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Why The Mountain Goats Are Awesome

The Mountain Goats are a band, one that has a giant rabid following of nerds and hipsters, but who haven't exactly penetrated mainstream radio -- probably because of the two things that make the Mountain Goats great, songwriter John Darnielle's style of singing, in staccato, sort of shrill little bursts of words, and the subject matter of the songs themselves, which are always a little unconventional, and the best of which knock the listener for a loop. (Pitchfork describes their sound as "passionate nasal-fi," whatever that means.) "Weird," you'll think upon first listen, "I wasn't expecting that" -- and then after a few seconds of confusion you'll either decide you hate it and switch it off or be hooked forever.

Darnielle's a storyteller, and you get the sense that he wrote a lot of bad, angsty poetry in little notebooks as a teenager. Now he writes a lot of good, angsty songs about -- in this case, at least -- being a teenager. If you like songs with lines like "We tried to fight the creeping sense of dread with temporal things," the Mountain Goats are for you.

Or this song, which is a bit shocking at first in its strident, unapologetic honesty, and then empowering, and then catchy and awesome. As one astute commenter noted, "This song is like crack!!!"

"Love Love Love" has been stuck in my head for weeks. It's deceptively simple and deeply affecting. I love the simple user-made that goes along with it -- just shots of a rainy backyard. Nice. Note to all YouTubers who put their own video to songs: do stuff like that.

All Hail West Texas is a 2000 album that Darnielle recorded with nothing but an old abused acoustic guitar and a cassette-tape jambox, a squeaky piece of crap with a single mic input that sounds like hell. But he managed to crank out a couple of amazing songs on it, and something about the terrible quality gives it this small town recorded-in-your-bedroom feeling that I'm not sure how he'd get any other way, which feels especially appropriate for songs like this one:

"Woke Up New" is a new one -- and it's the best lonely break-up song I've heard since "A Case of You," which is an almost unapproachably perfect classic, if you ask me. If you've just split up with anyone recently, grab a hankie before listening to this one.

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Finding Art in Everyday Sights
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What Eye Spy/Vimeo
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Artist Paul Gledhill "draws on" everyday sights for inspiration. See more on Instagram.

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Can You Find the Money in Santa’s Sack in This Hidden Image Puzzle?
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A hidden-object image features rows of Santas carrying sacks.
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Vouchercloud, a website and app for online deals, brings us this holiday-themed test of your vision just in time for Christmas. Hidden among all the identical Santa Clauses carrying sacks of presents, one financially-savvy Santa is carrying a big sack of money. Can you figure out where he is? (Warning: Spoilers below.)

Spot him yet? If you’re stumped, check out the solution below. If this one was a breeze for you, try out a few more hidden-object puzzles here, here, and here. Or if you’re looking for something with a little more real-life relevancy, try to figure out where the snake is in this photo. Happy hunting!

A hidden-object image features rows of Santas carrying sacks with the solution circled in red.

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