The Mountain Goats' All Hail West Texas is remastered, reissued and in stores now on CD, LP and digital. Pitchfork named the album "Best New Reissue" writing, "an imperfectly sung ode to all the songs that don’t get sung because of the people who put into the singers’ heads that the only songs worth singing are the perfect ones," while The A.V. Club wrote, "a collection that ushered in a new creative era for a man whose songs were already great."
The Believer focused on album-opener "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton" writing, "Here, as elsewhere, Darnielle’s angry, earnest, defiantly uncool project is to reclaim for awkward adolescence—which has no escape route, no better option than to stand its ground and reject what would assimilate it—the moral authority that is its rightful due."
Salon.com posted an insightful interview with John Darnielle about the process of songwriting and recording and how it has changed (or not) since 2002. Listen to John's chat with NPR Weekend Edition about the merits of boombox recording and read Peter's account of the experience of listening to the Mountain Goats albums as a member of the band. NPR Music streamed the Mountain Goats band at the Newport Folk Festival and captured a new song on video, too! And in less formal discussions, watch this fun chat between Mac McCaughan and John about some other albums with Texas connections at Bull City Records in Durham, NC.
The last of the “all-home-recordings albums” by the Mountain Goats and the only one about which that claim is true, All Hail West Texas was originally released as a free-standing compact disc on the late, lamented Emperor Jones. That was about a decade ago. The songs were originally transferred from the cassettes onto which they were recorded to 1/4” reels at Tiny Telephone by Alex Newport.
Remastered from those reels, along with 7 unearthed songs from the two surviving contemporaneous cassettes, All Hail West Texas stands as the peak of the Mountain Goats’ home recording era, a time people like to refer to as “when John Darnielle had his four-track,” except John did not actually use a four-track. He used the condenser mic of a Panasonic boombox and there was no overdubbing. All songs recorded on the day they were written, usually within minutes of the actual composition. Highlights include “Jenny,” “Fall of the Star High School Running Back,” and “The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton,” a song that has compelled audiences around the globe to yell “Hail Satan,” and to mean it.
Package art features a newly penned 1,800-word essay by John detailing his songwriting and recording process for the album. The LP is packaged in a deluxe gatefold jacket and includes a digital download of the full record plus the seven additional tracks. Also, this will be the first time All Hail West Texas has been available on LP. The CD, which includes the full album and extra tracks on one disc, comes in a premium digipak with a 12-page booklet.
Find All Hail West Texas on CD, LP and digital now in the Merge store. Follow the Mountain Goats on Twitter and keep up with John Darnielle on Tumblr.