“Some things you do, just to say how bad they’ll make you feel,” sings John Darnielle on the Mountain Goats’ new song “Cry for Judas,” the first single from their forthcoming release Transcendental Youth. The way he casts this sort of sour insight against a feel-good horn section is what always sets Darnielle’s particular brand of indie folk apart from his peers. Well, that and the fact that he can fit a word like “precipice” into the same song. Overall, it makes for an engaging, almost dance-worthy tune about mistreating altar boys and paying tribute to the grove where Judas died.
“Like a lot of the new album, this song is about saddling up your demons and learning to ride them like devil horses with big leathery wings,” Darnielle says of the song in a statement. “To the best of my knowledge, it’s also the first song ever to feature both a swinging horn section and a line about a baphomet drawn in chalk on an altar cloth, so everybody else who was trying to square that circle can take a breather now.”
If this is a sign of what’s on the rest of the album, we expect the LP could be both the feel-good and feel-bad record of the fall.
Transcendental Youth is due out October 2 on Merge Records.