Get Lonely 1 2

Cover of Get Lonely Back of Get Lonely

Title: Get Lonely
Released: 2006
Label: 4AD

Jump to the table of contents

Liner notes 3

(main release):

recorded at prairie sun, february-march 2006

(japanese release): 3

Transcribed and translated in full here.

Get Lonely had a foreign release in Japan, and three songs were only released there: Naming Day, They Are Stone Swallowers, and Keeping House. Additionally, one outtake, Going Invisible, and the demo for If You See Light were released online in Seven for Australia. Going Invisible is accordingly annotated there.

Table of contents

  1. Wild Sage
  2. New Monster Avenue
  3. Half Dead
  4. Get Lonely
  5. Maybe Sprout Wings
  6. Moon Over Goldsboro
  7. In the Hidden Places
  8. Song for Lonely Giants
  9. Woke Up New
  10. If You See Light
  11. Cobra Tattoo
  12. In Corolla

Wild Sage 4 5 6

I leave the house as soon as it gets light outside
Like a prisoner breaking out of jail
And I steal down to Business 15-501 7
Like I had a bounty hunter on my tail

And somebody stops to pick me up
But he drops me off just down the block
And along the highway where the empty spirits breathe
Wild sage growing in the weeds

Walked down the soft shoulder and I count my steps
Headed vaguely eastward, sun in my eyes
And I lose my footing and I skin my hands breaking my fall
And I laugh to myself and look up at the skies

And then I think I hear angels in my ears
Like marbles being thrown against a mirror
And along the highway where unlucky stray dogs bleed
Wild sage growing in the weeds

And some days I don't miss my family
And some days I do
Some days I think I'd feel better if I tried harder
Most days I know it's not true

I lay down right where I fell, cold grass in my face
And I hear the traffic like the rhythm of the tides
And I stare at the scrape on the heel of my hand
'Til it doesn't sting so much and until the blood's dried

And when somebody asks if I'm OK 8
I don't know what to say 9
And along the highway
From cast-off innumerable seeds
Wild sage growing in the weeds

New Monster Avenue 10 11

Shadows on the broad lawn, canopy of trees
Sometime after midnight the ground is gonna freeze
Birds in the frosty air
What are they doing there?

Greenhouse full of butcher's-broom 12 13
Breeze is at my back
Sometime before the sun comes up
The earth is gonna crack

I look down at my hands
Like they were mirrors

Fresh coffee at sunrise
Warm my lips against the cup
Been waiting such a long time now
My number's finally coming up

All the neighbors come on out to their front porches
Waving torches

Half Dead 14

It was raining outside, so I cleaned house today
Spent half of the morning throwing old things away
Try not to get caught up, try to think like a machine
Focus in on the task, try not to think about what it means

Can't get you
Out of my head
Lost without you
Half dead

Took my spot at the window
Looked out at the road
Dots and dashes of traffic
Like a message in code

And whole boxes of memories
Wrapped up at the curb
I sang songs to myself that
Didn't have any words

Can't get you
Out of my head
Lost without you
Half dead

Stole out to the back yard late last night
Pine trees frozen in the silvery moonlight
Rising like giants from the cold earth
What are the years we gave each other ever gonna be worth?

Can't get you
Out of my head
Lost without you
Half dead

Get Lonely 15

I will rise up early
And dress myself up nice
And I will leave the house
And check the deadlock twice
And I will find a crowd
And blend in for a minute
And I will try to find
A little comfort in it

And I will get lonely
And gasp for air
And send your name up from my lips
Like a signal flare

And I will go downtown
Stand in the shadows of the buildings
And button up my coat
Trying to stay strong, spirit willing
And I will come back home
Maybe call some friends
Maybe paint some pictures
It all depends

And I will get lonely
And gasp for air
And look up at the high windows
I see your face up there

Maybe Sprout Wings 16

A bad dream shook me in my sleep
And I woke up sweating
Ran through the dark to the shower
Already forgetting
Try to think good thoughts
Trying to find my way clear
Let the room fill with steam
Traced pictures on the mirror

Ghosts and clouds
And nameless things
Squint your eyes and hope real hard
Maybe sprout wings

I clawed my way to the living room window
Stood there in the cold
The last bits of my dream like figures in the distance
Hard to hold
I thought of old friends
The ones who'd gone missing 17
Said all their names three times 18
Phantoms in the early dark
Canaries in the mines 19

Ghosts and clouds
And nameless things
Squint your eyes and hope real hard
Maybe sprout wings

Moon Over Goldsboro 20 21 22

I went down to the gas station
For no particular reason
Heard the screams from the high school
It's football season

Empty lot the station faces
Will probably be there forever
I climbed over the four foot fence
I was trying to sever the tether

Moon in the sky
Cold as a stone
Spend each night in your arms
Always wake up alone

I lay down in the weeds
It was a real cold night
I was happy 'til the overnight attendant
Switched on the floodlight

Walking home I was talking to you under my breath
Saying things I would never say directly
I heard a siren on the highway up ahead
Kinda wished they'd come and get me

Frost on the sidewalk
White as a bone
Tried to get close to you again
Always wake up alone

And as I was crossing our doorstep
I hesitated just a moment there
Remembered the day we moved into our small house
'Til the vision got too vivid to bear

You were almost asleep
Halfway undressed
I lay right down next to you
Held your head against my chest

And a guy with any kind of courage
Would maybe stop to think the matter through
Maybe hold you still and raise the question
Instead of blindly holding onto you

But we crank up the heat
And you giggle and moan
Spend all night in the company of ghosts
Always wake up alone

In The Hidden Places 23

Autumn came around like a drifter to an on-ramp
There were wet leaves floating in gutters full of rain
Took to walking barefoot around town
Melodies from grade school kicking in my brain

Saw you on the crosstown bus today
You were reading a magazine
I turned my face away
And I shut my eyes tight
Dreamed about the flowers that hide from the light 24
On dark hillsides in the hidden places

The brakes howled and the bus pulled up near my house
And I got off at the corner
Pulled my sleeves down over my hands, over my hands
And I wished I was someone else
And I wished it was warmer

And when I got home I thought about you
Like a desperate policeman searching for clues
And I almost passed out just then
And I shut my eyes again
Headed for the dark hillsides
In the hidden places

Song for Lonely Giants 25 26

No one washed behind my ears
High in the trees alone for years
Practicing my solitary scales 'til they rose like balloons 27
Watching them go where they will go

Face in the leaves, song in my throat
Fall through the air, hoping to float
Practicing my solitary scales 'til they grow heavy
Too heavy to carry
Watching them go where they will go

Woke Up New 28 29

On the morning when I woke up without you for the first time
I felt free and I felt lonely and I felt scared
And I began to talk to myself almost immediately
Not being used to being the only person there

The first time I made coffee for just myself, I made too much of it
But I drank it all just 'cause you hate it when I let things go to waste
And I wandered through the house like a little boy lost at the mall
And an astronaut could've seen the hunger in my eyes from space 30

And I sang
Oh, what do I do, what do I do, what do I do?
What do I do without you?

