has actually listened when I have talked about music in the past few years will quite possibly know the three albums I am talking about now.
I rang a few stores today to see who had this album in stock, Rocking Horse told me that they had it on the shelf since last week! The other stores were still waiting for it come in. I went to Rocking Horse after work today 🙂
That album, the first album on my top three albums of 2008 is Heretic Pride, The Mountain Goats.
As soon you read that line though you knew didn’t you. The ‘Goats (as I refer to them) show back on September 10, 2005 at the Zoo marked a turning point for me. I was so hungry to see this band play that I bit the bullet, walked into Rocking Horse bought a ticket and went to my first real gig by myself. Just after the second time I witnessed them play in April 2006 I made this comment in a blog post. It was also probably my first time taking gig photos.
However, there is small group of bands that you love on a whole other level. They are the ones where the songs reverberate through your soul, you smile/frown/cry/get angry/laugh at their songs. They are bands in which you feel connected to every other person at the gig, knowing that you are a select group of people taking part in something special. They are the bands that donâ€™t need pyrotechnics, fancy lighting or 99 costume changes to make music. All they need is themselves and their instruments to create music that you can feel in the air. Itâ€™s music that tells a story, itâ€™s what makes me live.
JD put a copy of the opening track Sax Rohmer #1 on the ‘Goats blog. I googled it to see what others had said and found out that the album had leaked. My fingers quivered over the keyboard, to grab a copy or not, I got a copy. Man o Man x 254. So looking forward to the ‘Goats tour in April. The Zoo will go off and wherever else I might see the show…..
Back to the album.
This is one hell of an album. It is no Sunset Tree that doesn’t mean it is bad it is anything but. I think I love it more than Sunset Tree, to my ears it flows together better as a whole album when playing it through. It is a few years after The Sunset Tree. It is an older album. It is grown up. I hear promises in it. I hear life and love and lost love in it. Stereogum posted a premature evaluation I agree with parts of it but not with other parts. Perhaps because I just disappear into a smile when I listen to the CD, I love that album unconditionally.
Hearing the opening strains of San Bernardino my heart starts to flutter at the joy that song holds. Then there is Sax Rhomer #1 that just whispers to me to sing the chorus line “I’m coming home to you if it’s the last thing that I do”. and oh the video clip for Sax Rhomer #1 is such an interesting clip.
Michael Myers Resplendent is perhaps the song that has grown on me the most. It has those grand orchestral feelings. I can just see JD and PPH in my mind doing a Tim Freedman/Ben Folds with any of the state orchestras. It just feels so grand.
The press kit is a comic. It is oh so Goaty. Well worth looking at.
I have a feeling if JD was born a 100 years ago, he would have been one of the great novelists or poets of the modern world. We would not talk of Hemingway or Huxley but of Darnielle. His lyrics are just so perfectly written, so illustrative yet full of hidden meaning.
The Mountain Goats are not for everyone but oh if you love them you love them so much it hurts.