The Mountain Goats broke the Merge Records website.
In late January, the Durham label announced it would soon be releasing its third album by the longtime outlet of singer-songwriter John Darnielle. Though Darnielle has been incredibly prolific during his quarter-century career, this new music, collectively titled Beat the Champ, would mark his first musical release since 2012’s Transcendental Youth and his debut novel, last year’s Wolf in White Van. So his fansso fervent and obsessive that they were once the other half of a Mountain Goats profile in New York magazineflooded the Merge site, temporarily drowning and downing it with requests for pre-orders. Adding to the urge: Beat the Champs was, at last, Darnielle’s long-rumored full-length ode to professional wrestling, filled with 13 songs about many of the masked and sweaty gladiators who had inspired him through childhood.