The Mountain Goats Share New Song “Fresh Tattoo” and Announce Tour Dates | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Wednesday, February 21st, 2024  

The Mountain Goats Share New Song “Fresh Tattoo” and Announce Tour Dates

Jenny from Thebes Due Out October 27 via Merge

Aug 23, 2023 Photography by Spence Kelly
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The Mountain Goats are releasing a new album, Jenny from Thebes, on October 27 via Merge. Now they have shared its second single, “Fresh Tattoo,” and announced some new December tour dates. “Fresh Tattoo” features Alicia Bognanno from Bully on guitar, horns by Matt Douglas and Evan Ringel, and backing vocals from Matt Nathanson. Check out the song and all their upcoming tour dates below.

Frontman John Darnielle had this to say about the song in a press release: “I wrote ‘Fresh Tattoo’ over the course of several sessions at the piano in March of 2022. I felt an affinity for the story in it and for how it developed, and I was proud of the song. In December that year, I sent it to my old friend Matt Nathanson, who hosted the open mic night where The Mountain Goats got their start back in the early ’90s. Come sing on my song, man, I said, I wouldn’t even be here without you. I’ll be there, he said.

“Sometimes when I go into the studio, I fret that we won’t be able to translate my alone-with-an-instrument vision to the big room. But what my band, and Trina Shoemaker, and Alicia Bognanno, and good old Matt Nathanson did with it exceeded even my highest expectations. When Jon breaks into straight 4/4 at the song’s climax it feels like a high-performance car emerging from a turn into a straightaway at 120mph at dawn somewhere on the plains.

“‘Fresh Tattoo’ is the flashpoint in the story of who Jenny is and how she came to leave Texas. In it, she gets a tattoo of a shield on her arm, and, on her way home, sees a guy who needs help. This will be her last lodger, and it’s her first tattoo, and the day will prove to be decisive in her story. Listening to Matt put down the harmonies on it in Tulsa earlier this year was one of the best moments I’ve ever had in my musical life; it meant so much to make something new with him, I wouldn’t even be here without him. I’m very happy to share it with the world today.”

Previously The Mountain Goats shared the album’s first single, “Clean Slate,” which was one of our Songs of the Week.

The title character from Jenny from Thebes prominently appeared in their 2002 album All Hail West Texas, as well as in the albums Jam Eater Blues (2001) and Transcendental Youth (2012).

A press release describes the story and themes of the new album in more detail: “Jenny from Thebes is the story of Jenny, her southwestern ranch style house, the people for whom that house is a place of safety, and the west Texas town that is uncomfortable with its existence. It is a story about the individual and society, about safety and shelter and those who choose to provide care when nobody else will.”

Darnielle regards Jenny from Thebes as a sequel of sorts to All Hail West Texas, which was much more lo-fi in nature. “If we’re going to do a sequel to a record that was recorded almost entirely on a boombox,” Darnielle says, “why not do the opposite and make it as big as possible?”

The Mountain Goats’ last album was 2022’s Bleed Out.

Check out our “Why Not Both” podcast featuring The Mountain Goats.

The Mountain Goats Tour Dates:

10/2 - Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern
10/3 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Belasco
10/5 - San Francisco, CA @ August Hall
10/6 - San Francisco, CA @ August Hall - SOLD OUT
10/7 - Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
10/9 - Spokane, WA @ Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox
10/10 - Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
10/11 - Bozeman, MT @ The ELM
10/13 - Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre
10/14 - Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre
10/27 - Lubbock, TX @ Cactus Theater
10/28 - Dallas, TX @ Longhorn Ballroom
10/29 - Houston, TX @ Heights Theater
12/1 - Greensboro, NC @ Hangar 1819
12/2 - Wilmington, DE @ The Queen
12/3 - Portland, ME @ Aura
12/5 - Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
12/6 - Hartford, CT @ Infinity Hall
12/7 - Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom
12/8 - Homer, NY @ Center for the Arts of Homer
12/10 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Thunderbird Music Hall
12/12 - Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre
12/13 - Pensacola, FL @ Vinyl Music Hall
12/14 - St. Petersburg, FL @ The Floridian
12/15 - Jacksonville, FL @ Intuition Ale Works

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