The Mountain Goats are into dragons. Dungeons & Dragons, specifically.
The longtime American folk rock band has an especially geeky new album, called “In League With Dragons,” set for release on April 26, and today, lead singer John Darnielle will be talking about the album and performing from Wizards of the Coast, the game maker headquartered in Renton, Wash.
Darnielle is a fan of both D&D and Wizards’ other juggernaut, Magic: The Gathering. Monday’s performance will be streamed live on Facebook at 1 p.m. PT.
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“In League With Dragons,” which will be out on Merge Records, “surges with wild tales of revenge and redemption, heroes at a crossroads, and great figures in decline,” according to a news release. The 12 songs by Darnielle “luxuriate in a wide swath of sounds, from shades of the ’80s Athens scene to swathes of outlaw country and a few motorik meditations.”
“This album began life as a rock opera about a besieged seaside community called Riversend ruled by a benevolent wizard, for which some five to seven songs were written,” Darnielle says in a blurb on the band’s website. “When I’m focusing on a project, I always distract myself from the through-line with multiple byways, which are kind of like mini-games within the broader architecture of a long video game.
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“As I worked on the Riversend stuff, weird noir visions started creeping in, probably under the influence of Leonardo Sciascia (a Sicilian author, he wrote mysteries) and Ross MacDonald’s ‘The Zebra-Striped Hearse.’ … I thought these moods helped complicate the wizards and dragons a little, and, as I thought about my wizard, his health failing, the invasion by sea almost certain to wipe out half his people, I thought about what such a person might look like in the real world: watching a country show at a midwestern casino, or tryout pitching for an American League team years after having lit up the marquees. Finally, I wrote the title track, which felt like a drawing together of the themes in play: rebellion against irresistible tides, the lush vistas of decay, necessary alliances. I am earnestly hoping that a new genre called ‘dragon noir’ will spring from the forehead of nearly two years work on these songs, but, if not, I am content for this to be the sole example of the style.”
Here is the album track list, and a YouTube video for the song “Younger.”
1. “Done Bleeding”
3. “Passaic 1975”
4. “Clemency for the Wizard King 5. Possum by Night”
6. “In League with Dragons”
7. “Doc Gooden”
8. “Going Invisible 2”
9. “Waylon Jennings Live!”
10. “Cadaver Sniffing Dog”
11. “An Antidote for Strychnine 12. Sicilian Crest”
Darnielle is joined in the Mountain Goats by drummer Jon Wurster, bassist Peter Hughes, and multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas. The band is planning a 40-date tour that launches on the day of the album release, April 26, at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Fall dates in the Northwest are listed below:
- Sept. 1: The Bing Crosby Theater, Spokane, Wash.
- Sept. 4: The Showbox, Seattle
- Sept. 5: Neumos, Seattle
- Sept. 6: Imperial Vancouver, Vancouver, B.C.
- Sept. 7: McDonald Theatre, Eugene, Ore.
- Sept. 9: Crystal Ballroom, Portland, Ore.
- Sept. 10: Aladdin, Portland, Ore.