Mon
Nov 24 2008 3:24pm

The Mountain Goats: What’s Not to Love about 666?

he came knocking down the street lights
teari
ng up the new grass on the lawn
he was frightening off the livestock
I could feel him coming down
I let the Citranella dissolve in my hand
I began to feel real bad
when the ghost of your father comes to town
what the hell else can you do
I flung open all the windows
put the water on for tea
and let him pass right through

That’s the opening to “Cao Dai Blowout” by the Mountain Goats, off the EP New Asian Cinema. The Mountain Goats, for those who don’t know, are usually just singer/songwriter John Darnielle (though he sometimes has help when he plays live from Peter Hughes and others). But what’s not to love about a  frequently solo artist that uses a plural band name? I got turned on to them by Darnielle’s brilliant and off-the-wall lyrics, which often deal with such subjects as ghosts, alien invasions, and H.P. Lovecraft. A new track, off Black Pear Tree, is entitled “Thank You Mario But Our Princess is in Another Castle.” (You can download it here.)

Relatively recently, io9.com ran a piece on his science fiction influences, wherein he said, “When I was a kid I pretty much worshiped Harlan Ellison and I still think he’s a good writer. Through his interviews & his introductions in the Dangerous Visions books I got into James Sallis & Carol Emshwiller, and I’m still a big Emshwiller fan to this day—she writes such hard good sentences.”

Now, the latest Mountain Goats EP is out. In a move that is sure to please Cory Doctorow and Anton LaVey both, Satanic Messiah is available as a free download, donate what you can via Paypal or the suggested donation of $6.66 via Google Checkout.

Feel your resistance crumbling? And one of the four tracks is titled “Wizard Buys a Hat.” But if you need more convincing, there are a lot of free mp3s, mostly live tracks, here. (I recommend “Raid on Entebbe,” but I recommend it all.)

That’s it, just taking a moment to share an obsession. Now we’ll go out on the remaining lyrics of “Cao Dia Blowout.”

he took to knocking over furniture
getting into the reception on the wireless
he tore up all the dry goods in the pantry
he was strong and he was tireless
when the priest came to call, I sent him on his way
I got a tremor in my hands and my feet are made of clay
when the ghost of your father starts pushing you around
how are you gonna make him stop
I took down all the crosses, I let him set up shop

4 comments
Simon Bisson
1. sbisson
Those lyrics sound like he's been reading a lot of Tim Powers - those effects are pretty much how Powers describes the ghosts in Expiration Date and Earthquake Weather.
John Anealio
4. JohnAnealio
I've heard a lot about the Mountain Goats but have yet to check them out. I had no idea that they had a sci-fi link. I'll have to investigate those MP3's. Thanks for the suggestion.
Sumana Harihareswara
5. brainwane
I adore The Mountain Goats. Thank you for your post.

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