One song about preparing to exact bloody revenge begets another song about the act of exacting bloody revenge and then more songs about the causes and the aftermath of being driven to exact bloody revenge, each delivered with the urgency and desperation deserving of their narrators and circumstances. John Darnielle & the Mountain Goats present Bleed Out, a brand new collection arriving on August 19th.
Running narrative themes are not new to Mountain Goats projects, especially in recent years, be it the workers of 2015’s Beat the Champ or the goths of 2017’s Goths. Darnielle was drawn to the antiheroes of the hard-boiled action flicks he was bingeing, particularly the ways in which their quests for justice were almost all inevitably doomed. Bleed Out is all pent-up energy and explosion, executed by a bunch of friends who were mainly happy to be in a room together, once again, making loud noises.
In January 2021, just weeks after Darnielle had started writing, his bandmates Peter Hughes, Matt Douglas, and Jon Wurster joined him at a studio in the woods near his home in Chapel Hill. Everything was finished inside a week. “We often make a record and then bring in some guests who flesh out the textures,” Darnielle says. “And for this one, it was very much like a pack mentality. That sort of seemed to proceed from the songs.” One new face along for the ride was that of Bully’s Alicia Bognanno, recommended to Darnielle by his manager as a producer who could help nurture the rougher-edged sound these songs requested. “We met up and hit it off. She’s a great guitarist. It was kind of just a lark, to see what would happen, and it was totally great.”