Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering fans will want to tune in for this one. It’s no secret that John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats is a longtime fan of these Wizards of the Coast properties, but now he’s taking his fandom to a new level. Can you guess how? On April 26, The Mountain Goats will release In League with Dragons, a full-length EP featuring a D&D-inspired storycrafted by Darnielle himself.
If that’s not exciting enough, Darnielle will perform the songs live from Wizards HQ in a special concert that you can stream later today.
“This album began life as a rock opera about a besieged seaside community called Riversend ruled by a benevolent wizard, for which some five to seven songs were written,” Darnielle said in a statement. “When I’m focusing on a project, I always distract myself from the through-line with multiple byways, which are kind of like mini-games within the broader architecture of a long video game. As I worked on the Riversend stuff, weird noir visions started creeping in, probably under the influence of Leonardo Sciascia (a Sicilian author, he wrote mysteries) and Ross MacDonald’s The Zebra-Striped Hearse, which a friend from Port Washington gave me while I was in the thick of the writing.”
He continued, “I thought these moods helped complicate the wizards and dragons a little, and, as I thought about my wizard, his health failing, the invasion by sea almost certain to wipe out half his people, I thought about what such a person might look like in the real world: watching a country show at a midwestern casino, or tryout pitching for an American League team years after having lit up the marquees. Finally, I wrote the title track, which felt like a drawing-together of the themes in play: rebellion against irresistible tides, the lush vistas of decay, necessary alliances.”
Darnielle also admitted that he hopes In League with Dragons will inspire a broader musical movement. “I am earnestly hoping that a new genre called ‘dragon noir’ will spring from the forehead of nearly two years’ work on these songs, but, if not, I am content for this to be the sole example of the style.”
The Mountain Goats recently announced a 40-date tour that launches on album release day, April 26. Prior to that, Darnielle will perform a live show from Wizards HQ on Jan. 28 (as in today) at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT. Fans can stream the concert from these channels:
- The Mountain Goats on Facebook
- Dungeons and Dragons on Facebook
- Magic: The Gathering on Facebook
- Magic: The Gathering on Twitch
- Dungeons and Dragons on Twitch
Check out the full In League with Dragons track list below. Then listen to the first single, “Younger,” and be sure to tune into the concert today!
- Done Bleeding
- Passaic 1975
- Clemency for the Wizard King
- Possum by Night
- In League with Dragons
- Doc Gooden
- Going Invisible 2
- Waylon Jennings Live!
- Cadaver Sniffing Dog
- An Antidote for Strychnine
- Sicilian Crest
Samantha Puc is an essayist and culture critic whose work has been featured on Bitch Media, The Mary Sue, Bustle, and elsewhere. She mostly writes intersectional pop culture analysis with a particular focus on representation of LGBTQ and fat characters in fiction. Samantha is the managing editor at The Beat, as well as the co-creator and editor-in-chief of Fatventure Mag, an outdoors zine for fat creators who are into being active, but not into toxic weight-loss culture. She lives in Montana with her partner and cats.