The Swell Season cover N.M.H. on “A.V. Club Undercover”

As A.V. Clubber Josh Modell explains at the start of each episode, Undercover is a weekly feature in which bands stop by the AVC’s Chicago offices and choose from a pre-selected list of songs to cover. Once a song is selected, it’s taken off the list, making the task harder for the next band. After last week’s cover of the The Replacements’ “I Will Dare” by Mates of State, we were down to just four songs, including the notoriously daunting “Two-Headed Boy” by Neutral Milk Hotel. Luckily for all involved, The Swell Season dropped by this week and agreed to try their hand at the track. As you’ll find in this morning’s clip, leader Glen Hansard has more than enough vocal power and emotional intensity to do Jeff Mangum’s original performance justice. (And how about Glen’s guitar? It’s got the signature battle wounds below the strings, but somehow they don’t seem as big as the ones on his Takamine from Once. Are we to believe that Glen has a second guitar that he plays so much it forms Swiss cheese holes in the wood? That’s even cooler than Marketa’s new boy cut!)

For other exceptionally good Undercover episodes, check out Clem Snide covering Journey and  Wye Oak (Feat. Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg) covering The Kinks.


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