The first Mountain Goats song came about when John Darnielle was attending poetry readings when he was younger, and he decided to try to transform one of his favorite poems into folk music. But at the time, folk music had a negative stigma; as he explained at his recent show at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, folk music was seen as an equivalent to an annoying dude with an acoustic guitar at a party, whining about the troubles of the world. Luckily, by sharing poetic adventures like this motivation to travel to Alaska, John Darnielle has changed the face of indie folk, providing a more pensive, articulate alternative along the same lines as Destroyer (Dan Bejar), who injects a throwback 80s vibe into his own brand of folk.
John Darnielle may have previously been embarrassed by the low-fi, quirky quality of this track, it has allowed him to carve out a unique space in a self-conscious musical landscape.
Long live the Mountain Goats.