Release Date: Apr 26, 2005
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
John Darnielle is a compulsive writer forever clutching his stomach as songs pour out uncontrollably into whatever recording device is in front of him. What sets him apart from other prolific artists in the indie rock world (Conor Oberst, Ryan Adams, Stephin Merritt) whose records and side projects can't keep up with the flow of their pens is his almost alarming gift for pairing quantity with quality. After dropping the devastating Tallahassee -- a record that followed in gory detail the imagined demise of a Florida couple's marriage -- in 2002, he turned his focus inward, taking an almost autobiographical stance on the follow-up, We Shall All Be Healed, a framework that is applied tenfold on the riveting The Sunset Tree.
Once upon a time, the “Profiles” section of the New Yorker offered a fascinating look into the biographies of the famous, like Johnny Carson, and the not-quite-as-famous, like David Brower, former executive director of the Sierra Club. I’ve always thought John Darnielle, who records as the Mountain Goats, would be a good candidate for an in-depth literary profile. At first, this judgment was simply a reflection of his being a square peg in the round hole of the indie rock world.