On the morning when I woke up without you for the first time
I was cold so I put on a sweater and I turned up the heat
And the walls began to close in and I felt so sad and frightened
I practically ran from the living room out into the street

And the wind began to blow and all the trees began to bend
And the world in its cold way started coming alive
And I stood there like a businessman waiting for a train
And I got ready for the future to arrive

And I sang
Oh, what do I do, what do I do, what do I do?
What do I do without you?

If You See Light 31 32 33 34

When the villagers come to my door
I will hide underneath the table in the dining room
Knees drawn up to my chest

When the villagers come to my door
I will breathe shallow breaths from high up in my stomach
Ah hah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah-hah

Waiting for the front door to splinter
Waiting all winter

When the villagers come to my door
I'll be all tucked away with my face to the floor
And my eyes closed

And no one knows how to keep secrets 'round here
They tell everyone everything soon as they know
And then where is there left for poor sinners to go?

Waiting for the front door to splinter
Waiting all winter

Cobra Tattoo 35

Sun just clearing the tree line when my day begins
Slippery ice on the bridges, north-eastern wind coming in
You will bruise my head, I will strike your heel 36
Drive past woods of northern pine, try not to let go of the wheel

Dream at night, girl with the cobra tattoo
On her arm, its head flaring out like a parachute

Prisms in the dewdrops in the underbrush
Skate case sailors' purses 37 floating down in the black needlerush 38
Higher than the stars I will set my throne 39
God does not need Abraham, God can raise children from stones 40

Dream at night, girl with the cobra tattoo
And try to hear the garbled transmissions come through

In Corolla 41 42

The day I turned my back on all you people
I felt an itching in my thumbs
Salt air like a broadcast from the distant dark beyond
When my transformation comes

I went down to the warm warm water
Saw a pelican fly past
Waved once at the highway and then left all that behind me
I went wading through the grass

And no one was gonna come and get me
There wasn't anybody gonna know
Even though I leave a trail of burnt things in my wake
Every single place I go

And it was cool and it was quiet
In the humid marsh down there
I let my head sink down beneath the brackish water
Felt it gumming up my hair

The sun was sinking into the Atlantic
The last time that I turned my back on you
I tried to summon up a little prayer as I went under
It was the best that I could do

And I said, let them all fare better than your servant
The reeds all pricking at my skin
Here's hoping they have better luck than I had down here with you
All that water rushing in

Naming Day 43 44

I am hiding in the house
Someone's coming through the gate
When the doorbell sounds like an air raid siren
I am lying in wait

People used to come around
They fish-eyed and they rubbernecked
Anyone who'd come to visit now
Is automatically a suspect

I creep up to the window
Me and my buzzing brain
And we watch two Jehovah's witnesses 45
Retreating down the lane

I'm not coming out yet
It's too cold
Leave me alone 'til I learn
How to spin straw into gold 46

I put on night vision goggles
Work my way along the wall into the kitchen
As soon as the first snow fell this year
My fingers started itching

And I locked up the doors
And I sealed up all the windows
And friends came by sometime for a while
I never let 'em in though

And then they stopped, then they stopped at last
And now it's just us three
These walls and the Church of Jesus Christ
Of the Latter-day Saints and me 47

And I'm not coming out yet
It's too cold
Leave me alone 'til I learn
How to spin straw into gold

They Are Stone Swallowers 48 49

You went away to Stockholm 50 for a week
You came back with some scratch-marks on your cheeks
The towers line the highway and they cry
From deep down in their guts until they die

The water tower crew are total devils
Toxicity near saturation levels
I rise up and greet the day
See the serpents rising from the clay

You were headed down to Salzburg 51 for the night
All my hair was turning white
You and your crew were good to go
So many people that we'll never really know

I saw the city men, they make me laugh
Digging up the cables, cutting them in half
I watch the ancient sun until it falls
See the serpents coming through the walls

Keeping House 52

"Two, three, four."

You clean out your junk drawer
You mop up some blood, while the
First of some new creatures
Rises from the mud

Cursing the moment
That saw him draw breath
The ghost on your doorstep is starving
To death

You spray down the windows
You wipe them all clean, and you
Douse your old clothing
With fresh gasoline

And the ghost on your doorstep
Is soaked wet with rain
And he clutches his stomach
And howls at the pain

And you can stay busy all day
He's never going away

So let all the lights blaze
Keep your heart light
Play really loud music
All hours of the night

And when you set the table
Set it for two
The ghost on your doorstep has to eat
Same as you
Same as you


The incredible Wil Hall transcribed this entire album and is the sole reason this album managed to get posted while I was unfortunately swamped. Wil, thank you! Even more wonderfully, Bryce Carr and Mairead Beeson did an incredible job annotating this album and submitting it, starting it off — it's very unlikely that annotations for this would be up within years of their submission without their hard work. Thank you, thank you! Thanks also to Andrew Fazzari, who unbelievably transcribed and translated the liner notes from Japanese, as you can see below.

Thanks as always to Caliclimber, whose Flickr page provided the album art.


  1. "This is a textbook for keeping company with loneliness." — Japanese liner notes

    "Of course it [loneliness] has something to teach. A life without loneliness is incomplete. The main, most useful thing is the fact that it ends. Because it feels like living in a cave you have to get away from, right? It's not something you can get in everyday life. It's like something from a totally different time, or another planet." — Japanese liner notes

    John: "After the Sunset Tree, it did very well, we toured a great deal — more than we'd toured in a long time, and stayed out on the road — and I don't generally do any writing on the road and then it became clear to me that that's kind of where I live now. And so, but I was home for a little while, and my first passes at writing tend to be very intentional, where you go, 'Well, I'm going to write an album, and it's going to be about monsters, and it's gonna have a song on it called The Mummy's Hand, 'cause that was the best of the Mummy movies', and you sit down, you know, 'cause these first stabs where you really get the idea first are never good, right. Got a good song or two out of it but I didn't really know where I was going, and for me, the moment at which it got good was actually when I wrote that which was in a Holiday Inn in Pennsylvania across the street from the largest shopping mall in the world."

