Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Goatman” by Goat from the 2012 album World Music on Rocket Recordings.
As any band with a single-word name knows (Cults, Girls, Foals – the list of 21st century, un-Googleable groups goes on), it’s not too hard to keep your band hidden on the Internet, but Goat have provided such a compelling backstory that makes any specks of truth a music journalist could dig up completely irrelevant. Featuring three “key members” (only one of which has ever identified himself), and an unknown number of live and studio collaborators, Goat’s supposed origins lie in the Swedish town of Korpilombolo, a northern town that is surrounded by the legend that a witch doctor once settled there and cursed the town as he fled from Christian crusaders. A self-declared part of Korpilombolo’s musical tradition, Goat’s debut, the aptly-titled World Music, is a blinding mix of African and experimental rock touchstones – in other words, exactly what one would expect a group of voodoo devotees to sound like.
Like another masked, vocally disorienting Swedish group, Goat attack the listeners from all sides on “Goatman”, but the incorporation of African rhythms and Sabbath-esque waves of sludge make it a fascinating delusion to get lost in. Grinding barbed-wire guitars spiral in and out as chanted vocals lead the listener between fiery explosions of acid-psych guitar leads with an intensity that recalls The Black Angels’ more aggressive moments. If The Knife had recorded “Full of Fire” without any electronic instruments (and cut about five minutes from it), the result would probably come close to “Goatman’s” feverish psychedelia, but without the help of whatever voodoo forces Goat align themselves with, they still wouldn’t be able to reproduce four minutes of such stirring and unrestrained tempest.
Goat have lined up a series of U.S. dates for the Spring before heading back to Europe for festival season, but all of those shows are on the eastern half of the country, so keep an eye on their Facebook and website for news on any Northwestern dates. Watch a recording of one of the band’s weird-but-definitely-awesome live performances in 2012 below.