The Mountain Goats, Opinions on Sleater-Kinney & The Regrettes

Over the course of 17 albums, The Mountain Goats have gone from a super lo-fi solo project to a polished four piece combo. This week, Jim and Greg are joined by the whole band for an exclusive performance and interview with songwriter John Darnielle and drummer Jon Wurster. They also review the new albums from Sleater-Kinney and The Regrettes.

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Sleater-Kinney The Center Won't Hold

After a four year hiatus, Sleater-Kinney is back with a new sound and a shake-up to their lineup. The Center Won't Hold, produced by St. Vincent, delves into "industrial noise" and even "cheesy '80s synth-pop" sounds according to Jim. A number of the tracks, like "Can I Go On," are set to a drum machine, leaving“not much”for drummer Janet Weiss to do, according to Jim. He and Greg wonder if that's what she meant when she cited the band's“new direction”as a reason for her recent departure. Either way, Greg“is scratching his head at what is going on here,”and agrees that Weiss is underutilized on this album. He also misses the“triangle”or collaborative tension between the bandmates that caused a“push and pull between”the voices of Corin Tucker and Carrie Brownstein. He notes that these songs are simply either“Carrie”songs or“Corin”songs. Overall, they both think that The Center Won't Hold is disappointing.


The Regrettes How Do You Love?

The Los Angeles band The Regrettes are back with their second album, How Do You Love? Greg and especially Jim are fans of the group and its front woman, 18-year-old Lydia Night. Jim describes their sound as a blend of '90s Riot grrrl and '60s girl groups. Greg notes that this record is about love, a broad topic but one that the band manages to tackle through Night's nuanced and sharp lyrics. Jim loved this record and believe the band replicated the magic of their debut, even with some lineup changes, as they mature as musicians and individuals.


The Mountain Goats

John Darnielle and Jon Wurster of The Mountain Goats

The Mountain Goats released their 17th album, In League With Dragons, earlier this year. Their song "This Year" was recently featured in the Oscar-nominated documentary Minding The Gap and was prescribed on a "Rock Doctors" segment of Sound Opinions.

John Darnielle, the only consistent member over the band's 28 year history, writes and sings all the songs. Over the years he's assembled a top-notch band: longtime bassist Peter Hughes (also an automotive journalist), Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster (also a comedian) and multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas (also a teacher). A restless creator, Darnielle has also received acclaim in recent years for his novels Wolf In White Van and Universal Harvester.

John Darnielle and Matt Douglas of The Mountain Goats

When the band performed a session for us at Thalia Hall in Chicago, Darnielle explained how he approaches songwriting differently than novel-writing (but similarly to poem-writing). He also explains why he's so interested in heavy metal and role-playing games and how he and drummer Jon Wurster started working together.

The Mountain Goats

Featured Songs

  1. Sleater-Kinney, The Future Is Here, The Center Won't Hold, Mom + Pop, 2019
  2. Sleater-Kinney, The Center Won't Hold, The Center Won't Hold, Mom + Pop, 2019
  3. Sleater-Kinney, Bad Dance, The Center Won't Hold, Mom + Pop, 2019
  4. Sleater-Kinney, Can I Go On, The Center Won't Hold, Mom + Pop, 2019
  5. The Regrettes, I Dare You, How Do You Love?, Warner Bros., 2019
  6. The Regrettes, Pumpkin, How Do You Love?, Warner Bros., 2019
  7. The Regrettes, The Game, How Do You Love?, Warner Bros., 2019
  8. The Regrettes, I Dare You, How Do You Love?, Warner Bros., 2019
  9. The Mountain Goats, Younger, In League With Dragons, Merge, 2019
  10. The Mountain Goats, The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton, All Hail West Texas, Emperor Jones, 2002
  11. The Mountain Goats, Possum By Night (Live on Sound Opinions), In League With Dragons, Merge, 2019
  12. The Mountain Goats, Cadaver Sniffing Dog, In League With Dragons, Merge, 2019
  13. Arturo Toscanini & NBC Symphony Orchestra, Symphony No. 4 in A Major, Op. 90 "Italian": I. Allegro vivace, Mendelssohn: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5, RCA, 1954
  14. The Mountain Goats, Waylon Jennings Live! (Live on Sound Opinions), In League With Dragons, Merge, 2019
  15. The Mountain Goats, International Small Arms Traffic Blues, Tallahassee, 4AD, 2002
  16. The Mountain Goats, Wear Black, Goths, Merge, 2017
  17. The Mountain Goats, Dance Music, The Sunset Tree, 4AD, 2005
  18. The Mountain Goats, Amy AKA Spent Gladiator 1, Trascendental Youth, Merge, 2012
  19. The Mountain Goats, Baboon, The Coronor's Gambit, Absolutely Kosher, 2000
  20. The Mountain Goats, See America Right, Tallahassee, 4AD, 2002
  21. The Mountain Goats, This Year, Come, Come To The Sunset Tree, Self-Released, 2005
  22. The Mountain Goats, Letter From Belgium (Live on Sound Opinions), We Shall All Be Healed, 4AD, 2004
  23. Blind Guardian, Sacred Worlds, At the Edge of Time, Nuclear Blast, 2010
  24. Black Sabbath, Ironman, Paranoid, Warner Bros., 1970
  25. Iron Maiden, The Number of the Beast, The Number of the Beast, Harvest, 1982
  26. The Mountain Goats, Sicilian Crest (Live on Sound Opinions), In League With Dragons, Merge, 2019
  27. The Beatles, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, The Beatles, Apple, 1968
  28. Juice Wrld, Hear Me Calling, Death Race for Love, Interscope, 2019
  29. Rory Block, Terraplane Blues, Mama's Blues, Rounder, 1991
  30. Magic Sam, Sweet Home Chicago, West Side Soul, Delmark, 1967
  31. Back Door, Walkin' Blues, 8th Street Nites, Warner Bros., 1973
  32. The Celibate Rifles, God Squad, Sideroxylon, Laneway, 1983