    Peter: "I think the Mall of American is actually bigger, this is the King of Prussia Mall."

    John: "It seems like the biggest mall in the world."

    Peter: "It's the worst mall in the world."

    John: "And we were in a Holiday Inn Express for three days with nothing to do in between shows, and I woke up and started monkeying around with the guitar and sort of found the mood, and I think it had to do with the fact that, you know — I mean, not to be super clichéd and lame about it — but you know, you get very lonesome out there away from your wife, and you see people every night, but they're always different people, and there's this disconnect that happens, and that song came out, and I said, 'Ooooh, there's something in there', you know, and sort of followed that thread, and found a couple from a year or so ago that had sort of been waiting around to find their friends, you know, and that's what happened." — BBC 6 session, August 3, 2006. See also Amoeba Music, San Francisco, August 22, 2006; Club Capitol, Perth, January 2, 2007; WNYC session, March 11, 2008 (particularly excellent); City Arts and Lectures, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, February 24, 2009. For much more exploration of the monster theme, see his interview with Sam Costello of Dark, but Shining on February 7, 2007 (archived at the Internet Archive here).

    "The new record, uh, people have been calling it a breakup album, which is kind of weird 'cause it's not, uh, but at the same time, uh, I mean, it's about solitude, and, uh, which is something I have the luxury of going through while I'm on tour. It's a great job, but you spend a lot of time by yourself in rooms and if you are a person who, uh, you know, is given to depressed states, you can really carve out some little holes for yourself, uh, in hotel rooms. And since I'm also a big hypochondriac and don't like to hang out with people, uh, that's sort of, it makes me able to sort of sink into these depths when I'm out there. Which, usually I just sit there and mope and watch Law & Order reruns, but a couple of tours ago, I thought, well, you know, I've seen all these episodes of Law & Order a bunch of times, and so I started writing in the hotel rooms, 'cause that had actually worked really well for The Sunset Tree. Four of its songs were written on tour, and so, uh, actually, the one I just played [Woke Up New], uh, was the first one I wrote, in a hotel room, when I was working on this record. I wrote it in, uh, Evanston, Illinois, at a Hilton Garden Inn." — KEXP session, August 21, 2006. See also Club Europa, Brooklyn, September 29, 2006; WNYC session, March 11, 2008. 

  2. The boxer depicted on the cover is Eddie Hanlon, a bantamweight and later featherweight boxer from San Francisco known as Cute Eddie. The image comes from a rare prizefighter boxing card included in Pet Mouthpiece cigarettes. It came with a short description, which was as follows:

    Factory No. 171 1st Dist. Cal.

    EDDIE HANLON, nicknamed "Cute" by the fight fans during his ring career, was born in San Francisco 25 years ago. He was king of the amateurs before essaying the professional game and soon forged tot he front in the senior division. His ability to cover up by assuming an almost impenetrable crouch made him a hard mark for his opponents and his fast two-handed sallies proved the undoing of many aspirants for championship honors. His twenty round draw with Young Corbett at the height of the latter's career was one of his best performances.

    Given that Hanlon was born in 1885, this description would date the card to 1910. 

  3. "You have to put bonus tracks on the Japanese album or they won't buy it... The Japanese issue is the only Mountain Goats album to date that had a lyrics sheet with it. The lyrics were also in Japanese. I was very excited about that, 'cause I can't really check whether they got them right or whether, you know, back in the '80s when I got a live Cure VHS, there were the lyrics to the Cure songs translated from English to Japanese and then back. Well, I know they got all those ones wrong, because the lyrics to The Love Cats, it said, 'Ah, we move like caged tigers / We couldn't get close to the miss'. The actual lyric is, 'We couldn't get closer than this'. So I wonder — in my heart I wonder, but I'll never ask anybody — what does the actual Japanese in my lyric booklet say? On my deathbed, people will wonder what I'm yammering about when I say, 'Keeping House lyric booklet, what are the lyric booklet Keeping House, Japanese import. Japanese import, Keeping House. Keeping House booklet lyric. Booklet Japanese import, Japanese import.' They will think I am insane, but really, it will only be that I've been thinking about the same thing for forty or fifty years." — Zoop, Farm Sanctuary, New York, June 16, 2007

    Well, now we can know!

    Get Lonely was released in Japan with different all-Japanese liner notes, as mentioned above. You can see them with translation in full here, thanks to the incredible work of Andrew Fazzari who did this all by himself. Thank you, you are incredible!  2

  4. "You know, I bet you there's several people in this room who are this fellow, and there's several more — probably most of us — who know somebody who is this fellow, who one day wakes up, and he has a voice in his head. And it's hard to live and do your thing when you have a voice or two or three running around on a loop in your head." — 40 Watt Club, Athens, Georgia, August 10, 2006. See also Port City Music Hall, Portland, Maine, June 8, 2013.

    "Wild Sage was really the first song I ever wrote about mental illness. I worked in healthcare... when you work every day in hospitals you can become numb to the struggles of the people you're working with, and then every once in a while somebody will come in and you'll see maybe that it's his fifth or sixth time through, and he's starting to look defeated, you know, and it can get to you. And what you do is you try to keep that feeling with you when you work so you never forget that you're there to help people who are having a hard time helping themselves. This song is the, I think, first time I tried to write about that, and it's called Wild Sage." — Merkin Concert Hall, New York, March 24, 2013. See also People's Place, Amsterdam, October 13, 2013.

    "But this is true, that the fellow who narrates this song, uh, is losing his grip on things as they are. He's going insane, as they would put it. And so that's why he feels like he does. He hasn't lost anybody or anything like that, uh, he suffers from a sort of solitude that most of us, uh, thank God, can only really imagine, uh, so, I wrote this for a lot of people that I used to work with, and whom I think of from time to time. It's called 'Wild Sage'." — Amoeba Music, San Francisco, August 22, 2006

    "People keep saying that the new album is a breakup album. I don't really know where they got that idea. But at the same time, you don't want to argue with people, in case they're fixing to say good stuff about your record, so: 'Oh yeah, you like it, and it's a breakup — oh yeah, breakup! Absolutely.' The fellow in this song is more, uh, breaking up with, uh, the basic units of what constitutes him as a person. Uh, he hasn't lost anybody except himself, and that's sort of what makes it a much more solitary place to be than just your standard lose-someone-you-love, 'cause there will be somebody else but you only have one brain." — Club Europa, Brooklyn, September 29, 2006. See also Gargoyle, St. Louis, October 23, 2006; Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, November 22, 2009.

