Remember when we wrote about John Darnielle releasing videos of himself playing new songs and hinting at a tape release? The wait is over: Today, The Mountain Goats released Songs for Pierre Chuvin, the first album that Darnielle has recorded on his famous old boombox since 2002’s All Hail West Texas.

For fans who love Darnielle’s more polished, full-band work but still miss his lo-fi tape days, it’s an elemental treat, especially as it comes with a long essay on how the coronavirus shutdown sent him back to explore old ways of working and historical themes.

The album, which is inspired by its namesake’s book  A Chronicle of the Last Pagans, is available on Bandcamp today before it rolls out to other digital services on April 17.

But come on, this thing was recorded on tape, and you should hear it on tape—if you can snag one of the 1,000 hand-numbered cassettes to be released on June 19; you can pre-order from Merge now.

For now, The Mountain Goats still have national tour dates (rescheduled from spring) from May 29 to September 17; follow them on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram for updates.

Contact arts and culture editor Brian Howe at