Sep 222010

Misc, People, Songs Comments Off on

It is a matter of established public record that I’m a fan of both John Darnielle and wombats. So please forgive this non-musical divergence, but it has come to my attention (via my friend Ann’s twitter feed) that there exists a picture of John Darnielle holding an adorable wombat.

I am convinced that this picture could end war. Seriously. There’s John Darnielle, looking as if to say:

“Why, yes, I’m John Darnielle and this is my wombat. I have no time for you.”

And there’s the wombat looking like:

“‘Sup, bitches? I’m a chubby, adorable wombat.”

Net result? Perfection.

Okay, okay, if you insist on a musical connection, here’s the thinnest and most tenuous one possible. The Wombats, “Let’s Dance to Joy Division”:

Happy now? No? I refer you to the picture above.

Better? I thought so…

Sep 212010

“we were dancing on the propane tank”

Songs, Videos Comments Off on “we were dancing on the propane tank”

Superchunk + John Darnielle = oh. Hells. Yesssssss.

(Via the inimitable Merlin Mann)

Jul 182010

Brief Chronicle of a Recent Obsession

Artists, Songs, Videos Comments Off on Brief Chronicle of a Recent Obsession

So lately, I’ve been really into the Mountain Goats. I’d always sort of liked what I’d heard (I, like any warm blooded creature, love singing along at the end of “Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton”), but for whatever reason hadn’t ever listened much past the singles and best-known Mountain Goats tunes. But recently, after seeing them play at Sasquatch, I started tracking down more of their stuff.

Easily my favorite of the tunes I’ve stumbled across is “Lovecraft in Brooklyn”, which is as good an expression of all-consuming terror as has ever been put into music. H. P. Lovecraft found himself out of work, separated from his beloved wife, and surrounded by strange, foreign cultures the likes of which his New England upbringing had not prepared him for. His sense of helplessness, fear, and xenophobia is often credited (probably rightly) with being a significant force in developing his unique writing style.

But for all of John Darnielle’s writing about fear and self-destruction (two topics he explores frequently), the man writes some of the most life-affirming songs I’ve ever heard. At his best, though, he manages to combine the two, and conjure strange joy out of some really dark places. Probably my favorite example of this is “This Year”:

And then there are some tunes that are just pure distillations of perfect little moments, as in “Jenny”. “We were the one thing in the galaxy God didn’t have his eyes on” is one of the most beautiful images I’ve ever heard. I also like the pure, simply joy Darnielle evokes when he says “900 ccs of raw, whining power, no outstanding warrants for my arrest”. Perfect.