Even for the famously prolific indie band The Mountain Goats, it sounds like March of last year was one hell of a productive month. The group’s strong October album, Getting Into Knives, was recorded in one week during the beginning of the month; Songs For Pierre Chauvin, frontman John Darnielle’s boombox-recorded cassette release from last year, was done in 10 days in the back half of the month, after the group had disbanded to their respective homes to isolate following the nationwide lockdown. Now, it turns out that during the last week before everything shut down, the band had moved from the Knives studio to another one, and spent the week recording yet another album. Fellas, save some for the rest of us.
Dark In Here, the upcoming record, was tracked across seven days at FAME Studios, the legendary Muscle Shoals landmark that has captured the sounds of everyone from Aretha Franklin to the Allman Brothers to the Rolling Stones. Lead single “Mobile” features Shoals session players Spooner Oldham (Bob Dylan, Neil Young, more) on electric piano and Will McFarlane (Bonnie Raitt, Tammy Wynette) on lead guitar. The influence is immediately apparent, from the gentle twang of the strings to the ambling rhythm. “Lord, if you won’t keep me safe and warm / then send down the storm, send down the storm,” sings Darnielle, in a simple, plaintive tone that’s understated even for him.