There were only 4 songs left on the A.V. Club’s “Undercover” list, but the choice was simple for the Swell Season’s Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová, and friends as the folk-rock troupe had just recently taken on Neutral Milk Hotel songs at an all-night session with a friend. “Two-Headed Boy,” Jeff Mangum’s unsettling ode to an imaginary child—possibly inspired by the two Peters (Schiff and van Pels/Daan) in Anne Frank’s diary—has been notoriously covered by others in recent years as well, namely the Dresden Dolls and Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold.
All three of these covers nail the mournful fury of the original, which is more a testament to Mangum’s brilliant songwriting than anything, I’d say. As Crumbler points out, the Swell Season are clearly fans of the classic In the Aeroplane Over the Sea LP in full as they channel “King of Carrot Flowers Pts. 2-3” for the thrilling outro. Check out the Dresden Dolls and Robin Pecknold’s renditions of “Two-Headed Boy” below and the Swell Season’s take here.