Here’s Against Me!’s New Live Film, Featuring a Perfect Mountain Goats Cover

The 50-minute Apple Music video features Laura Jane Grace's solo take on John Darnielle's "The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton."
May 27, 2017, 2:16pm

The Mountain Goats' All Hail West Texas track "The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton" is brilliant. It's a lo-fi folk song about heavy metal, delivered with a warm, comic touch and an empathetic passion from Mountain Goats auteur John Darnielle. If you've never heard the original, you should go do that. And then, as soon as you're done, listen to Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace cover the track at the top of the page. (It starts around the 42-minute mark.) She's the only person I can think of whose voice could capture the snarl and wit of Darnielle's; she delivers the track with the same eyes-screwed-shut/eyes-wide-open urgency that she delivers everything onstage and, as always, there's a moment in her performance that will make you rewind and rewind and then eventually go smash the State. Yes, "Hail Satan" sounds awesome when Grace growls it, but it's the breathless delivery of Darnielle's thesis that catches: "When you punish a person for dreaming their dreams / Don't expect them to thank or forgive you."

Advertisement

The full 50-minute set is worth watching. This is the second episode of a new Apple Music show, House Of Strombo, in which bands set up in Canadian TV personality George Stroumboulopoulos's living room for intimate performances. It's shot in black and white and mixed brilliantly. Shape Shift With Me's "Haunting, Haunted, Haunts" and fan favorite "Baby, I'm an Anarchist" are particular standouts.

Follow Alex Robert Ross on Twitter.