JOHN GREEN’S FAVORITE BAND
I was introduced to The Mountain Goats (that is, John Darnielle, poet, 2014 National Book Award Finalist, musician) by my roommate, Xavier, at a summer writing program. Xavier was a self-serious folk singer who wore sunglasses to the movies and patterned the walls of our dorm with Neutral Milk Hotel posters. Back then, most references to the Goats were preceded or followed by that most aggressively patronizing of declaratives: “You probably haven’t ever heard of them …” Thus was I introduced. Darnielle was a cult figure, who, like Thomas Pynchon, stayed that way due to the fanaticism of his fan base. He was extolled with such pomposity, bravado and bluster that his real value as an artist and a musician was obscured by the connotations he developed as an idol of angelheaded hipsters everywhere.
April 8, 2016