The Mountain Goats have released a new song, “As Many Candles as Possible,” from what will be their second album of 2020, Getting Into Knives, out October 23rd via Merge.
The track opens with a bristling twist of guitars and rumbling drums before settling into a steady groove. A distorted crunch underpins the primarily acoustic proceedings, helping the song build to a pitch-perfect freakout, featuring Al Green’s organist Charles Hodges.
“As Many Candles as Possible” arrives with a lyric video directed by frontman John Darnielle’s wife, Lalitree Darnielle. The video finds the singer-guitarist sitting at a table, scribbling the song’s lyrics — and some occasional doodles during the instrumental breaks — onto a notepad.
The Mountain Goats recorded Getting Into Knives at Phillips Recording in Memphis, the studio built by Sun Records founder Sam Phillips when the original Sun Studio was no longer big enough to handle the demand. Matt Ross-Spang produced the album, after serving as an engineer on the Mountain Goats’ 2019 effort, In League With Dragons.
Getting Into Knives is available to preorder on cassette, CD, and as a two-LP vinyl set. A limited-edition metallic-gold vinyl pressing will be available directly from Merge, while a salmon-colored deluxe vinyl set is available via the Mountain Goats’ website.
Getting Into Knives was supposed to be the Mountain Goats’ only musical project of 2020, but after the Covid-19 pandemic set in and the band was forced to cancel its touring plans, Darnielle came up with a new album to help his band make up some of the lost income. Over 10 days, per NPR, Darnielle wrote and recorded Songs for Pierre Chuvin — inspired by the French historian’s writing about the end of paganism — using the same Panasonic RX-FT500 boombox he used to make the first Mountain Goats recordings nearly two decades ago. That album was released in April, and all the money earned from it was distributed among the band and touring crew.