The Mountain Goats had a busy 2020—frontman John Darnielle pushed out 10 songs in 10 days to create Songs for Pierre Chuvin, and the band released Getting Into Knives at the tail end of the year. Monday, the band announced Dark in Here, an album set for release June 25 via Merge Records, and released a new single in “Mobile.”
Dark in Here was recorded the week between the making of their previous two releases in Muscle Shoals, Alabama’s FAME Studios. Working in the legendary studio that has hosted the likes of Aretha Franklin and Gregg Allman gave The Mountain Goats the opportunity to work with Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section members Spooner Oldham and Will McFarlane. On “Mobile,” we get our first taste of what’s to come from the collaboration, with the two players taking up electric piano and lead guitar, respectively. Easygoing with a certain ominous, dark element, Darnielle is almost Lou Reed-like in his vocal delivery on the biblical single.
The band’s bassist Peter Hughes spoke in a statement about the new single and working with Oldham and McFarlane:
The Mountain Goats have been playing together as a band long enough to have developed a degree of musical telepathy, but listening to these two guys responding in real time to us and each other revealed another level of connectedness altogether, one bordering on the supernatural. We ran through most of these songs three times; I’m pretty sure the performance of “Mobile” you’re hearing is a second take.
One of my quarantine projects after getting home was going back to Moby Dick and actually finishing it for once, and I was amused to encounter early on the retelling of the story of Jonah. If Melville gives it to us as a fiery 19th century New Bedford sermon, what “Mobile” offers might be understood as Father Mapple’s modern-day Gulf Coast flip side, the breeziness of McFarlane’s electric guitar and Matt Douglas’ accordion belying its protagonist’s guilty conscience.
Listen to “Mobile” and revisit a Mountain Goats performance from 2008 courtesy of the Paste archives below. Keep scrolling for the Dark in Here album artwork and tracklist. You can preorder the album here.
Dark in Here Album Artwork:
Dark in Here Tracklist:
01. Parisian Enclave
02. The Destruction of the Kola Superdeep Borehole Tower
04. Dark in Here
05. Lizard Suit
06. When a Powerful Animal Comes
07. To the Headless Horseman
08. The New Hydra Collection
09. The Slow Parts on Death Metal Albums
10. Before I Got There
11. Arguing With the Ghost of Peter Laughner About His Coney Island Baby Review
12. Let Me Bathe in Demonic Light