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Welcome!

Welcome to the Annotated Mountain Goats!

The objective of this website is to provide a comprehensive, referenced source for information about the lyrics of the Mountain Goats. John's commentaries and details about obscure references can all be found inside. If you'd like to contribute, please let me know! I'd love to hear from you and if I've gotten something wrong, or you have more information, send it in.

Many of the references are from comments John has made at live shows. If these are reported, it's always from a recording so it can be verified. All of these are available online, in the forums, or elsewhere. If you can't find the source and you'd like to confirm a quote, feel free to shoot us a line. Keep in mind that, as in my live show directory, the only quotes that are included here are those that I can find so that I can verify them.

Many references and excellent banter are left unannotated. The goal of this website is to help discover and understand the Mountain Goats as opposed to revealing every gem. Listening to live shows and banter yourself will continue to yield moments which cannot be had otherwise. Many particularly amazing descriptions are summarized rather than quoted, and a great deal of banter not pertaining to explaining a song are left for the listener to discover. John himself has said with some frequency that he doesn't believe in parsing every detail — that the meanings of songs change and should be interpreted by the listeners. That said, I love hearing what he thinks about his music, hence this website. So, please be careful with overanalyzing and avoid dogma as you use these annotations.

In compiling these documents, I have made three other pages of note:

Pick the source you're looking for. Links indicate annotations, entries without links exist for this to function as a discography.

Table of contents

Albums

Title Year Label Format
Transcendental Youth 2012 Merge CD/LP
All Eternals Deck 2011 Merge CD/LP
The Life of the World to Come 2009 4AD CD/LP
Heretic Pride 2008 4AD CD/LP
Get Lonely 2006 4AD CD/LP
The Sunset Tree 2005 4AD CD/LP
We Shall All Be Healed 2004 4AD CD/LP
Tallahassee 2002 4AD CD/LP
All Hail West Texas 2002; 2013 Emperor Jones; Merge CD; CD/LP
The Coroner's Gambit 2000 Absolutely Kosher CD/LP
Full Force Galesburg 1997 Emperor Jones CD/LP
Nothing for Juice 1996 Ajax CD/LP/promo cassette
Sweden 1995 Shrimper CD/LP
Zopilote Machine 1994; 2005 Ajax; 3 Beads of Sweat CD/LP
Yam, the King of Crops 1994 Oska cassette
Taking the Dative 1994 Car in Car cassette
Hot Garden Stomp 1993 Shrimper cassette
Transmissions to Horace 1993 Sonic Enemy cassette
The Hound Chronicles 1992 Shrimper cassette
Taboo VI: The Homecoming 1991 Shrimper cassette

EPs

Title Year Label Format
Moon Colony Bloodbath 2009 Cadmean Dawn 12" 45 rpm
Black Pear Tree 2008 Cadmean Dawn 12" 45 rpm
Satanic Messiah 2008 Cadmean Dawn double 7"/digital
Devil in the Shortwave 2002 Yoyo single-sided 12"
Jam Eater Blues 2001 Sub Pop 7"
On Juhu Beach 2001 Nursecall; Yoyo 3" CD
Isopanisad Radio Hour 1998 Yoyo single-sided 12"
New Asian Cinema 1998 Yoyo single-sided 12"
Nine Black Poppies 1995 Emperor Jones CD
Songs About Fire 1995 Cassiel 7"
Songs for Peter Hughes 1995 Sonic Squid 7"
Philyra 1994 Theme Park 7"
Beautiful Rat Sunset 1994 Shrimper 10"/CD
Chile de Árbol 1993 Ajax 7"
Songs for Petronius 1992 Shrimper 7"

Singles

Title Year Label Format
Dilaudid 2005 4AD digital
Letter from Belgium 2004 4AD 7"/CD
Palmcorder Yajna 2003 4AD 7"/CD
See America Right 2002 4AD 7"/CD

Splits

Collaboration records are put in the albums, EPs, or singles categories as appropriate, as given the nature of the Mountain Goats it feels artificial to me to distinguish between the nebulous nature of the regular band at times and a formal collaboration. True splits are listed below, along with true collaborations with bands outside the traditional Mountain Goats canon.

Title Year Label Format
Bedside Recordings Vol. 1.2 2003 Barsuk 7"
Tropical Depression 1997 Little Mafia 7"
Orange Raja, Blood Royal 1995 Walt 7"
Why You All So Thief? 1994 Sing Eunuchs 7"
miscellaneous collaborations      

Compilations

Appearances on non-Mountain-Goats compilations are annotated together on the miscellaneous page.

