Style: Narrative indie rock; compare to The Hold Steady, The Decemberists, John Vanderslice
Top tracks: "Cry for Judas," "White Cedar," "Transcendental Youth"
The Mountain Goats' lead singer John Darnielle introduces a new array of characters on Transcendental Youth, building narratives around a group of social and religious outcasts fighting drug addiction and mental illness. In dingy apartments, hospitals, and rehab facilities, and the lesser-tread streets of Washington state, redemption survives despite the darkness. Even at their lowest, characters embrace "stray hopes, may their numbers someday be increased." Musically, the band continues to beef up its sound from its raw, lo-fi past, this time implementing a full horn section, which adds a little orchestral flavor to their folk rock style.1