    "And in an oblique sense, this song is kind of about that [who I am as a person]." — Bottletree, Birmingham, Alabama, June 22, 2013

    Originally, the song was guitar-based with a strong, more complex bassline, but it didn't work when they went into the studio and was set aside, potentially to not be recorded. Days later, tired, John attempted it on piano, playing it slower due to the fatigue of days of recording, and that's what stuck. Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, April 20, 2014. 

  5. Rian Johnson began making a video for Wild Sage, but did not complete it:

    Back in 2006 when we shot the Woke Up New music video for the Mountain Goats, I wanted to also make something for my favorite song on the album, "Wild Sage." So I shot John Darnielle singing the song in front of a black background, turned the footage black and white and high contrast, and printed out every frame of it on 8x10 paper. I then took these stacks of paper to Cape Cod and began to animate them as stills, shooting with my Canon 5D. It took much longer than I thought, and my vacation was over before the video was shot, so I took them back to NYC intending to finish the video there. I never did. So this is all there is.

    The printouts somehow ended up in my cousin Nathan's possession, and seven years later he found them stacked in a box and asked me what these thousands of bizarre photos of John Darnielle's face were for.

    And I said "oh yeah, that thing. I should upload it to Vimeo or something."

    The video features black-and-white photos of John animated against various outdoors surfaces.

    Johnson, Rian. Wild Sage by The Mountain Goats - unfinished music video. Vimeo, February 16, 2013. Retrieved May 12, 2018. 

  6. Sage, Salvia officinalis, is a common plant throughout the world. It is frequently used as an herb for cooking. 

  7. In North Carolina, highways Route 15 and Route 501 run together north-south for the majority of the state, and due to the signs being adjacent is colloquially known as 15-501 (which itself is not a highway name).

    John has confirmed that this is the highway being referred to:

    AV Club: Over time, your song titles have become less geographically focused. There aren't as many "Going To Georgia" or "Letter From Belgium"-type songs anymore. Is there a particular reason for that?

    JD: My songs are still pretty intensely place-focused; I just don't telegraph it as much. Practically any song you can name, I have a really strong sense of where it's taking place on the earth. Take [2006's] Get Lonely. If you look at "Dear Lonely," [sic] it begins and ends specifically in North Carolina. The freeway named in "Wild Sage" runs literally two blocks from here.

    Caine, Paul. The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle learns to trust others. AV Club, November 16, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2018. 

  8. Often sung with his name, "And when someone asks me, 'John, are you OK'", or "And when someone asks me, 'Hey, John, are you OK'". Gold Student Center, Claremont, December 2, 2006; Bowery Ballroom, New York, October 1, 2007; Gardner Lounge, Grinnell, November 2, 2007; Empty Bottle, Chicago, November 15, 2007; Lollapalooza, Playstation Stage, Chicago, August 5, 2008; Center Church on the Green, New Haven, June 7, 2013; Bottletree, Birmingham, Alabama, June 22, 2013; People's Place, Amsterdam, October 13, 2013; Apolo, Barcelona, October 19, 2013; Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, April 20, 2014; Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, June 18, 2014. 

  9. Less commonly responded as, "I'm not OK", or "But I'm not OK". Center Church on the Green, New Haven, June 7, 2013; Bottletree, Birmingham, Alabama, June 22, 2013; People's Place, Amsterdam, October 13, 2013; Apolo, Barcelona, October 19, 2013; Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, June 18, 2014. 

  10. DBS: You've said that Get Lonely started as an album of songs about monsters. How so? What was the idea there? What was the impetus?

    JD: I don't know what the impetus was other than that I have this real love of monsters. A few of the songs from that beginning survive — "If You See Light," which is a riff on the Frankenstein monster hiding in a house while the villagers bombard the doors, and "New Monster Avenue," which is sort of the tranquil suburban version of the same thing, only all the action's internalized. — interview with Sam Costello, Dark, but Shining, February 7, 2007 (archived at the Internet Archive here), retrieved May 12, 2018.

    "... I had this idea when I was digging through my childhood stuff, I remembered how much I really liked monsters. And so I started to write these songs about monsters. Mentioned that on NPR and then I got a lot of mail, 'So are you still working on the monster concept album?' No. But anyway, so, but, but I got a couple of them, a couple of songs about monsters done before I found some other direction, but there was something in them. There's always something — you know. I assume you're like me, that when you see the monster movie and all the, all the citizens of the town, you know, gather to burn the monster alive, you go, 'Were people in the '30s in favor of the town, in this setup?' Because I would look at it as a kid and go, 'Why, why are they going to kill the innocent monster from the depths?' Right? He doesn't — he was living in a cave under the ocean and then one of your people was swimming because you wanted to get some underwater footage, and, and now he has to die so that you can film people swimming under — well, that doesn't seem right. That was my position on the monsters. That remains my position on the monsters. This is called 'New Monster Avenue'." — Amoeba Music, San Francisco, CA, August 22, 2006

    "This song is sort of about the feeling you get if you stay in your house for too long and you feel like maybe you don't, uh, relate to anybody. At all. And you sort of resent them, but you're certain they're going to come and get you. I'm here to tell you, you're absolutely right." — Middle East Downstairs, Cambridge, Massachusetts, September 26, 2006 

  11. This was specifically written for the San Francisco dance company EmSpace well before Get Lonely existed conceptually (making it the first written song of those which made the album). The company had previously choreographed to several Mountain Goats songs in the piece Songs for You in 2004:

    There's this dance company called EmSpace Dance. A couple of years ago their director, Erin Mei-Ling Stuart, wrote to me and asked whether they could choreograph some of my songs. I love dance, a lot; it makes my hair stand up on end sometimes. Still, a year later, when Erin sent me a videotape entitled Songs For You, I was shocked by how strong my reaction to it was. I feel that in EmSpace's remarkable work, the inner lives of my songs become real and whole. Seeing them dance this piece in June was the single best hour I've spent this year.

    At the same time, I know not everybody can feel that modern dance groove. So be aware: if you're not familiar with the vocabulary of dance, there's going to be some serious negotiation between you & a dance performance like this, should you go. Having said that: EmSpace is premiering a new piece in October. It's called New Monster Avenue, which not coincidentally is the title of the song I wrote especially for them. The song won't be released any time soon, if ever; it's one of the best I've written in the past year.