Title Year Label Format
The Hound Chronicles/Hot Garden Stomp 2012 Shrimper CD
Ghana 1999; 2002 Ajax; 3 Beads of Sweat CD
Bitter Melon Farm 1999; 2002 Ajax; 3 Beads of Sweat CD
Protein Source of the Future… NOW! 1999; 2002 Ajax; 3 Beads of Sweat CD
miscellaneous compilation appearances      

Bonus media

Media released in association with an album, generally containing demos, extras, or outtakes. For a complete list of such tracks, see the series page. Extras without bonus media are annoted with the album in question.

Title Year Format Associated album
Steal Smoked Fish b/w In the Shadow of the Western Hills 2012 7" Transcendental Youth
All Survivors Pack 2011 cassette All Eternals Deck
The Life of the World in Flux 2009 CD The Life of the World to Come
Come, Come to the Sunset Tree 2005 LP The Sunset Tree

Online releases

Albums or songs whose primary medium of release was an online studio, boombox, or demo recording. For Songs for Vamsidasa Babaji, see Heretic Pride.

Title Year Format
Seven for Australia 2008 digital
Three for Mike G 2008 digital
Hospicio de Huerfanos 2005 digital
miscellaneous online releases   digital

Unreleased or live-only

Albums or songs which are entirely unreleased or which are only played at concerts, radio sessions, and so on.

Title Year Source
Jack & Faye 1995/6 info
Hail and Farewell, Gothenburg 1995 info
miscellaneous unreleased songs   (to come)

Side and previous projects

The Extra Lens/Glenns Year Label Format
Undercard 2010 Merge CD/LP
Martial Arts Weekend 2002 Absolutely Kosher CD
Infidelity + 2 1994 Harriet 7"
miscellaneous appearances   multiple multiple
The Congress      
miscellaneous appearances   multiple multiple
The Bloody Hawaiians      
The Threegos 1994 Cache Cow CD
Bastard Son 1986 Anthropology CD
The Magnificent Bloody Hawaiians 1985 Anthropology CD
miscellaneous appearances   multiple multiple
The Seneca Twins      
Rehearsal tape 1995? unreleased unknown

Multiple Congress releases exist, specifically Full Term (1995), No Milk Since 1979 (1991), The Farm Out Back (1991), She Lies in Roses (1989), We All Fall Down (1985), Sleeping Under Angels' Wings (1985), and Election Year (1985). All were released under the Cache Cow label on cassette. They're not listed above since I've never been able to find copies of them.

The official Mountain Goats discography claims that there is a Seneca Twins demo. However, this is known to be incorrect, and this recording is actually a live show, and accordingly is listed in the live show page. One track off of a rehearsal tape is available.

John has occasionally released material under other names, such as the Comedians (an early name for collaborations between Darnielle and Vanderslice) and Yamaraja Racers (a cover band for himself). These are documented as if they were released as Mountain Goats titles, since other than the name they are indistinguishable from Mountain Goats material.

One other side project may exist.

Credits

First, thank you, John Darnielle, for making music that has inspired and moved me so much, over and over again. Words cannot describe what your music means to me. Thank you.

I owe a huge thanks to one man in particular: Christopher MacMurray, often known as Caliclimber, who I became friends with at a show and who has encouraged my love of the Mountain Goats in every way possible. He's also produced several truly remarkable Flickr albums, which detail almost every piece of Mountain Goats cover art, related cover art, posters, and Extra Glenns and Lens cover art, from which I and others have cribbed heavily. Thank you for everything, Cali, you are the best.

I also would like to thank Jon Nall for producing his remarkable website, for being the Mountain Goats archivist, for unknowingly exposing me and so many others to information about so much great music, and for inspiring this website. Thanks for paving the way.

Many people have offered information, discussion, feedback, criticism, advice, corrections, and rare praise regarding the contents of this site. Particularly I would like to thank the denizens of the Mountain Goats forums for much discussion and analysis helping me to find more information, the Mountain Goats subreddit for similar reasons, and commenters on many websites (particularly on Songmeanings) for helping me track down obscure references. Of these people, three in particular stand out: Thomas Fidler, also known as Drumhax, Patrick Lickman, also known as echo, who spontaneously drafted entire pages about albums and spurred me to write more, and Stephen Plummer, a frequent chatter on #themountaingoats, whose impeccable memory and knowledge of live material corrected many errors in the live show directory.

Lastly, thank you to all fans of this amazing band for being an extraordinary community and for supporting excellent independent music.

Further reading