As artists take to livestreams and videos, we’re documenting the new performance archive emerging before our eyes in The Stream Warriors series.

In the early ’90s, long before he was a well-known, hi-fi Merge recording artist, John Darnielle of THE MOUNTAIN GOATS made his name on boombox tapes released by the obscure indie label Shrimper. (Tom Breihan has a nice rundown in Stereogum.)

The coronavirus crisis seems to be sending Darnielle back to those primitive roots. (Speaking of times that seem impossibly distant, he was an INDY cover story subject in December, which feels like a million years ago.)

Anyway, Darnielle has been hinting that he’s working on a new tape, posting video clips of himself playing new songs into a boombox. Yesterday, as we wrote about before the drop, Darnielle released a new song called “Exegetic Chains” that is pitched right at the nerve centers of his diligent fans.

It begins with a preamble about doing it like “back in the old days,” and how his song “Thanks for the Dress” has something to do with Euripides’s Medea, and how, as with that song, the title of “Exegetic Chains” is the secret key that unlocks its meanings and references. We can’t pretend to entirely follow, but we await the verdicts of Mountain Goats scholars, and it is a very nice song: 

Musician’s tip-jar corner:

Proving that genre really can’t constrain him, Carrboro fixture C. ALBERT BLOMQUIST played some solo songs on Facebook from a country album he’s been working on. This, from a guy you know from punk and electronic bands like Cold Cream and Tegucigalpan. Cop an album why don’tcha. 

Durham singer-songwriter JULIANA FINCH played a “Brunch Tunes” concert last Saturday afternoon that you can still watch with a free registration. If you like what you hear, there’s another one coming up at 1:00 p.m. EST this Sunday, March 29. []

When its March 14 show at Yonder was canceled, Hillsborough’s JP LEON BAND whipped up a livestream from home. [Venmo @Bryan-Phelps-1]

Finally, singer-songwriter ALICE OSBORN did some serious busking in an eerily empty Moore Square on Facebook. [PayPal.Me/aliceosborn1]


As we wrote about earlier today, HISS GOLDEN MESSENGER dropped a live album to support Durham Public Schools

Contact arts and culture editor Brian Howe at