    The company's short summary of the piece states, "New Monster Avenue treks deeper into the emotional landscape created in Songs For You by revealing the same characters at an earlier point in their lives. Featuring more music by The Mountain Goats, including a brand new song written for the piece, New Monster Avenue delves into the nuances of these intense characters and relationships."

    Mountain Goats news. Everybody Dance Now. September 28, 2005. Retrieved May 12, 2018. See also Duke Coffeehouse, Durham, November 5, 2005; KEXP session, August 21, 2006. For just the portion on it being the first song written, see also Club Capitol, Perth, January 2, 2007. 

  12. Butcher's-broom (Ruscus aculeatus) is a common European and Asian plant in shrubs and forests. It has historically been used traditionally to treat a variety of medical complaints, and some evidence supports its use treating venous stasis.

    Cappelli R, Nicora M, Di Perri T (1988). Use of extract of Ruscus aculeatus in venous disease in the lower limbs. Drugs under Experimental and Clinical Research, 14(4):277–283. 

  13. Sometimes sung, "Greenhouse full of Persian butcher's broom". Empty Bottle, Chicago, September 16, 2006. 

  14. "This is a song about how sometimes you may be running through your books... and you may find a bookmark in one of them that may be the ID of a person who is no longer in your daily spirit... And you may say to yourself, 'Wherever did she go'." — Club Europa, Brooklyn, September 29, 2006

    "This song wasn't supposed to be there, but it was, like, sort of waiting for its chance... [Peter: "It was the hidden track."] It was the hidden track, but you didn't have to wait an extra twenty minutes to hear it. This is a song about a morning that you are gonna have. You'll remember me when that morning comes. You'll say, 'Fuck that guy. He told me this shit was coming, and here it is. This really sucks. I hate it, and I hate knowing that he was right.' But I will take a sort of cynical satisfaction in your pain." — Bowery Ballroom, New York, September 30, 2006

    "This is a song whose explanation is really simple, which I like because sometimes I try to explain to people what the songs are about, and it's like, 'It's not really like anything in my experience, John, so I don't really know what you're talking about.' I say, 'Well, I didn't write it for you anyway!' But this one, I don't suppose there's anybody among us who hasn't at some point been going through their stuff, cleaning the room or looking for something, run across an old student ID of somebody you hadn't seen in a long, long time and you say to yourself, 'Well, I probably shouldn't keep that, what if my wife runs across it?' 'Why do you have that?' 'Well, I don't know, I wasn't saving it, I just didn't know I had it still.' 'Well, why didn't you throw it away?' Well, I didn't, I mean, there's no reason to really throw it away.' 'Well, why are you keeping it?' 'I'm not keeping it, I just didn't really know it was around.' That sort of thing. Except subtract the wife and add a lot of emptiness in the spaces around the house: in the fireplace, in the kitchen, in the bedroom, in all the corners of the bedroom — it's remarkable the amount of emptiness you can fit into one of those — and try emptying the house of the presence of a person who was once there and will not be there again, and this is called Half Dead." — Club Capitol, Perth, January 2, 2007

    "So, these aren't the same people [as in How to Embrace a Swamp Creature], but they could be. You know, you think about that sort of relationship where you did the visit back to the house a couple times, and as I had warned you — but you wouldn't listen to me. You thought I didn't know. You thought, 'Oh, well, your situation is unique. Dumbass. Well, you don't understand the particulars of my situation, I can go over to my ex's house, it's all cool.' No, it ain't. But you wouldn't listen. So then it got ugly, you know, as it does, and, well now, how do you feel? Sad. Then you're like, 'Oh, I wish I had — the last six months are just some, like, meaningless blur of activity that I enjoyed at the time and now I'm paying the price for it just like the Holy Mother Roman Catholic Church told me that I would pay that price, you know, and now here I am, and I'm not even Catholic yet I have to pay it anyway, what kind of bullshit situation is that?' Well, that's the situation you bought yourself, going against. But anyway. So, yeah. So you find yourself going through boxes, and now you're not thinking of taking stuff back, you're gonna throw it away. And it's going to cost you. And again, I told you. You wouldn't listen. Enjoy." — Bowery Ballroom, New York, October 1, 2007 

  15. "This is a song about a kind of, um, loneliness that incapacitates you and makes it impossible for you to function. It's called Get Lonely." — The Mayan, Los Angeles, June 3, 2015

    "I wrote this song in a hotel room in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, when Peter was in the shower." — Club Capitol, Perth, January 2, 2007 

  16. "This is a song about a guy who has no children, is that close? He has none because he is so alienated from his fellow creatures that it really wouldn't really do right for him to go and make children yet. That doesn't stop a lot of people, but, thank God, it stops our man. He should like to know somebody with whom he could have children. But he's fairly well convinced that everyone is out trying to kill him. Wish him luck, he'll need it." — The Earl, Atlanta, November 3, 2006

    "This is a song about how sometimes you wake up and you say, 'Oh, I'm ashamed', and then you don't really know what it is you're ashamed of. So how would you tell anybody about that? You're not ashamed of any particular thing, just carrying a general sort of shame. It has its own sweetness to it if you live with it long enough." — Gardner Lounge, Grinnell, November 2, 2007

    "We went out to King of Prussia, because it's so picturesque there. A romantic place. Many writers go to stay across the street from the shopping mall to court their muses there. We had three days in a Holiday Inn Express across the street from an extremely large shopping mall in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. I determined after the first trip to the shopping mall that it was probably better to stay inside. And that's what I did for the next two days, and when Peter would go into the shower, I'd write a song. Except that one song I got excited about and I went out into the hallway to write it because I couldn't wait for Peter to shower, because he had already showered that day, and I thought it would be strange to say, 'Peter, would you mind taking a shower?' This one, however, was written while Peter was in the shower. Hence its dark mood, because I missed him so much." — Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, September 20, 2006. See also Apolo, Barcelona, October 19, 2013 (excellent).

    "This is a song for when you, you know, you reach a point in the pursuit of solitude where the booze isn't gonna do the job anymore. [Voice: "What!?"] I know, that's sad news for some of you all, man. But trust me, there comes a point, it's sort of like a, oh, what the hell, book or movie, I don't know. Some book or movie in which — oh, 'The Iceman Cometh' by Eugene O'Neill... And in this book, in this play, if you haven't read it, uh, all these drunks are hanging around at the bar and some guy comes in and tells them all that they're never going to make anything of their lives and they should stop pretending that they are. And then the booze stops working. [Voice: "What!"] Yeah. [Other voice: "More booze!"] No, no. At that point you have to drink your own helplessness. It's considerably more costly than booze. This song is about drinking your own helplessness, it's called Maybe Sprout Wings." — The Slowdown, Omaha, November 3, 2007 

  17. Sometimes sung, "The ones who'd gone missing like you", or rarer, "The ones who'd gone missing like Rozz". The latter name refers to Rozz Williams, John's friend and fellow Inland Empire musician who committed suicide decades earlier, and who is immortalized in several songs on the Coroner's Gambit, in his book Master of Reality, and likely hidding in other songs like this one. Bowery Ballroom, New York, September 30, 2006; Bowery Ballroom, New York, October 1, 2006; Gardner Lounge, Grinnell, November 2, 2007. 

  18. Possibly a reference to the folklore legend of Bloody Mary, a spirit who is said to appear in a mirror when her name is called three times. 

  19. Canaries were used to warn miners of carbon monoxide in mine shafts; the bird would die more quickly than the humans, giving the workers time to evacuate. 

  20. "As with a number of geographic-locations-type songs, this one is sort of a ruse. It purports to take place in North Carolina, but secretly, it takes place in Colo, which is a small town in Iowa, population 773 when me and my wife lived there, 771 now." — Amoeba Music, San Francisco, August 22, 2006. See also Club Europa, Brooklyn, September 29, 2006.

    "This is a long, slow song about a long, slow marriage." — Park West, Chicago, October 13, 2008 

  21. The first draft of Moon Over Goldsboro's lyrics were distributed as part of the Pretty Panicks Press, an art project by Sara Wintz where musicians submitted their compositions in the form of postcards. John's artist statement was:

    with love from,
    John Darnielle:

    It took me all day to write "Moon Over Goldsboro." This is the first page of the first draft. I can see from it that the song began with a very different impulse, and with a different title, which I'll use someday. I don't usually remember a whole lot about writing; it's not exactly a trance state, but it does sort of happen in a haze for me. From this page I can see the exact moment when I became convinced that the effort was going to be worthwhile: It's in the great big Roman numeral bracketing what turned out to be the song's first verse.

    Once hosted at the now-defunct Deep Oakland website, I've mirrored it locally in case it is eventually lost from the Internet Archive. 

  22. Goldsboro, as mentioned above, is a small city in North Carolina. Colo is an even smaller town in Iowa, notably in Mountain Goats canon as being John and Lalitree's former home and location where The Coroner's Gambit was written. 

  23. "This is a new song and it's about how sometimes you may find yourself in the city that you moved to from someplace else, wondering if all these people are out to get you, and you've lived there several months now, you have your evidence gathered in notebooks. Notebooks suggest yes, these people have evil on their minds. But every time you confront one of them about it, they look at you like you were crazy." — Club Capitol, Perth, Australia, January 2, 2007 

  24. Some flowers, such as those belonging to the Oenothera genus, bloom only at night. 

  25. "This was, I think, the first one I wrote on the way to writing the new album, which was a couple of other albums first. I had a couple of ideas that — I don't like to say of ideas that didn't go anywhere that they didn't go anywhere, but that's kind of the case — but I had two competing ideas, neither of which went anywhere, and I was working on one of them, and it sort of got away from me. I was on the beach, and I saw this one song coming down the street, and I was like, 'There you are! Where have you been? I've been waiting months for you! Hungry!' It's called Song for Lonely Giants." — Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, September 20, 2006 (I presume this competing idea was the monster version of the album mentioned above in various places.)

    "I had this vision of a, of a giant who... but who had no power of any kind, right, you know? Who was sort of a large fellow, but there was nobody around to see him. As happens when you allow yourself to dwell on senseless images across your consciousness, I got depressed about it. So I thought I would write a song about it so I could share that bad feeling with you." — Bowery Ballroom, New York, September 30, 2006

    "This is a song about feeling like you don't fit in anywhere. It's called Song for Lonely Giants." — Tipitina's, New Orleans, January 21, 2012

    "This is a song about being too big to take care of, and it's called Song for Lonely Giants." — Visulite Theatre, Charlotte, January 31, 2012

    Once asked explicitly about the song, John responded with John Mezey's poem Being a Giant:

    Hard, hard
    to be a giant,
    especially here
    where there are few
    and one goes crazy.
    Should he catch a glimpse
    of the little people
    running in the fields below,
    their hats falling off,
    it is all he can do
    to keep from crying.
    On white hot days
    he wanders the hills
    of yellow grass,
    eating saplings
    and stray calves,
    ignoring the pains
    in his belly. He carries
    a small pocket mirror
    in which he sometimes
    looks at pieces
    of his enormous face
    and sometimes holds it out,
    flashing the commandments of the sun
    to the empty hills.

    William Caxton Fan Club, what is song for lonely giants about? Retrieved May 13, 2018.

    Mezey, Robert. Being a Giant. New Yorker, March 1, 1976. Retrieved May 13, 2018. 

  26. Song for Lonely Giants is part of the Song for ... series

  27. Plausibly an homage to the final stanza of Sylvia Plath's poem Morning Song, published after her 1963 suicide in the collection Ariel, only the second of her poetry to be released. In full, the poem goes:

    Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
    The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
    Took its place among the elements.

    Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
    In a drafty museum, your nakedness
    Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

    I'm no more your mother
    Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
    Effacement at the wind's hand.

    All night your moth-breath
    Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
    A far sea moves in my ear.

    One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
    In my Victorian nightgown.
    Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

    Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
    Your handful of notes;
    The clear vowels rise like balloons.

