Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle has a known way with metaphors, and his latest concoction "Animal Masks" cleverly mixes disparate ingredients: pro wrestling and childbirth. The strummy iconoclast performed the new song for the first time at July's Newport Folk Festival, and now we've got a high-quality video of the band's set courtesy of NPR. At around the 3:35 mark, Darnielle explains the concepts behind the song:
"There's a [wrestling] thing called a battle royal and sometimes it takes place in a cage so the people won't escape ... until they've been knocked out of it … Allegiances form and dissolve rather quickly because you're trying to survive and get rid of the people who are against you, or to keep the people who are for you because you're going to see them down the line … This song is about a battle royal. It's also about the labor and delivery room."
The lighthearted lyrics adeptly swing back and forth between the imagery of frog masks and yellow capes to the heartfelt sentiment like, "Some things you will remember / Some things stay sweet forever." There's no mention of where the song will end up, but it could very well appear on the follow-up to 2012's Transcendental Youth. Check it out in the video above, as well as performances of the Mountain Goats' "Up the Wolves," "You Were Cool," and "Cubs in Five."