Sunday, May 8th, 2011
Ben Gibbard covers The Mountain Goats
Frank YangWhether fronting Death Cab For Cutie, moonlighting in The Postal Service or just spending some time as Ben Gibbard, Ben Gibbard has shown a willingness to bust out a cover or two and an sense of equal opportunity when it comes to doing so. Recordings abound of him playing hits and deep cuts, Top 40 pop tunes and underground obscurities; the man seems to operate on a pretty strict, “if I like it, I’ll play it” policy and that’s probably how it should be.
Circa his 2007 solo tours, between Death Cab’s 2005 major label debut Plans and their last record, 2008’s Narrow Stairs, one of the songs that made his “like” list was “Palmcorder Yajna”, from The Mountain Goats’ 2004 release We Shall All Be Healed, and so it was that the tune became a set list staple – and got John Darnielle’s approval – and surely introduced any number of Death Cab devotees to the wonder of The Mountain Goats. Though I would bet that many thought that he was playing a new Death Cab song, for such is the downside of the Ben Gibbard cover version; everything he sings sounds like Ben Gibbard.
Death Cab’s new record Codes & Keys is out in a few weeks – May 31 – and they have two local shows on their touring itinerary. An intimate and completely sold-out show next Thursday, May 18, at The Phoenix, and a big-ass date at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 29. The Mountain Goats were just here last month so I wouldn’t expect a return engagement anytime soon, though they will be at Osheaga in Montreal come late July, if you need a fix and don’t want to cross any borders.