Tapes 'n Tapes have leaked the first single from their forthcoming album Walk It Off, available in April on XL Recordings. Debut full-length The Loon was originally self-released in 2005 before a proper indie label release in 2006. It ended up finishing 16th on my year-end album list and the band was my 25th most-played artist of the year. Not bad. Not bad at all for a debut artist, but in the year and a half that has followed since I first heard them, I still find myself very much enjoying "Insistor" and "Omaha" and "Manitoba," the spirited, playful, understated songs they made for The Loon. And I find myself surprisingly excited about the prospects for their new album. The first single is pretty great. I haven't yet searched out a leak for the full album, but I imagine it won't be too long before I do. I'm already too excited to wait.
- Download Tapes 'n Tapes - "Hang Them All".mp3
- Download Tapes 'n Tapes - "Insistor".mp3
- Download Tapes 'n Tapes - "Manitoba".mp3
- Download Tapes 'n Tapes - "Omaha (KEXP version)".mp3
Heretic Pride is the the name of the latest album from The Mountain Goats, and it's their seventh album since 2000, following a back catalog of at least that many from prolific singer John Darnielle in the '90s. He's had a mostly varying lineup of backing musicians in recent years and the latest addition is Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster and you can hear his effect on the new album. John Vanderslice and Scott Solter handled the producing duties and they've been a part of Darnielle's last three albums, the highly autobiographical trilogy We Shall All Be Healed, The Sunset Tree, and Get Lonely. I first discovered the band during The Sunset Tree, which was a truly great album, but I never got into 2006's Get Lonely and it failed to make my year-end list of favorite releases that Tapes 'n Tapes above were able to reach. Other than a few tracks on The Sunset Tree, in fact, I found myself loving Darnielle's older stuff more, sung more in a storytelling mode about desperate characters, peaking with the amazingly brutal "No Children," which made my top 200 songs of all time. The new release, Heretic Pride, is a return to the storytelling of his older works, and I think it's a welcome return. It's a pretty great album.
Every song on Heretic Pride is between 2:54 and 3:49 in length and with Darnielle's hard-scrabble delivery, there is a tendency for the songs to sound the same on the initial listens. But there is enough variety in tempo and subject matter to sustain the rhythm through the full 13 tracks. The faster tracks definitely work better for me, although the spare "So Desperate" is a touching ode to depression. But there are several standout tracks that are fast, freewheeling, taut, and flat-out brilliant. Opener "Sax Rohmer #1," which everyone has certainly heard already is one of their best songs in years. Title track "Heretic Pride" has such a catchy rhythm that I kept repeating it on my first listen. "In the Craters of the Moon" and "Lovecraft in Brooklyn" occupy back-to-back places at the middle of the album with pulsating beauty. I didn't realize the latter was a reference to sci-fi writer H.P. Lovecraft until reading the Pitchfork review, but that didn't stop me from loving the song. And speaking of love, the 10th track, "How to Embrace a Swamp Creature", and the closer "Michael Myers Resplendent" are probably the most purely beautiful tracks I've heard this year. "When the scum begins to circle the drain" - what a great line. Go buy the album today. No seriously. Today. And listen to a couple tracks to tide you over.
- Download The Mountain Goats - "Sax Rohmer #1".mp3
- Download The Mountain Goats - "Heretic Pride".mp3
- Download The Mountain Goats - "Broom People".mp3
- Download The Mountain Goats - "The First Few Desperate Hours".mp3
- Download The Mountain Goats - "Bluejays and Cardinals".mp3
- Download The Mountain Goats - "The Best Death Metal Band in Denton".mp3