The Mountain Goats
Devil In the Shortwave


4.5
superb

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
December 1st, 2011 | 17 replies


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Turns out that the man who has a million albums also has a million EPs

If one were to limit their experience with The Mountain Goats to just John Darnielle's long-players they might think that they've heard it all, and given that he's had fourteen albums released under the name that would be a rather safe guess, but they would be wrong. Not only has he released more EP's and 7 inches than the already stacked resume at the longer end (most of his earlier EP releases can be found on a series of compilations on Ajax records), these lesser known gems in the cloven canon also contain some of Darnielle's best numbers. While the prevailing knowledge of the internet states that Nine Black Poppies is the first of the Mountain Goats EP's which the uninitiated should be grabbing for, that's just because A. “Cubs in 5” might just be the most humorous song he's put to tape and B. it's one of the few that's still in print. A deeper search leads straight to 2002's Devil in the Shortwave.

Released at the apex of his five year stint of genius that brought us not only his best lo-fi works with The Coroner's Gambit but also the first of his studio recorded albums in the form of three flawless concept albums that are still to this day fan favorites, Devil in the Shortwave is a wonderously packaged slice of the best of Darnielle's early career. Whether it's the tethered tension and forlorn twang of “Yoga” or the humorous yet bleak satire of “Crows”, Darnielle weaves a beautiful of web of personal stories and hidden emotion that is equal parts melancholy and escapism. Yet it is the EP's closing track “Commandante” which stands out among his strongest, not only out of the five tracks included on the release but out of his entire career. It is playful, it is honest, but most of all it is a perfectly layered mix of heart and smarts that is so often attempted by so many but rarely mastered to such a lovely extent as it is here. So while you may think that you've heard all that that the Mountain Goats have to offer, chances are you haven't even begun to scratch the surface and there's no better place to start than Devil in the Shortwave



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user ratings (21)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
cb123
December 1st 2011


2030 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

oh man ive only been listening to his LP's, you mean i gotta go digging for more?? love his work

dimsim3478
December 1st 2011


5181 Comments


Fuck, this guy records way too much stuff.

And worst of all, it's all amazing so you just have to listen to every one of them.

Digging: The Pillows - Moondust

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice write-up, I still need to get on this, you told me about it ages ago

one little thing:

Darnielle weaves a beautiful of web of personal stories


extra 'of'

but yeah nice work. best Mountain Goats album in the rec'd by reviewer section means I need this ASAP. I never really looked at Tallahassee/All Hail West Texas/We Shall All Be Healed as concept albums, but I guess I need to give them a closer listen.

Digging: RATKING - So It Goes

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

or maybe you meant Tallahassee/We Shall All Be Healed/The Sunset Tree, cause pretty sure All Hail West Texas is more lo-fi and less studio. idk, Tallahassee comes first on the sputnik band page, but I'm pretty sure that's wrong.

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

acquired, spun three times, love it. John Darnielle can do no wrong.

surprised by the lack of commenting in here. sputnik doesn't dig the Mountain Goats? fuckers.

bungy
December 1st 2011


8843 Comments


Yay

Blindsided
December 1st 2011


1871 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Need to check this obv.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 2nd 2011


17222 Comments


kids are missing out

cbmartinez
December 3rd 2011


2525 Comments


his catalog is overwhelming, this one is good but not one of the first ones i'd recommend

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


17222 Comments


well, for his total body of work, yeah. i'd say start with any of his LPs from Coroner-Sunset Tree. but when it comes to his EPs this is the best place to start.

cbmartinez
December 3rd 2011


2525 Comments


i like babylon springs and beautiful rat sunset

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2011


17222 Comments


the only song that's ever stuck with me from Babylon Springs is that Trembling Blue Stars cover. beautiful rat sunset is legit

cbmartinez
December 4th 2011


2525 Comments


alibi is the shit

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
December 5th 2011


23909 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Mountain Goats ranked (only the LPs that I've heard, I still need to work all the way back from Sweden):

The Coroner's Gambit
----------
The Sunset Tree
Tallahassee
All Eternals Deck
We Shall All Be Healed
All Hail West Texas
Full Force Galesburg
----------
Heretic Pride
Sweden
---------
The Life of the World to Come

Athom
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2011


17222 Comments


Get Nothing For Juice and Ghana.

valrus
December 5th 2011


43 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I prefer New Asian Cinema to this, but all three of these EPs (the third being Isopanisad Radio Hour) are solid.

GoingToBuffalo
January 3rd 2012


34 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is one of my favorite EPs, Dirty Old Town is the only song that I don't really like.





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