Published Aug 06, 2010John Darnielle is a package deal. In addition to being the mastermind behind the Mountain Goats, the indie folk troubadour also forms one half of the Extra Lens, along with Nothing Painted Blue songwriter Franklin Bruno. Now, both acts have signed to indie heavyweight Merge.
Over the past two decades, Darnielle has released albums with numerous labels, but he has been signed to 4AD since 2002, issuing six albums plus a handful of singles and EPs.
Now that he's signed to Merge, his first order of business will be releasing an album with the Extra Lens. It's called Undercard and it's due out on October 19. It will be the first record released with this band name; Darnielle and Bruno previously put out the album Martial Arts Weekend in 2002 under the name the Extra Glenns.
The new album was recorded in Brooklyn and North Carolina with Brian Paulson (Beck, Wilco) and Mitch Rackin handing production. Darnielle sings and plays guitar while Bruno is in charge of arrangements.
According to Merge's announcement, the project was intended as "a potential home for any song John wrote that had a) more than three chords or b) a bridge." As for Bruno's arrangements, they are "here sparing, here ornate; sometimes gentle, sometimes not; once with vibraslap, mostly without."
Merge says that the album contains "a pretty ominous-sounding cover version." This presumably refers to Randy Newman's "In Germany Before the War."
Download the single "Only Existing Footage" here.
3. "Only Existing Footage"
4. "Communicating Doors"
5. "Programmed Cell Death"
6. "How I Left the Ministry"
7. "Some Other Way"
8. "Ambivalent Landscape Z"
9. "In Germany Before the War"
10. "Tug on the Line"
11. "Rockin' Rockin' Twilight of the Gods"
12. "Dogs of Clinic 17"