18. Hot Garden Stomp (1993)
It's not exactly causation, but the Mountain Goats' cassette years fit snugly between the glory years of hardcore punk and the rise of anti-folk, two genres well-versed in making the personal political. And indie rock is lousy with "literate" writers, ironists and stylists like Dan Bejar, Christine Fellows, Bill Callahan, David Berman, Mark Stewart, and Kurt Wagner. And yet, who else could have written "Beach House," which spends two minutes warning about the deadliness of seals? Though Darnielle's sense of humor remains intact despite legions of freelance writers asking him what's the deal with all this metal, the idea of him indulging in these kinds of jokes now is unimaginable. The highlight here is "Sun Song," a dappled rebuke to someone's gardening skills.