Bandbox Unboxed Vol. 21 – The Mountain Goats
Prepare your turntable for some heavy rotation bangers vinyl fans, ’cause Bandbox record club is in town, and they’re out to bring the record store to your own front door.
Groove is in the Bandbox
If you’re wondering what the big deal is, Team Bandbox is offering a truly tailor made vinyl club experience every month by letting you fill your box with artists and albums that fit your own personal tastes. As their slogan goes, it’s pretty much like having the record store delivered to your front door every month. Bandbox is currently boasting a record store style variety of artists including Joy Division/New Order, Wilco, Marvin Gaye, and Mr. David Bowie. And just so you know – they’ve got a slew of shiny exclusive color pressings currently in stock, including glorious new pressings of Death Cab For Cutie’s indie classic Plans, and Waxahatchee’s 2020 instant classic Saint Cloud.
Having it your way is the key to their coveted box. With the choice of a single album from an artist you love, and a fresh edition of Bandbox’s artist-specific fan zine showing up every single month, the B-Box service has effectively made it possible to do some good ole fashioned bin-diving from the comfort and safety of your very own home. And you can now dig their vinyl+zine treasures for a super reasonable $29 a month.
Did I mention Bandbox even offers FREE SHIPPING for members? Well they do. And it’s sort of just the icing on the vinyl box cake.
As for April’s box, Bandbox is celebrating the 10th anniversary of The Mountain Goats’ 2011 classic All Eternals Deck with a glorious exclusive pressing. Here’s a peak.
But before we go further, you should know Bandbox’s have it your way format is designed to ease the nerves of folks wary of the record club scene. Just so you know, you can still choose to be surprised by Team Bandbox every month if surprises happen to be your bag. And fear not if you do go the surprise route as Bandbox will actually let you integrate your Discogs account to ensure they don’t send you something you already have in your collection.
Of course, if you’re really, really suspect, you can pump the brakes on your subscription at any time by simply pausing your sub. It’s unlikely you’ll want to “pause” anything once you’ve signed up and experienced BandBox for yourself. Just know that your Bandbox experience will be every bit as amazing as you make it.
Let the Great World Spin
Hopefully, you’re as excited about The Mountain Goats Bandbox as I am, because the band and their unique, hyper-literate brand of folk-tinged indie rock could not be more worthy of the treatment. And if you’re not already among the band’s steadfast fandom, well, I can assure you this Bandbox will make you one.
Oh hey, did I mention Bandbox’s pressing of All Eternals Deck is a hand numbered, limited edition exclusive pressing? It is. Say hello to #110 of 500.
Oh, and just to put it out there, for those who aren’t already on board with celebrating the sonic marvel that is All Eternals Deck, this stunner of an album cover may well put you in the mood.
Check the back cover for an oh-so stylish track list … complete with awesome song titles like “Damn These Vampires,” “Beautiful Gas Mask,” and “High Hawk Season.”
And if those song titles weren’t enough to set the tone of the album, there’s also a lovely poem from Jean Valentine to help set the pseudo-mystical stage.
The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck (2011)
It’s my sincere hope that you’re already well-acquainted with The Mountain Goats, as they’ve been one of the most consistently brilliant bands on the indie rock scene for close to three decades now. Just so happens they’ve also been one of the most prolific, releasing 20 full-length albums over that period. But even as prolific and and brilliant as the band has been over the years, they’ve also remained firmly on the fringes of the music scene, even by music fans well-versed in the ways of folkified indie rock.
As it is, I’ve little interest in offering those not in the know about The Mountain Goats a full-on history lesson about the sonically bold, deeply personal, and hyper-literate works of Mr. John Darnielle and company here, save to say he’s become one of the most wildly original, and tragically undervalued songwriters of the modern era since entering the indie rock fray circa the mid-90s. In lieu of that history lesson, I’ll simply implore you to head over to the streaming service of your choice, click on ’94s Beautiful Sunset, and give it a listen. If you like what you hear, go ahead and give the other 19 albums Darnielle has released under The Mountain Goats moniker a try too as there’s really not a miss in the mix.
