I still remember where I was and what I was doing when I first heard “All Hail West Texas,” the sixth album by The Mountain Goats. It was 2007 and I was laying in a dorm room on Long Island trying to download as much music as I could before the administration there could shut down the loophole in the network that allowed students to use BitTorrent.
I downloaded the entire discography because I was poor and had an insatiable need to have “all of an artist.” I was looking for a specific song, “Going To Georgia,” which I had heard the cover of by a band called Atom And His Package years before. Embarrassingly, I had never heard of The Mountain Goats before that.
I hit play on iTunes, it started alphabetically, of course, with “All Hail West Texas,” which opens with “The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out Of Denton”. I never just listen to music, usually surf the internet, read, etc. But with this album, for the first time in my newly “adult” life, I laid on a bed and listened to an album. A perfect, crackling, weird little album that was recorded on a boom box.
I put together this list of John Darnielle songs today and completely and totally fell back into this album over the course of it. I’m sure anyone who has a tumblr has already heard about this album ad infinitum, but if you haven’t, if you’re like me at 17, completely out of the loop, you should listen to it.