The Rapture, Ladytron, and The Streets had the true hits of 2002

To commemorate 60 years of the Billboard Hot 100, Off The Charts revisits each year since it was established to spotlight songs and artists that didn’t make the cut, yet still made a significant impact. Years are chosen randomly and—to make it even harder on ourselves—rules for inclusion are that neither the songs nor…

Bob Odenkirk, David Cross, How Did This Get Made?, more coming to Onion Comedy & Arts Festival

Big news, comedy fans: Our comedy festival returns May 30-June 3 at various venues in Chicago under a new name, The Onion Comedy & Arts Festival. Why change the name from the amusing-but-difficult-to-remember-and-Google 26th Annual Comedy Festival? Well one, see above. And two, it’s The Onion’s 30th anniversary in…

John Darnielle's statement about how to punctuate a Mountain Goats classic is tearing The A.V Club apart

It’s safe to say that we here at The A.V. Club are generally fans of John Darnielle’s work; outside his enjoyably macabre novels, Darnielle is best known as the frontman and creative soul of The Mountain Goats, prolifically banging out his sad-funny musical thoughts on heartache, healing, and the bittersweet pleasures…

The Mountain Goats get a little lost in the darkness of Goths

Goths, the Mountain Goats’ 16th studio album, opens with “Rain In Soho,” a barnburner of a song that belies the subdued nature of the tracks that follow. In fact, it gets things off to such a rousing start that it’s easy to overlook what’s missing—namely, frontman John Darnielle’s guitar. As mentioned in the album’s…

What are you listening to this week?

John Darnielle is nothing if not deliberate with his words, so you could be sure that when The Mountain Goats announced an album titled Goths, goths were what you’d be getting. The song titles certainly deliver on that front, with references to Sisters Of Mercy, wearing black, and—more esoterically—Portuguese goth…

Mountain Goats release the cryptic anti-Trump track “Etruscans”

Our First 100 Days may have been inspired by (well-deserved) apprehension regarding the Trump presidency, but it’s become so much more than that. The proceeds from sales of the compilation—which features Angel Olsen, Toro Y Moi, and many more—go directly to women’s rights, immigration, and fairness advocacy groups.…

John Darnielle’s Universal Harvester can’t reap the benefits of its intriguing premise

“In most lives, in most places, people go missing.” The first line of the final chapter of John Darnielle’s second novel, Universal Harvester, makes clear its main concern. Although Darnielle, best known as the singer-songwriter behind indie folk outfit The Mountain Goats, begins the novel as one story—a mystery or…

“Thirteen” going on “30 Something”: Growing up according to pop music

Next to sex and death, there’s no more compelling subject for songwriters than the thing that happens in between those two endpoints on the cycle of life. Aging—and all the excitement, confusion, and existential dread that accompanies it—has long captivated the songwriter, whose work within a ruthlessly youth-focused…

You can support worthy causes with these Inauguration Day protest compilations

Well, it’s finally here. After months of hoping that we’d all awake from the nightmare we’ve been living in, Donald Trump is taking the oath of office. In that time, musicians of all genres have expressed their dissent through music, and today two new compilations have been released as forms of protest, with all…

Angel Olsen, PWR BTTM, Mitski, and more sign on for 100 days of anti-Trump songs

A bunch of haters and losers from the failing music industry are so angry at how great Donald Trump is making America that they’ve decided to release one song every day for the first 100 days of incoming president’s tremendous reign, people are saying. Among the overrated musicians providing “rare, unreleased, or…

What pop culture reminds you of the goodness of humanity?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

Advertisement

What song always gives you goosebumps?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

John Darnielle’s already written another novel, which will be published next year

Given his erudite lyrical stylings, it was only a matter of time before John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats wrote a whole book. And he did, back in 2014—his debut novel, Wolf In White Van, traced the rich interior life of a disfigured game designer. And if that impressive work of dreamy fiction left you hankering for…

From bad to good: What pop culture duds led you to great stuff?

Welcome back to AVQ&A, where we throw out a question for discussion among the staff and readers. Consider this a prompt to compare notes on your interface with pop culture, to reveal your embarrassing tastes and experiences, and to ponder how our diverse lives all led us to convene here together. Got a question you’d…

The Mountain Goats release new songs in support of pro-choice fundraiser

When John Darnielle’s not writing songs about love, loss, and Chavo Guerrero, he’s apparently speaking up in support of women’s reproductive rights. (Okay, he’s probably also eating, sleeping, and recording songs about the founding of Rome.) Darnielle’s even a member of the Reproductive Justice League, a bowling team…