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ZOPILOTE MACHINE

Zopilote Machine


Following a spate of cassette-only releases, singles, EPs, and compilation tracks stretching back over four years, 1995's Zopilote Machine is the Mountain Goats' full-length debut. Any sense that John Darnielle would upgrade his purist lo-fi aesthetic for the CD age is dashed by the opening track; making Guided by Voices seem like Pink Floyd in comparison, Zopilote Machine was, like most early Mountain Goats releases, primarily recorded on a cheap cassette boombox. However, that opening track, "Alpha Incipiens," is in retrospect clear evidence of Darnielle's artistic ambition; though he didn't explain it as such at the time, "Alpha Incipiens" and its companion tracks, "Alpha Sun Hat" and "Alpha in Tauris," were the beginning of a song cycle that would stretch through the next seven years, culminating in 2002's bleak concept album Tallahassee. "Alpha Sun Hat" is a particular standout, with winsome lines like "I'd like to give in to your oboe reed voice" giving little hint of the depressing turn this story of a dysfunctional alcoholic couple would take. Zopilote Machine also contains three entries in Darnielle's "Going To..." series of songs about physical and psychic displacement, as well as three songs referencing his ongoing fascination with Aztec mythology, including the haunting "Quetzalcoatl Eats Plums," which sounds like a lo-fi indie take on Tea for the Tillerman-era Cat Stevens. Though many of the Mountain Goats' early cassette releases had featured a bassist alongside Darnielle, his vocals and guitar are the only elements on Zopilote Machine; due to the primitive direct-to-cassette-through-condenser-mike recording technique, the album has a unique sound, with Darnielle's urgent, rhythmic acoustic guitar given primacy over his vocals, which sound compressed, hissy, and thin in comparison. New listeners, even if they're familiar with more conventional-sounding later Mountain Goats albums like The Sunset Tree and Get Lonely, will have a learning curve with Zopilote Machine (or indeed any Mountain Goats release from the mid-'90s), but after the mental recalibration that makes this stark performance style seem less alien, the unpretentious poetry and deadpan humor of Darnielle's lyrics and the folkie delicacy of his melodies blossom. ~ Stewart Mason, Rovi

  • Condition: --
    HPB condition ratings
    • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
    • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
    • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
    • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
    • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
    • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
    Conditions Guide
  • Format: Compact Disc
  • Sold by: --
  • Label: 3 Beads Of Sweat
  • UPC: 791071100620
HPB pick - Out of stock
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Track listings

  • 1. Alpha Incipiens
  • 2. Azo Tle Nelli In Tlalticpac?
  • 3. Alpha Sun Hat
  • 4. Black Ice Cream Song, The
  • 5. Sinaloan Milk Snake Song
  • 6. We Have Seen The Enemy
  • 7. Standard Bitter Love Song #7
  • 8. Quetzalcoatl Eats Plums
  • 9. Orange Ball Of Love
  • 10. Orange Ball Of Hate
  • 11. Bad Priestess
  • 12. Going To Bristol
  • 13. Young Caesar 2000
  • 14. Going To Lebanon
  • 15. Grendel's Mother
  • 16. Song For Tura Santana
  • 17. Alpha In Tauris
  • 18. Going To Georgia
  • 19. Quetzalcoatal Is Born
 
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Item is brand new, unused and unmarked, in flawless condition.
  • Fine/Like New (F): No defects, little usage. May show remainder marks. Older books may show minor flaws.
  • Very Good (VG): Shows some signs of wear and is no longer fresh. Attractive. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Good (G): Average used book with all pages present. Possible loose bindings, highlighting, cocked spine or torn dust jackets. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Fair (FR): Obviously well-worn, but no text pages missing. May be without endpapers or title page. Markings do not interfere with readability. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
  • Poor (P): All text is legible but may be soiled and have binding defects. Reading copies and binding copies fall into this category. Used textbooks do not come with supplemental materials.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: Mint condition or still sealed (SS). Absolutely perfect in every way. New.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): No defects, little sign of use, well cared for. Plays perfectly. Close to new. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. Could be an unopened promotional or cut item. Sometimes called: mint-minus.
  • Very Good (VG): Will show some signs that it was played and otherwise handled by a previous owner who took good care of it.
  • Good (G): Attractive and well cared for, but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, scuffing or scratching, but will play almost perfectly. For vinyl: barely detectable crackles or pops.
  • Fair (FR): This item is in okay condition. For vinyl: good is not so good and the record may have low level crackles or pops when playing. CD: one or more tracks may skip.
  • Poor (P): Obviously well-worn and handled. Most vinyl collectors will not buy good or below, but some tracks on CD or vinyl will play.
Conditions Guide
HPB condition ratings
  • New: This movie is unopened and brand new.
  • Fine/Like New (EX): Near new. No defects, little sign of use. Plays perfectly. Not necessarily sealed or unused, but close. No skipping; no fuzzy or snowy frames in VHS.
  • Very Good (VG): Attractive and well cared for but no longer fresh. Minor signs of wear, but will play almost perfectly. For VHS: barely detectable distortion or very few fuzzy or snowy frames.
  • Good (G): This item is in okay condition and basically works well. There may be some minor distortion on VHS tape; slight scratching or wear on DVD.
  • Fair (FR): Basically plays, but may be obviously well-worn with some scratching or tape distortion.
  • Poor (P): Disc or tape is intact, but may be scratched or stretched. There may be skips or distortion or product defects.
Conditions Guide
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