I’d also implore you to spend a little extra time with the album that Bandbox deemed worthy of a sexy 10th anniversary pressing too, as All Eternals Deck is arguably the best of The Mountain Goats’ batch. And even if All Eternals Deck isn’t your personal fave, the album is well worth celebrating as the 13 songs within are among the most devastatingly introspective, unabashedly playful, and musically adventurous John Darnielle and the gang have ever delivered. And please understand, I say that as someone who’s called the band’s 2005 album The Sunset Tree my fave pretty much since the day it hit the streets.
For the record, The Sunset Tree still sits atop my list of The Mountain Goats favorites. But after giving Bandbox’s exclusive of All Eternals Deck a spin or four, the album has rapidly ascended the charts, now slotting firmly in at #2. Who knows, given a few more spins, it may one day supplant The Sunset Tree in the top spot, even if that album’s “This Year” will forever remain a personal anthem of mine.
Personal anthems aside, All Eternals Deck is obviously the album of record here. And as a record, it’s legitimately difficult (nay impossible) to find a single flaw among the album’s 13 tracks. Hell, even the titles of those songs are brilliant to the point of entertaining even outside of the context of the songs they herald. As has become my mantra with my vinyl unboxings of late, I’ll spare you a full track breakdown of those tracks and simply tell you to go and listen to them if you’re interested.
If you’re dying for some insight to those songs, keep reading as John Darnielle indeed pulled back the curtain on those songs in vintage John Darnielle fashion for Bandbox’s The Mountain Goats-centric zine. Which is pretty cool.
A Cardboard Box for Sharing Music
You might’ve noticed that prior photo defining a bandbox as: “a cardboard box, typically square, for sharing music.” And yes, that’s exactly what every single Bandbox is. They’re also a chance for super fans of this artist or that to delve deep into the inner workings of their favorite music makers. Team Bandbox takes you deeper than most every month with their very own artist-centric fan zine featuring interviews, album breakdowns, killer photos of the featured musician.
Bandbox’s 36th issue takes a deep dive into The Mountain Goats’ All Eternals Deck, including the aforementioned track by track breakdown from frontman John Darnielle. It also explores the recording of the album, and the ins and outs of its the bands not so mystical processes. And yeah, there’s lots of pretty pictures in there too. Check it out.
Before we get to that exclusive color pressing of All Eternals Deck, be sure to check the sleeve as there’s a digital download of the album tucked away in there. Sure, most folks don’t bother to use them these days, but I can assure you this is an album you’ll want kicking through your headphones as often as it spins on your turntable.
Be sure to dig on the snazzy inner sleeve as well, as there’s some vital stats about who did what on the Mountain Goats classic. There’s also a sly touch of myth-making there from John Darnielle himself.
And I’d be willing to bet many a fan of The Mountain Goats will weep at the sight of the wax inside, ’cause it’s a near-unrivaled beauty.
And it’s set to bring some serious pseudo-mystical fire to all decks it encounters, eternal or not.
It’s the Bandbox You Want and the Bandbox You Need
Vinyl is here to stay, friends. And if you’re one of the many who’ve found themselves fervently swept up in the madness, you’re already aware there’s a million and one ways to get your hands on some sweet, sweet wax. While I’d always encourage you to shop first at your local record store, subscription vinyl clubs really are an excellent way to help fill in/round out your growing collection.
The great thing about Bandbox is that they ultimately leave the choices up to you. So if you’re looking to snag a copy of your fave band’s most popular album, you can do that. Unfortunately, this super limited pressing of The Mountain Goats’ All Eternals Deck is indeed already sold out. But if you’re dying to dig into the band’s robust back catalogue, Bandbox is still offering several of their other albums. I might recommend Tallahassee or We Shall Be Healed if you don’t know where to start, but honestly you can’t really go wrong with anything Bandbox is stocking these days.
A thousand THANK Yous to the folks at Bandbox for sponsoring this subscription. If you like what you’ve seen here, you can head over to the Bandbox website and sign up to have a sexy new Bandbox delivered to your own front door every single month. While you’re there, feel free to check out their podcast and merch section too! And be sure to check back soon to see what goodies we select from the the Bandbox vaults for May!