    Plath, Sylvia (2004). Ariel: The Restored Edition. New York: Harper Perennial. ISBN 978-0-06-073260-8 

  28. "A lot of the songs that I write are about situations that you're not actually likely to literally find yourself in, you know. One hopes you can find a figurative use for them, you know. But the whole skeleton costume story [from Oceanographer's Choice], for example, if that happens to you, then you have better things to do with your money than buy records and listen to music, right: therapy, jail, you know. But this song is about something that — I don't know even what I mean by this. Something that I hope everyone has had the pleasure of experiencing: that moment of profound desperation when you think, 'The precious relationship I had that made me feel whole is gone, and I won't ever get it back.' And this is a song for that moment." — Attucks Theatre, Norfolk, Virginia, March 20, 2009

    "As it turns out this song is like a therapeutic touchstone for me, because I have been married for a long time now. So my memories of the feeling that this song is about grow more distant by the day. But that doesn't — I think there's an error that people make that when a feeling becomes distant to them, it loses its reality, but the whole thing about, you know, when you wake up the morning after a breakup, that is like one of the rawest, greatest gifts that you're ever gonna receive. Just the most horrible feeling, it's so dark and awful, right, who, I mean, it's like, it's the one thing that everybody can go, 'Well no, I may not be a suicidal person but I know what it's like to wanna die,' right, because you wake and you have that blissed-out moment between waking up, and remembering what went down yesterday. And it is the greatest, most horrifying moment, and may I never grow so old that I don't remember that brief, druggy, it's like, 'Oh hey, it's June in California, cool... I am alone in the universe, and no one will ever understand my pain, and it's just going to go on forever and ever and I will never recover, and I will remember this day as the beginning of the endless end', and so. This is an emo song, it's called Woke Up New." — McCabe's Guitar Shop, Santa Monica, June 30, 2012. See also Folk Music Center, Claremont, July 3, 2012; Hopscotch, Durham, September 8, 2012; People's Place, Amsterdam, October 13, 2013; Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, June 18, 2014.

    "I wrote this regarding one of the worst moments I've ever had." — Cat's Cradle, Carrboro, April 8, 2011

    This was another song written outside of the King of Prussia mall in Pennsylvania (see several examples in the footnotes above). William Caxton Fan Club, leafmoldandearth: johndarnielle: ..., retrieved May 13, 2018. 

  29. Woke Up New has a music video directed by Rian Johnson and shot in his apartment. The video features the band playing the song, variously depicted live and on television screens nested in various depths. The video won one of Vimeo's early Staff Picks in 2008 (the award only began in 2007).

    Rian Johnson commented:

    A music video I directed for one of my favorite bands, The Mountain Goats. We shot this in an apartment I had in New York in the middle of a heat wave, summer of 2006. My AC broke on the first day of shooting.

    This is how we did it: I diagrammed out 8 layers of video on a timeline. We shot the first layer (of John's face on the tv screen sitting on the floor) then took that tape and played it back on my TV, and shot the second layer. Then we took that tape and played it back, and shot the third. Basically we built it layer by layer, live, and by the end of the two day shoot we had our finished video.

    Sharp eyes will notice a few wonky match-dissolves. We discovered that once we were 8 layers deep (that is, shooting off a tv screen off a tv screen off a tv screen 8 times) the deepest layer was too muddy to see what was going on. So we used only 7 layers at the start, and transitioned to layer 8 when we needed it.

    Johnson, Rian. Mountain Goats - Woke Up New (Directed by Rian Johnson). Vimeo, August 18, 2008. Retrieved May 13, 2018. 

  30. "Three of the songs on Get Lonely were written in a Holiday Inn Express when we had two days off in between tour dates, Peter and I. And we often share a room on tour with two beds in a Holiday Inn Express. And we were outside of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. There's not a lot — there may be much in Wilkes-Barre, but once you get outside Wilkes-Barre... there's a big old mall. And it's huge. I mean, I've been to the Mall of America, it's not that big. But it's big, right. And I went — I grew up in Southern California; I go to a mall, I kind of feel like I'm in the cradle. Peter grew up there too, but he always kind of hated that about it. So he went to the mall and he came back looking like he'd seen a ghost, he was so unhappy to have been to the mall. And it was the only thing nearby. There was nothing to do with our two days but go to the mall, or not. And he went, and he came back, and he was just so dour and unhappy about the mall, you know, but I had been on my own time and I was like, I mean, you know, they have a pretzel store there! And we were discussing our different takes on it, and he was like, 'Nah, it's like, you know, you know, it's like somebody saw the beautiful Pennsylvania countryside and said, I know, let's build a shopping mall you can see from space!' Well, later that day I'm sitting out in the hallway while he's getting some sleep and I'm messing around with my guitar and ended up using a bit of that line in this song about a person who wakes up and realizes that he doesn't get to be with the person he loves." — City Arts and Lectures, Herbst Theatre, San Francisco, February 24, 2009. See also William Caxton Fan Club, fishingboatproceeds: 42 Days of the Mountain ..., retrieved May 13, 2018. 

  31. DBS: You've said that Get Lonely started as an album of songs about monsters. How so? What was the idea there? What was the impetus?

    JD: I don't know what the impetus was other than that I have this real love of monsters. A few of the songs from that beginning survive — "If You See Light," which is a riff on the Frankenstein monster hiding in a house while the villagers bombard the doors, and "New Monster Avenue," which is sort of the tranquil suburban version of the same thing, only all the action's internalized. — interview with Sam Costello, Dark, but Shining, February 7, 2007 (archived at the Internet Archive here), retrieved May 12, 2018. 

  32. A demo for If You See Light was released in the Seven for Australia online release. In the release notes for that collection, John simply stated, "demo for a song that wound up being very heavy on the percussion and whatnot".

    Mountain Goats forums. What's Up You Australians. April 15, 2008. Retrieved May 13, 2018 via the Internet Archive

  33. The song's title comes from German musician Barbara Morgenstern's song Aus Heiterem Himmel (Out of the Blue) by Barbara Morgenstern, released as the title track of her 2004 album Nichts Muss (Nothing Has to Be). Although the first half of the verses are in German, the final half is in English:

    If you see light again
    Then ride
    Through it

    Catch it and shine within
    And ride
    For a fall
    With it

    Give in and try again
    And wait
    For it

    Everything falls again
    To it

    John has confirmed this homage.

    William Caxton Fan Club, Two questions for you: 1) Will we ever hear the ..., retrieved May 13, 2018. 

  34. If You See Light is part of the informal series of demos and alternate versions

  35. Cobra Tattoo is part of the informal series of Biblical references. Each quote is a rebuke either directly from God or a prophet. 

  36. From Genesis 3:15, where God condemns the serpent for tempting Eve:

    Then the Lord God said to the serpent:
    Because you have done this,
    you are cursed more than any livestock
    and more than any wild animal.
    You will move on your belly
    and eat dust all the days of your life.

    I will put hostility between you and the woman,
    and between your seed and her seed.
    He will strike your head,
    and you will strike his heel.

    Genesis 3:14–15, Holman Christian Standard Bible, retrieved July 1, 2017. 

