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Thread for talking about That Band
  • I read it, and liked it, though with maybe a few more reservations than you had, davy. I didn’t feel fully satisfied with the conclusion, and I felt that the first third or so of the book was frustratingly evasive with the central premise. But I thought the premise itself was fascinating, and the protagonist was so fully realised it hurt. You said you didn’t want to discuss it too deeply, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

  • I also really liked it, but I read it in small chunks before falling asleep when I was travelling across West Texas and New Mexico in October, and I feel like I should read it again at some point next year when I’m less tired/able to focus better to get more out of it. I feel kind of bad for having bought it at a Barnes & Noble in El Paso; on the evening of the same day I entered an independent bookstore in Marfa with super-friendly owners and they also had a few copies of the book, which I would never have expected…

  • Did anybody listen to the new song? Sounds like the Barenaked Ladies to me.

  • I hadn’t noticed the new album announcement, thanks! I like the new song alright, but not enough to be optimistic that the album will rise to become my favourite wrestling-themed indie album (because Luke Haines might be able to defend that particular title!).

  • I still have to read the book, by the way; I suspect that I will like it more than Luke Haines’ second one.

  • While I wish the song sounded grittier and maybe less - I don’t know - amiable, like much of TMG’s recent output, I came to like it very much on repeated listens - and don’t think I am ready to feel indifferent at a new Mountain Goats album announcement anytime soon. I do hope they come over to mainland Europe as a full band once - would love to see them Wurster instead of solo or duo like the last two times in Paris.

  • That new song was not interesting to me even a little bit

  • The whole idea seems too much like twitter receptive John. I’m sure it will be a decent album, and I know he has an earnest appreciation of all this stuff, but some of these themes and conceits (wrestling, boxers) just seem a little too outré , like he’s reveling a bit too much in the ‘gotta stay true to the eternal teenager inside me’ phase.

  • There’s probably a better word for outré that doesn’t make sound like a huge snob and/or dick

  • what you said about the ‘eternal teenager’ schtick really makes sense to me - it explains why the only recent album i’ve had any fondness for was The Life of the World to Come, cause i feel like it mostly did away with all that.

  • Over the last month or so I’ve been reading Wolf in White Van on my lunchbreaks at work, which has been a nice way to slip into a really nicely built, beautifully realised internal world for a little while each day. I feel like if I’d been reading it at home, I’d have read it in an evening, but forcing myself to read it slowly has been really rewarding.

    I do agree with what adam says upthread that some of the plotting is in some ways unsatisfying, but I found it a really excellent read overall.

    It must’ve twinged some residual lptj nostalgia, because writing this I just remembered a dream that I had that I was trying to illegally download some music from a dodgy site with the byline ‘validate your whole live by listening to thing’, and in the dream thinking huh, lptj had far more cultural reach and resonance than I would’ve thought.

  • Were you trying to download Sorry Ma, Ain’t No Retarded No More? cos it probably won’t work, it just made my computer screen flash in the eighth colour

  • do people just not want to talk about the new record? I kind of don’t want to myself, but since I’m procrastinating, I’ll echo something I already posted on FB and say, it bores me. I swear I’m not mired in back-in-the-day nostalgia—there’s some really good MOR indie-rock on Transcendental Youth!—but my god, this felt like tMG-by-numbers. Here’s the song where John strums hard and uses violent imagery. Here’s the one about a place. Here are some pointless arrangements that add nothing to the songs, because Fleet Foxes or some fucking thing. Ugh. I am pretty alienated from this album.

  • I haven’t even listened to it. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m going to? It’s so weird that they used to be my favorite band, and now I’m just … meh. I think the last few albums have things going for them, but I would say nothing post-WSABH (being generous) has really grabbed me. Or if it did (in the case of Get Lonely or Sunset Tree), it didn’t really last. I don’t go back to those records unless I make a point of specifically doing so. I’m not drawn to them.

  • Yeah, it’s weird to me that I have no interest in listening to my favourite band’s new album, but so it goes. I don’t think John’s just phoning it in, but it does feel like his creativity in the songwriting format has kind of run dry, and the band aren’t good enough musically to make up for that, no matter how much work they put in.
    Plus John’s ultra-confident online persona annoys the hell out of me for some reason, but that’s probably just a personal hangup I have.

    So, fuck it, I’ll just go listen to Emmy the Great.

    Man I love Emmy the Great.

  • I haven’t got it. I’ve been putting it off. I’ve heard one or two tracks off it, but I honestly can’t remember them. I’m in the same boat I guess. My favourite band’s put out a new album, and I’m not really interested…I feel like he was always a bit patchy in terms of songs I didn’t get on the bandwagon until The Sunset Tree (almost no exposure here until then) so listening to the back catalogue was interesting for me. Some of it I love, and I have favourites off most of the early albums or collections, but recently it’s gone back to that there’s only one or two songs on each album that really grab me… I dunno..

  • I started my car up the other day and tMG came on the radio. Really weirded me out. Turned out I’d caught the tail end of Fresh Air and they were reviewing the album.

    Aside from pieces here and there I haven’t heard much of the album, and I haven’t really gotten into any of the other recent albums either. I feel pretty much the same as Jeb—I’m just not drawn to the new stuff. I hope it’s not spite or elitism to feel like the music is just boring.

    Not that I’m going to fault the guy for making music that appeals to a much wider audience. Is John really a Twitter celebrity now? Interesting that he seems more comfortable with that medium than with LPTJ.

  • Perhaps due to the residual appreciation and enthusiasm I felt after finishing Wolf in White Van, I was flirting with the idea of giving the new record a solid chance at impressing me, and beyond that, was even contemplating a complete reappraisal of the post-West Texas body of work. But then I started reading things about the new record and — despite the fact that many of these things were positive — I became utterly convinced that both of my ideas would ultimately prove to be disappointing in the extreme. So, I haven’t listened, and I probably won’t.

    I really think he should devote his time and energy to writing more books, but that sure as hell isn’t my decision to make.

  • And I’ll elaborate a bit by saying — it’s not that I think he’s writing bad songs nowadays (though I feel like he might be writing some boring ones). It’s more that I just don’t like the sound and the feel of these records. This was true even for Tallahassee — as good as those songs are, and as much as I listened to that record back in the day, it always felt a bit off to me. All of the post-boombox records have sounded off to me, and I don’t believe that’s just because of some elitist indie snobbery. I just feel like his voice and his songwriting are better suited to a more lo-fi aesthetic. Once he took them out of that context and dressed them up real nice, it all sounded uncomfortable and awkward to me, even when I could recognize that the songs themselves were good. After a while, I surrendered to the fact that this wasn’t going to change.

    I still listen to the 90s records, and I still love them.

  • So I watched the new video, and … man it fucking bums me out how much I hate this. Like, I had a visceral reaction to how bad I think this song is. Bad? Boring? I don’t know, whatever the case I felt legit irritated by it.