THE MOUNTAIN GOATS are primed and ready on the starting grid for the release of their new album, Getting Into Knives, on October 23rd; and for the first time in five years they’ve stepped out in front of a rolling camera and put together a video for the recently released single, “Get Famous”.
We dived into “Get Famous” when it was first released, all the way back oooh … two and a bit weeks ago, sans visuals, and were moved to comment: “You’ll find organ and brass-led warmth, a real kind of Memphis soul-inflected boogie, in which frontman John Darnielle exhorts the subject of his song – ‘You should be famous / I want you to be famous’”.
“But is John’s blessing all it seems? Listen deeper: ‘You took notes on what you had to do / To get the piece of the pie that belonged to you / You’ve been waiting for this ever since you were young / Be careful not to choke on your tongue.'”
“Aaah: no, it’s a go-ahead to those who seek all the seductions and poisons and glitter and glam of ‘fame’ as we know it today. He sings the title as if it were a curse.”
In the video, which you can watch below, you can see John and the boys refashioned as bobbling headed puppet versions of themselves, courtesy director David Hollander, who’s responsible for the lauded US crime drama Ray Donovan.
David said: “I met John for tea in Chinatown before his show at East River Park last summer; he was bouncing out of his shoes with all sorts of ideas.
“Before I went to meet my son Nate for the show, he played me the demo for ‘Get Famous’. I love when things are contrapuntal, and this upbeat, jaunty song with its middle finger up stuck with me. So when John called over the summer and asked if I’d do the video, it was an easy yes.
“We finally settled on a simple narrative, wrote the script, and then learned that John and the guys were wisely not coming out to LA during the Southern California [coronavirus] surge.
“We already had a bobblehead that was up to no good in the original script and we came to the conclusion that the bobbleheads would take over completely. ”
John Darnielle adds: “I wasn’t sure if bobbleheads could really capture that level of giddy anxiety, but David’s visions play for keeps – the first time I saw the camera resolve on my bobblehead in a way that made it look like it had changed its expression, I almost fell out of my chair.
“[I’m] proud to have a video this leftfield for our dark little song.”
The Mountain Goats’ Get Into Knives will be released on cassette, CD, and double vinyl on October 23rd by Merge; there’s also a limited gold pressing over at the Merge store and salmon-coloured deluxe vinyl at the Mountain Goats store. In addition, the Merge store carries a new enamel badge, which is available à la carte or as part of a bundle that comes with a free embroidered patch – while supplies last.