You never forget where when you first fell in love with the Mountain Goats. For me, it wasn't immediate—when a rhapsodic friend pressed All Hail West Texas on me in early 2002, the lo-fi trickle of sound slid right past me. But later that year came Tallahassee, where the Mountain Goats sound flowers into a dramatic lushness that serves as a perfect cocoon, backdrop, and springboard to John Darnielle's concisely literary lyrics. But my deepest Mountain Goats love came two years later, with the release of We Shall All Be Healed, a stunning musical chronicle of lives wrecked by meth, where Darnielle's music achieves a ghostly grayness that eerily makes audible the characters' hollowed-out exhaustion; it's an even better Beautifully Upsetting Drug Album than Tonight's the Night. Tonight, the Mountain Goats perform at the Showbox and you should expect brilliance. (Also, the last MGs release was 2012's Transcendental Youth. Will tonight's show be a late victory lap for that beautiful achievement? Or might it feature early glimpses of what's coming next?) DAVID SCHMADER
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And check out Jackson Hathorn's heartfelt final Underage column about the Goats here »


(Neumos) Britain’s Jungle were NME’s band of the week in October 2013, which is notable, because they’re not a white guitar-oriented unit, but rather a well-oiled, modern R&B band who sound nuffink like Oasis. Jungle are a bit too slick and classy for my taste (I prefer my R&B warped almost beyond recognition), but their sound’s agreeable and surely sounds hot and popping on a big club system. Beaty Heart—there’s no way to get around it—sound very much like late-’00s Animal Collective. On their new album, Mixed Blessings, these Beaty Heart folks possess the affable percussive clatter; the earnest, child-like vocals and yelps; and the fearsomely cheerful tunes that will smear Strawberry Jam all over your Merriweather Post Pavilion. Their gently demented sound sometimes gets pretty psychedelic— maybe Paw Tracks will sign ’em. DAVE SEGAL
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