Monday, April 7, 2014

Modest Mouse

Modest Mouse was easily in my top five favorite bands when I was in college. "Obsessive" is probably the best way to describe my enthusiasm at the time. I was the gal on campus that wore a Modest Mouse hoodie every day. EVERY DAY. Grown-up-me wishes that was an exaggeration, but there were some people that only knew me as "the girl that wears the Modest Mouse hoodie"...well, that and "the girl with a crazy tri-colored fauxhawk" (mind you, this was back before all the rave kids started dying their hair and playing with hula-hoops). This went on for at least a year or two, until the hoodie tragically went missing on a weekend stay at home. I was fairly confident it was burned by my parents, but I think I actually found it in a trunk a year ago.

Annnyyywhooo... I've since mellowed out, thank goodness, but I still adore this band. Their lyrics are often thought-provoking, having been the subject of many late night discussions with friends about the significance of "if life's not beautiful without the pain, I'd rather never even see beauty again" and other bits and pieces from their discography. But then, others are just funny, for example, "no matter what consuming sort of mission you're on, you're not invisible inside your car." Issac Brock is such an amazing writer; the lyrics aren't just lyrics, they are poetry in their own right. And his voice is so gritty and awful, it contradicts so well with the rest of it. Because the music quality is just about perfect. The guitar has a couple distinct sounds that recur through each album, and the drums can get all rage-y, but often jazzy. Their songs' music qualities really cover the entire spectrum (except classic rock, but only because they aren't old enough). Their early stuff is intentionally distorted and chaotic, and frankly I kind of hate it, but my husband loves it. Their "middle" albums are heavy - both lyrically and musically. It's all beautiful, melancholy, indie rock and younger me just couldn't get enough. Their latest stuff has started to take itself less seriously and they seem to be having more fun; it features more dance-y rhythms and humorous lyrics, for the most part. But I don't think they'll ever leave their darker side completely, where ever their sound evolves to next.

They are amazing in concert, by the way. I've seen them twice so far and would go again in a heartbeat. This is the band I roadtrip the middle of the work/school's worth it!

(photo source)

[If you're looking at the guy on the far right holding back Isaac Brock, and are like, "man, he looks a lot like Johnny Marr..." you would totally be right! He joined on for the album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Awesomeness!]

Best Song:
Honestly, "Float On," "Dashboard," "The View," and "Black Cadillacs" tie as favorites, all being in the humorous feel-good vein of their stuff. And "Custom Concern" is a short and sweet instrumental that fits in that group too, and husband says I would be remiss not to include it in their best of. "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes" has a funky bass groove and ridiculous lyrics, and it slowly evolves into a gritty rock anthem with Brock just yelling at everyone (which he does a lot, actually). "Cowboy Dan" is one of their best slow-burn songs that's a bit darker. Same for "3rd Planet" and "Perfect Disguise" but man, they are so good at it. Check out Good News for People Who Love Bad News and We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank for their up-tempo high-spirited collection; look to The Lonesome Crowded West and The Moon & Antarctica for their slower somber jazzier sessions.

Listen Now:


"Cowboy Dan"



  1. And if it takes shit to make bliss, well I feel pretty blissfully - AWESOME! I like them. I LOVE the guitar!

  2. Oh yeah! That is such a great line!