The Mountain Goats release surprise lo-fi album ‘Songs For Pierre Chuvin’

John Darnielle's first "boombox recording" since 2002

The Mountain Goats bandleader John Darnielle has shared a new release, surprise album ‘Songs For Pierre Chuvin’, harking back to the group’s early days.

Released on April 10 via Bandcamp, the ten-track album was recorded at Darnielle’s home in Durham, North Carolina, on his old Panasonic RX-FT500 tape deck – the lo-fi method used to record classic early Mountain Goats records such as ‘Full Force Galesburg’ and ‘The Coroner’s Gambit’ back in the late 90s. The Mountain Goats’ last studio album, 2019’s ‘In League With Dragons’, did not use this method.

It’s the first time Darnielle has recorded an album with this method since 2002’s ‘All Hail West Texas’.

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Darnielle was inspired to write the album as he was reading ‘A Chronicle Of The Last Pagans’, written by French historian Pierre Chuvin who is also the release’s namesake.

Darnielle wrote a song every day for ten days while working his way through the book, explaining in the Bandcamp description he wrote the material in the manner he did early in his career: “Read until something jumps out at me; play guitar and ad-lib out loud until I get a phrase I like; write the lyrics, get the song together, record immediately.”

Proceeds from the album’s sale will go directly to Darnielle’s collaborators and crew in The Mountain Goats, acknowledging that the band’s touring plans were put on hold due to coronavirus along with most artists around the world.

“I dedicate this tape to everybody who’s waited a long time for the wheels to sound their joyous grind,” commented Darnielle.

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“May they grind us into a safe future where we gather once again in rooms to sing songs about pagan priests & hidden shelters, and where we see each other face to face. Hail the Panasonic! Hail the inscrutable engines of chance! Hail Cybele!”

‘Songs for Pierre Chuvin’ is available on Bandcamp here.

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