  37. A sailor's-purse or mermaid's-purse, is the egg case of a skate, a type of ray fish. 

  38. Black needlerush is a grayish-green grass-like plant that grows in wetlands. 

  39. From Isaiah 14:13, where God rebukes Nebuchadnezzar II, the king of Babylon (referred to as the "morning star"):

    Shining morning star,
    how you have fallen from the heavens!
    You destroyer of nations,
    you have been cut down to the ground.

    You said to yourself:
    "I will ascend to the heavens;
    I will set up my throne
    above the stars of God.
    I will sit on the mount of the gods' assembly,
    in the remotest parts of the North.

    I will ascend above the highest clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High."

    Isaiah 14:12–14, Holman Christian Standard Bible, retrieved July 12, 2017. 

  40. A reference to John the Baptist's castigation of the Pharisees and Sadducees, warning them that their acceptance of Abraham is not sufficient for salvation. The story is told in two of the Synoptic gospels, Matthew 3:9:

    7 When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to the place of his baptism, he said to them, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

    8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance.

    9 And don't presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father.' For I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!

    10 Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.

    and Luke 3:8:

    7 He then said to the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, "Brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath?

    8 Therefore produce fruit consistent with repentance. And don't start saying to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father,' for I tell you that God is able to raise up children for Abraham from these stones!

    9 Even now the ax is ready to strike the root of the trees! Therefore, every tree that doesn't produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire."

    Matthew 3:9–10 and Luke 3:7–9, Holman Christian Standard Bible, retrieved May 13, 2018. 

  41. "This is a rather depressing song about a fellow who kills himself, and I hope that you enjoy it." Bowery Ballroom, October 1, 2006. See also his AV Club interview with Paul Caine, where John clarifies that he kills himself at the beach. The Mountain Goats' John Darnielle learns to trust others. AV Club, November 16, 2009. Retrieved May 12, 2018. 

  42. Corolla could refer to many things, but given the context, I think it's likely this refers to Corolla, North Carolina, a small beachside town on the Atlantic seaboard of the United States with a popular and highly touristed beach. 

  43. Naming Day is part of the informal series of outtakes and extras

  44. I'm not exactly sure what's being referred to here, but given the context, I suspect some combination of two things: the day in which Rumpelstiltskin's name is discovered in the famous folktale (see below), and one of several possible Mormon ceremonies. The first of these is the straightforward naming of children in the Mormon faith similar to most Christian practices, where a newly-born child is named and blessed by clergy of the church. The second is the endowment ordinance, where Mormons selected and recommended by their temple receive a new name and are initiated into some of the secrets and rituals of the church in preparation for the afterlife.

    How these fit together are currently unclear to me — if you have an idea, please reach out

  45. Jehovah's Witnesses are a Christian denomination notable for a variety of doctrinal and practice differences, but famous (and noted here) for their door-to-door preaching. Their common beliefs include rejecting medical blood products, most major Christian holidays (including Christmas and Easter), the existence of hell, and the immortality of all souls. 

  46. An allusion to the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin, where a lying miller claims to the king that his daughter can spin straw into gold. Hearing this, the king locks the girl in a tower under threat that he will murder her if she cannot do as her father claimed. Desperate and terrified, she is relieved when an imp calling itself Rumpelstiltskin comes and offers to perform the task in exchange for an item of her jewelry. This goes on for several days with increasing volumes of straw, until on the third day Rumpelstiltskin demands her firstborn child. She is compelled to promise this, and when she gives birth (now being queen), he will only allow her out of the bargain if she can guess his name. She is again fearful, but before running out of time, comes across his home and hears him boasting to himself and stating his name. This allows her to guess correctly, upon which he storms out in a rage.

    The story and its many variations are categorized under the standard Aarne–Thompson–Uther system as type ATU 500, The Name of the Supernatural Helper.

    I suspect that the song's title, Naming Day, refers to the final day in which Rumpelstiltskin's name is stated, resulting in his exit (or demise, depending on which version you read).

    Grimm, Jacob and Grimm, Wilhelm (1922). Grimm's Fairy Stories. Archived by Project Gutenberg, retrieved May 14, 2018.

    Haase, Donald (2008). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Folktales and Fairy Tales. Westport: Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-33441-2

    Ashliman, D. L. (2017). Name of the Helper. University of Pittsburgh. Retrieved May 13, 2018. 

  47. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose practitioners are colloquially known as Mormons, is an American form of Christianity dating to only the 19th century. Similar to the Jehovah's Witnesses mentioned earlier, they are known for active preaching outreach, typically through missionaries. There's lots to potentially say about the church, but relative to this song, I'm unclear what the connection is, except for some possible naming ceremonies mentioned above. If you have any more clarity, please contact me

  48. Regarding this song's recording, John states:

    the story with this song: vanderslice and I had just gotten to know each other and he's sayin "so you really still record with just a 4-track" and I'm like "fuck a 4-track, that shit is for rich people, I use a boombox" and he says "what happened to your 4-track?" and I say "you ain't hearin me pops, I never had a 4-track" so he says "no shit, holy balls. you want one?" cause he's got one in his basement studio that he never uses now that he owns a recording studio. I say "sure but I'll probably never use it, my boombox suits me just fine" and then I forget about the whole thing but a month later I get a note to come to the post office for some package and boom it is a 4-track.

    it just so happens that I have an ESP electric guitar at this time that I'm wanting to hear how it sounds on tape so I sit down and write a song but the little picking pattern I'm doing is hard to keep rhythm in so I grab this antique drum pad that the local music shop had on clearance for like 20 bucks. it's an old old OLD Roland pad I think, I just now tried to look for it to tell you the make and model but no luck, the room where I keep my gear is a big mess. Anyway I assign a sound to the metronome and then played rhythm guitar along with that, then added the "ding" sound and all that stuff with drumsticks as an overdub. overdubbed vocals and a lead guitar and then I was done.

    oh yeah I think the signal chain was:

    drum pad went through a Peavy amp and was mic'd with an old AKG electric guitar direct to tape, no amplification vocal through AKG direct to tape, no amplification

    Mountain Goats forums. They Are Stone Swallowers, (1), (2). April 21, 2008. Retrieved November 25, 2015. 

  49. They Are Stone Swallowers is part of the informal series of outtakes and extras

  50. Stockholm is the capital city of Sweden and most populous city in Scandinavia, located in southern Sweden on an archipelago on the eastern bay of Lake Mälaren on the Baltic Sea. 

  51. Salzburg is a major Austrian city and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site. 

  52. Keeping House is part of the informal series of outtakes and extras