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.

Quick True/False: World Capitals
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
10 Pats Born on St. Patrick's Day
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
A photo from the 1919 wedding of Princess Patricia of Connaught to the Hon. Alexander Ramsay.
Bain News Service - Library of Congress, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Need some St. Patrick's Day conversation fodder that doesn't involve leprechauns or four-leaf clovers? Ask your friends to name a "Pat" born on St. Patrick's Day. If they can't, they owe you a drink—then you can wow them with this list of 10.


Princess Patricia was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who gave up all of her royal titles when she married a commoner. She was born at Buckingham Palace on March 17, 1886.


The Dallas star was born on March 17, 1949. And here's a totally random fact about Duffy: His nephew is Barry Zito, former MLB pitcher for the Oakland Athletics and the San Francisco Giants.


Pattie Boyd
Larry Ellis, Express/Getty Images

Pattie Boyd is well-known to lovers of classic rock: She has been married three times, including once to George Harrison and once to Eric Clapton, who both wrote a couple of the most romantic songs in rock history in her honor (including The Beatles's "Something" and Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight"). Boyd was a model when she met Harrison on the set of A Hard Day's Night in 1964; the pair were married two years later. They divorced in 1977 and she married Clapton, Harrison's close friend, in 1979. She also had an affair with Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones toward the end of her marriage to The Quiet Beatle.


Belfast-born Pat Rice is a former footballer and coach who spent the bulk of his career with Arsenal F.C. (that's "football club," a.k.a. soccer to us Americans). He joined the Gunners in 1964 as a mere apprentice, turning pro a couple of years later. He became captain in 1977 and left the club for a few years in the early 1980s to go to Watford, but returned after he retired from playing in 1984. In 2012, after nearly 30 years with the organization, he announced his retirement.


Patty Maloney is an actress with dwarfism who stands just three feet, 11 inches tall. She has appeared in many movies and T.V. shows over the years, including operating the Crypt Keeper puppet in Tales from the Crypt. She also played Chewbacca's son Lumpy in The Star Wars Holiday Special.


Michael C. Hall and Mathew St. Patrick in 'Six Feet Under'

Ok, so Mathew St. Patrick is the stage name of the actor, but he was born Patrick Matthews in Philadelphia on March 17, 1968. You probably know him best as David's boyfriend Keith on Six Feet Under.


He may not be a household name, but the recording artists Patrick Adams writes for and helps produce certainly are. Adams has been involved in the careers of Salt-N-Pepa, Sister Sledge, Gladys Knight, Rick James, and Coolio, among others.


It's possible you look at Patrick McDonnell's work every day, depending on which comics your newspaper carries. McDonnell draws a strip called Mutts featuring a dog and a cat named Earl and Mooch, respectively. Charles Schulz called it one of the best comic strips of all time.


 Singer/Guitarist Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins performs onstage during Live Earth New York at Giants Stadium on July 7, 2007 in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Evan Agostini, Getty Images

Yes, you know him better as just plain old Billy Corgan: he's the face of the Smashing Pumpkins, engages in public feuds with Courtney Love, and maybe once dated Jessica Simpson. He made his debut on March 17, 1967.


Patricia Ford is a retired model probably best known for her Playboy photoshoots in the 1990s.


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