The Mountain Goats’ latest album Goths contains a song titled “Andrew Eldritch Is Moving Back to Leeds,” which requres a bit of explaining. Andrew Eldritch is the lead singer of pioneering gothic rock band Sisters of Mercy. As Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle explained to Noisey about the song, “The Sisters of Mercy haven’t made any music in over 20 years, and I just thought at some point you have to go home and I liked the idea of Andrew Eldritch being a person. Like, ‘I take off my hat and my sunglasses and go hang out with my friends who knew me when I was just a person who enjoyed a nice, sunny day in Leeds.'”
Growing up as a teen goth (though he knew the genre as “death rock”), Darnielle’s favorite band was the Sisters of Mercy. “My girlfriend and I loved the fact that everyone else was making albums and touring, but in the beginning, the Sisters of Mercy only made 12-inch EPs that were fucking unbelievable,” he told Noisey. “We loved the first album [1985’s First and Last and Always], I saw them twice on that tour, but it lacked the magic, the total mystery of these 12-inches that had almost no details of any kind, just the names of the musicians and the songs. Each EP felt like something to parse, like a text to say how they’d grown.”
Given all that, the surprise isn’t that Darnielle covered a Sisters of Mercy song on Sunday night – it’s that, after playing over 60 shows this year, it was the first time he’d done so. Darnielle didn’t tackle a track off his beloved 12-inch EPs though, but rather “Lucretia My Reflection,” a single off the band’s second album. Accompanied by his new four-piece band (Darnielle, Peter Hughes, Jon Wurster, Matt Douglas), the band absolutely killed it, finding a middle ground somewhere between the Goats and the Sisters. It led into, naturally, into “Andrew Eldritch Is Moving Back to Leeds”
NYCTaper was there to capture it. Stream the cover below, then download the whole show at NYCTaper.
Speaking of Mountain Goats covers, the new podcast I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats features a new cover of the band every episode. Four episodes in, you can hear covers from Against Me’s Laura Jane Grace, Erin McKeown, Ibibio Sound Machine, and – my personal favorite – Loamlands. Listen below.