This is John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats doing an acoustic cover of the Ace of Base song The Sign. It is absolutely glorious and having watched this I now love him three times as much as I did before, for both his ongoing personal awesomeness and for his abiding love for Ace of Base. I also learned that the lyric is “love is demanding / without understanding” and not “love is demanding / rhythm to understanding” which means I have been singing the wrong thing all of these years. Whoops!
The Mountain Goats started making music in 1991. I learned about them considerably later, and they quickly became one of my favorite sources of what I can only call “dark dry bitter hilarious self-laceration you can sing along to.” Today I bring you four videos – an introduction, of you haven’t met them before, a celebration if you have. Woke Up New from Get Lonely, directed by Rian Johnson, who also directed the truly excellent Brick: No Children, from Tallahassee; please note how the audience here is, in fact, singing along with great verve. Also, I really, really love this song, because it is kind of mean and awful and yet so perfectly describes a particular post-break-up feeling that there have been times I wanted to call someone and just play it down the phone at them at top volume. (I didn’t.) Autoclave, from Heretic Pride; if I was going to make myself a warning label, it would include, among other things, the lyrics to this song: Sax Rohmer #1, also from Heretic Pride, because “I am coming home/to you/with my own blood in my mouth” gets me every time: