The Mountain Goats have announced their seventeenth (!) studio album. It’s titled In League with Dragons and is set to arrive April 26th through Merge Records.
While the band’s preceding record, 2017’s Goths, was inspired by The Cure and Joy Division, this new album sees the group exploring the worlds of fantasy and sci-fi. According to frontman John Darnielle, the LP “began life as a rock opera about a besieged seaside community called Riversend ruled by a benevolent wizard.”
The realms beyond reality are nothing new to Darnielle, a longtime fan of Dungeons & Dragons and author of Wolf in White Van, a 2014 National Book Award-nominated novel about the escapist power of fantastical role-playing games.
In League with Dragons spans a total of 12 songs, many of which sound lifted right out of an adventurous video game. There’s “Done Bleeding” and “Clemency for the Wizard King”, as well as “Going Invisible 2” and “Cadaver Sniffing Dog”.
As an early preview, the indie outfit has shared lead single “Younger”, which can be streamed below.
To coincide with the LP news, Darnielle will be live streaming a special concert taking place today at the Seattle headquarters of Wizards of the Coast, the famed game developer behind Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. The event will be broadcast on both The Mountain Goats’ Facebook Live and Twitch beginning 4:00 p.m. ET.
In League with Dragons Artwork:
In League with Dragons Tracklist:
01. Done Bleeding
03. Passaic 1975
04. Clemency for the Wizard King
05. Possum by Night
06. In League with Dragons
07. Doc Gooden
08. Going Invisible 2
09. Waylon Jennings Live!
10. Cadaver Sniffing Dog
11. An Antidote for Strychnine
12. Sicilian Crest
In support of the forthcoming record, the Mountain Goats are scheduled to embark on a North American tour at the end of April.
Read Darnielle’s full statement on the album:
“This album began life as a rock opera about a besieged seaside community called Riversend ruled by a benevolent wizard, for which some five to seven songs were written. When I’m focusing on a project, I always distract myself from the through-line with multiple byways, which are kind of like mini-games within the broader architecture of a long video game. As I worked on the Riversend stuff, weird noir visions started creeping in, probably under the influence of Leonardo Sciascia (a Sicilian author, he wrote mysteries) and Ross MacDonald’s The Zebra-Striped Hearse, which a friend from Port Washington gave me while I was in the thick of the writing. I thought these moods helped complicate the wizards and dragons a little, and, as I thought about my wizard, his health failing, the invasion by sea almost certain to wipe out half his people, I thought about what such a person might look like in the real world: watching a country show at a midwestern casino, or tryout pitching for an American League team years after having lit up the marquees. Finally, I wrote the title track, which felt like a drawing-together of the themes in play: rebellion against irresistible tides, the lush vistas of decay, necessary alliances. I am earnestly hoping that a new genre called “dragon noir” will spring from the forehead of nearly two years’ work on these songs, but, if not, I am content for this to be the sole example of the style.”