The Mountain Goats

WXPN Welcomes

The Mountain Goats

Roadside Graves

Apr 23 2018 · Mon

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

$27 Advance / $32 Day of Show / $42 Seated

This event is 21 and over

The Mountain Goats
The Mountain Goats
John called me about playing with the Mountain Goats in 2001.
Not for the first time, mind you. I'd signed on for a couple European tours in 1996, playing bass; the first had gone swimmingly and led to a second, which didn't. Still, a foundation had been laid: John and I, already close friends, had developed over the course of those tours a musical chemistry strong enough that, even five years later, we were still bummed that the only people who got to see it were a handful of indifferent Bavarian villagers. "Do you want to do some recording?" John asked. Yeah, I said. We should totally do some recording.
It turned out to be a fateful conversation. Not more than a week or two later, the venerable London indie 4AD got in touch, and we found ourselves suddenly charged with making an album. In a studio. With a producer.

We spent an intense week at Dave Fridmann's Tarbox Road, with Glasgow's Tony Doogan at the board. There was some give and take. I loved the Mountain Goats, but I'd heard ten years' worth of boombox Mountain Goats albums and wanted to swing for the fences. John was game while insisting that certain defining orthodoxies be preserved. We met in the middle and were both pretty ecstatic with the result: we felt like we'd gone out on a limb, but in a way that stayed true to the spirit of the project. And then Tallahassee came out and we got to read a bunch of articles about our new lo-fi album.

Indefatigable in our efforts to escape the legacy of the Mountain Goats' home-recorded past, over the course of the eight albums that followed we would exploit the production and engineering skills of meticulous sonic architects like John Vanderslice and Scott Solter, become even more of a band with the addition of Superchunk's Jon Wurster on drums in 2007, and flesh out our songs with string and horn arrangements bordering on the Bacharachian.

With Matt Douglas fully on board as woodwinds-and-kitchen-sink guy, we're now a four-piece, and to record this album, our fourth for Merge and the one to which you're presumably about to listen, we went to Blackbird Studio in Nashville, as top-shelf a facility as any on the planet. They have the board Aja was recorded on. When Jon asked about snares, he was told, "We have 200 of them." We had sixteen people from the Nashville Symphony Chorus skip out on a Mahler rehearsal to come in and sing on a song. Sixteen!

The theme this time around is goth, a subject closer to my heart perhaps than that of any Mountain Goats album previous. And while John writes the songs, as he always has, it feels more than ever like he's speaking for all of us in the band, erstwhile goths (raises hand) or otherwise, for these are songs that approach an identity most often associated with youth from a perspective that is inescapably adult. Anyone old enough to have had the experience of finding oneself at sea in a cultural landscape that's suddenly indecipherable will empathize with Pat Travers showing up to a Bauhaus show looking to jam, for example.
But underneath the outward humor, there is evident throughout a real tenderness toward, and solidarity with, our former fellow travelers-the friends whose bands never made it out of Fender's Ballroom, the Gene Loves Jezebels of the world-the ones whose gothic paths were overtaken by the realities of life, or of its opposite. It's something we talk about a lot, how fortunate and grateful we are to share this work, a career that's become something more rewarding and fulfilling than I think any of us could have imagined. We all know how easily it could've gone the other way, and indeed for a long time did.

Maybe that's why John entrusted me with writing the coda to his song about a guy fed up with his major label bosses and contemplating packing it in. You know, the one I sang at the fancy recording studio, into a microphone worth more than I made in a year for most of my life.

Okay, I'm wasting my time, I know. And it's fine-as far as inevitable fates go, I can think of far worse. Please, enjoy Goths, the new album by those preeminent legends of lo-fi, the Mountain Goats!

-Peter Hughes
February, 2017
Roadside Graves
Roadside Graves
Roadside Graves hail from the small town of Metuchen, NJ, though today they are scattered about in places ranging from Seville, Spain to Point Pleasant, NJ to Providence, RI. The band looks something like this these days: vocalist and 2nd grade teacher John Gleason; drummer and expert conversationalist Colin Ryan; jet-setter/toy collector/guitarist Rich Zilg; cranky multi-instrumentalist and Shel Silverstein impersonator Jeremy Benson; master-gardener and bassist Dave “David” Jones; virtuoso Genesis-obsessed talkative keyboarder John Piatkowski; and most recently, guitarist/ “Space Committee” member (rumored name for the Bowie fandom) Renee Maskin. Their first two albums were home recorded (on the good old Roland VS1880) in dingy basements and were self-released in 2001 and 2002 when the guys were young-ish. In 2007, Brooklyn-based boutique label Kill Buffalo Records gave them a shot and released their second full-length album No One Will Know Where You've Been, the modest success of which allowed the band to play for a small but dedicated fan base around the country: half-filled (at best) clubs in Milwaukee, Chicago, LA, SF, Seattle, etc.; a jam-packed barn in Maquoketa, IA; a tattoo shop basement in Longview, TX; a falafel joint in Moscow, ID. The band even found themselves on some dream-bills at big festivals like Pickathon in Portland and the Monolith Festival at Red Rocks. Career highlights accumulate. Some of their songs were on the short-lived FX show “Lights Out,” which gave the show “Jersey-authenticity” and gave the band some money to record more music. After extensive touring, the Graves signed to the LA-based label Autumn Tone Records, which released the 18-song war epic My Son's Home in 2009. In 2010, Autumn Tone re-released If Shacking Up Is All You Want to Do with some bonus tracks and a new EP recorded in a cabin in the Adirondack Mountains called You Won't Be Happy with Me. Their first and only music video is released, which became inexplicably popular in Brazil. More touring, weirder and weirder games in the van to pass time, and the passing time all the while having its way with the guys and leaving everyone older and longer in the tooth. An awkward interview at SXSW with John Norris. A song in the closing credits of the movie “Sleepwalk With Me.” Babies and jobs and moving and all manner of life changes to celebrate and mourn. Producer, friend, and good-looking guy Daniel Schlett remains at the helm of the recording process; Paul Gold masters it all in the cutest little studio imaginable. A concept album: We Can Take Care of Ourselves, based on the S.E. Hinton novel The Outsiders and recorded by Schlett at The Bunker in Brooklyn, comes out in 2012 on vinyl only. Bars open and close, bookers move on, your fans grow older alongside you. Ups and downs, “strikes and gutters.” The band’s manager Dane Sundseth gets a real job working with Edward Sharpe, but remains by the band’s side anyway. Loyalty. Faith. Dedication. Longing. Love. All night drives to Birmingham to play The Bottletree. A well-paying show at an Italian Festival in north Jersey where the other band was a Frank Sinatra impersonator. A 90s themed festival with the B-52s and The Gin Blossoms. Funny and odd stuff. “How’s the band going? You still do that? Any gigs coming up? You guys get paid?” More tours, more local shows, more writing, more love, more rehearsing, creativity always under threat but unflagging. Constant rejuvenation and renewal. And finally, a new record is born at new studio and with a new label: the album Acne/Ears is recorded and engineered by Robert Lombardo in his Greenpoint, Brooklyn studio and released by NJ label Don Giovanni Records on September 4th, 2015. Renee joins the band! Always more to be excited about.
Venue Information:
The Ardmore Music Hall
23 East Lancaster Ave
Ardmore, PA, 19003