The Mountain Goats Share New Single ‘Cadaver Sniffing Dogs’


At the end of January, The Mountain Goats announced a new album, In League With Dragons, and shared its first single, “Younger.” Now, the band fronted by John Darnielle has released a follow-up song, “Cadaver Sniffing Dog,” to promote the record’s forthcoming release on April 26 via Merge.

Darnielle and his bandmates—drummer Jon Wurster, bassist Peter Hughes and multi-instrumentalist Matt Douglas—offer a propulsive rock tune with “Cadaver Sniffing Dog.” A major highlight is the juxtaposition of the song’s dark and eerie lyrics with its urgent bassline and upbeat acoustic guitar. The tune also features a strings accompaniment, tight vocal harmonies and a percussive guitar solo midway through.

Darnielle issued an extensive statement on the track’s origins with its release, which can be read below:

My records indicate that I wrote “Cadaver Sniffing Dog” on Christmas Day, 2017, which probably tells you more about me than the song itself could ever hope to. I’d had the title in a notebook for several years, and had made a run or two at it, but Christmas lights and early sunsets seem to have put me in the right frame of mind to rise to the challenge of writing something morbid enough to live up to the name. Because I’m me, and favor sharp contrast, I went with something uptempo instead of, you know, a dirge.

The acoustic guitars (Matt Douglas and I playing together in the same isolation room), bass, and drums are live in the studio; the lead vocal may also have been tracked on that same take, I forget; the downtown-New-York-by-way-of-Berlin guitar solo is Thom Gill. The strings are arranged by producer Owen Pallett and performed by the Macedonian Radio Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Oleg Kondratenko. The backing vocals are arranged by Robert Bailey and sung by himself, Everett Drake, Jason Eskridge, and Michael Mishaw, with whom we also worked on the Goths album; it’s a profound honor to me to have Robert and the guys take a song and just elevate it, transport it, make it cosmic. Matt Ross-Spang engineered it and Shani Gandhi mixed it; they are actual wizards.

The lyric is a noir vision of a crime scene investigation, and is a metaphor for a relationship in which there is nothing whatsoever left to salvage, because, as I mentioned earlier, it was Christmas, and, being the sort of person who really tries to get into the Christmas spirit, I — well, anyway, please enjoy “Cadaver Sniffing Dog.”

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