March was a busy month for The Mountain Goats. First, the band traveled to the famed Phillips Recording studio in Memphis to work on a secret new album; then, as the news cycle was making clear that the world was changing, John Darnielle whipped out his boombox and worked in a ten-day frenzy to put together special lo-fi project, Songs for Pierre Chuvin.

That first secret album turned out to be Getting Into Knives, out October 23 on Merge Records. The album news arrives with the release of dark, squally lead single “As Many Candles As Possible,” which features Al Green organist Charles Hodges and builds to a churning catharsis. 

The album teasers have given us knives and candles so far; an accompanying track list features appropriately dangerous, possibly referential titles like “Tidal Wave” and “The Last Place I Saw You Alive” and “Rat Queen.” In other words: this looks to be a classic Mountain Goats Album. 

The lyric video for “As Many Candles as Possible” was directed by Darnielle’s wife, Lalitree Darnielle. Watch it below. 

YouTube video

Follow Deputy Arts & Culture Editor Sarah Edwards on Twitter or send an email to

Support independent local journalism. Join the INDY Press Club to help us keep fearless watchdog reporting and essential arts and culture coverage viable in the Triangle.