Beat the Champ by The Mountain Goats
I’m a big fan of John Darnielle, otherwise known as The Mountain Goats, and have been for a long long time. His 2012 album Transcendental Youth was #19 that year, and his latest album, Beat the Champ, makes the Top 31 here at #24.
There is nothing surprising or new about Beat the Champ; It’s just more Darnielle goodness. The above song, “The Legend of Chavo Guerrero,” captures exactly what you can expect from the album’s more upbeat songs. And just like any Mountain Goats album, there’s a handful of quieter, melancholy songs. On “Unmasked” he even evokes a little Elliott Smith.
Death, depression, and reality are Darnielle’s strengths. And it’s what I like about him. My favorite of his, “No Children,” from his 2002 album Tallahassee, is a favorite of John in the Morning over at KEXP, and I’ve been listening to The Mountain Goats ever since. Darnielle is nothing if not consistent. If you’ve liked anything of his in the past, you’ll like Beat the Champ. ’Nuff said.
25. Gliss Riffer by Dan Deacon
26. Dark Bird is Home by The Tallest Man on Earth
27. Gunnera by Pfarmers
28. Swimmer to a Liquid Armchair by Ricked Wickey
29. To Pimp a Butterfly by Kendrick Lamar
30. Live in Seattle by Moufang / Czamanski
31. High by Royal Headache