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Monday, October 20, 2008

Tonight in Music: The Mountain Goats, Kings of Leon

posted by on October 20 at 9:00 AM

The Mountain Goats - “This Year”
The Mountain Goats, Kaki King
(Showbox at the Market) The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle belongs to a rarefied class of singer-songwriters whom I’ll call, for lack of a better term, Acts My Girlfriend Can’t Stand. This lot includes Darnielle, Why?’s Yoni Wolf, the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn, and the Weakerthans’ John K. Samson. What it boils down to is this: amazing lyrics, annoying voice (or at least less than Mariah Carey–level vocal prowess); Bob Dylan is the patron saint of this sect. Some people prefer voice to lyrics at seemingly any cost, but that’s their loss. Especially in the case of Darnielle, whose razor sharp if slightly pinched portraits of human dysfunction and tenacious hope are just heartbreakingly good. Tourmate Kaki King comes from the It’s-Not-Fair school, for those possessed of guitar chops, voice, and songwriting skill. ERIC GRANDY
Kings of Leon - “Sex on Fire” (live)
Kings of Leon, We Are Scientists, the Stills
(Paramount) Kings of Leon’s latest, Only by the Night, features the unstoppable song “Sex on Fire,” on which Caleb Followill’s vocals absolutely soar. “Yooouuuuu, your sex is on fiiiyaaah.” Ears are held in the honey and strength of his vocal grip. The song goes off. The rest of the album, however, lacks that fire. It falls into a midtempo rut. KOL have said they’re upset by lack of sales in the U.S. compared to those in Europe. Maybe if their albums were more full of the fire, sales would increase. We Americans like fire. KOL still need to be seen, though. They’re carrying the Southern-rock torch. TRENT MOORMAN

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