[ rock/pop ]
John Darnielle’s 14th-ish Mountain Goats album bursts open with surging strums, seething intensity and a lyric — “Do every stupid thing that makes you feel alive” — that grits teeth in the face of near-unendurable circumstances. It’s characteristic almost to the point of self-parody, instantly recalling the raw urgency of classic MG anthems like “This Year,” and it’s potent as hell. The rest of Transcendental Youth (Merge) follows suit, rife with the darkness and desperation that is Darnielle’s richest métier — though the characters given voice in these songs, mostly sufferers of some form of mental illness, are particularly troubled even by his standards. The proceedings are augmented (or perhaps tempered) by several sumptuous, chorale-like horn charts penned by Richmond, Va.’s Matthew E. White, who’ll be on hand tonight to share some of the gentle, devotional folk-soul epics from his debut, Big Inner (Spacebomb/Hometapes) — an unlikely intermingling of Van Dyke Parks, Curtis Mayfield and Spiritualized — which occupies almost precisely the opposite end of the emotional spectrum.
Thu., Oct. 11, 7 p.m., $18-$24.50, with Matthew E. White, TLA, 334 South St., 215-922-1011, livenation.com.