Song of the Day: The Mountain Goats – Birth of Serpents

John Darnielle a.k.a. The Mountain Goats at KEXP
photo by Brittney Bush Bollay

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased tracks, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on The Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “Birth of Serpents” by The Mountain Goats from the 2011 release All Eternals Deck on Merge.

The Mountain Goats – Birth of Serpents (MP3)

John Darnielle and the Mountain Goats have been popping up in the news recently, and not necessarily because All Eternals Deck, their 13th studio album and first on Merge, is coming out Tuesday, March 1 (that’s today!). In an effort to raise money for the Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims, Darnielle announced that he would be putting up the only copy of a cassette of a one-song demo for auction. He recorded the track sometime before Tallahassee was released, and the song is about “doom and disaster.” Not only that, the Mountain Goats have been conscious about recent domestic issues as well. Danielle released a video of himself covering “The Power is In The Union” by Joe Hill in response to the Wisconsin protests.

All that is nice to see, but the Mountain Goats’ new release is newsworthy in itself. For one, the album was produced by Erik Rutan, who is one of the most well-respected producers… of death metal; he will add the Mountain Goats to his extensive list of production credits that includes the likes of Morbid Angel and Death Eternal. Though Darnielle is not shy about his love for metal, he has stressed that just because Rutan was on board for All Eternals Decks doesn’t mean the Mountain Goats are ready to venture into head-banging territory. If you want proof, just listen to today’s featured song, “Birth of Serpents.” Although it sounds like it might be a fitting name for a death metal song, it’s nothing but what you’d expect from an uplifting Mountain Goats song, as Darnielle sings about the “truth springing free” after viewing a recently developed picture.

The Mountain Goats will be touring through the Eastern United States in April before heading overseas in May. For more details, visit their website. But tune in today at 12PM to hear The Mountain Goats live on KEXP. For now, here they are performing “Birth of Serpents” on Letterman:

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