Sunday, May 30, 2010

An Old Favorite

So I think in some posts now I'll take a break from mentioning new "cutting-edge" bands and maybe just talk about some of my favorite bands that have really impacted my musical taste. First off is my favorite band in the world, Modest Mouse. I'm only gonna mention their Pre-Good News stuff, because it's completely different and, in my opinion, better (which is not to say their newer stuff is "bad" it is just different and I prefer their older work).

First things I'll mention are some early demos: Uncle Bunny Faces and Tube-Fruit, All Smiles, and Chocolate. These were both released on tape in the early 90's and are pretty rare/hard to find. I found a download of Tube Fruit online, but I've yet to find Uncle Bunny. I really like tube-fruit. It's really lo-fi, which is not necessarily a bad thing, and it's interesting to see the beginnings of MM. It sounds sort of like the Microphones mixed with MM, and what I like a lot about it is how private it sounds. It sounds really intimate, like it was just recorded in Isaac's bedroom late at night and that it was never really intended to be heard by people other than maybe a few friends. I'd really like to hear Uncle Bunny, so if anyone has a download link if they could send it I would really appreciate that.

Next up is Blue Cadet-3, Do You Connect? It was their first official EP I think and all the songs were later released on Sad Sappy Sucker (pictured above) which came out in 2001 but was actually recorded to be their debut album. It was produced by Calvin Johnson which is pretty cool I think. I haven't listened to SSS as much as I probably should have because on the version I have the tracks are messed up and some are mistitled, which really bugs me. I've been meaning to get a new one and I probably should sometime soon. It's really a good release, definitely underappreciated I think. All the members were quite young when it was recorded and I think that's probably why it comes off as really real and you can tell they really meant everything. The songs are all succinct and they manage to say a lot with so few lyrics and relatively simple music. Listen to: "Worms vs Birds" (

Next is the Interstate 8 EP. This is one of my favorite things they've put out. All the songs except "Pushing the Buttons" are incredible. It's one of first release where their own unique sound is apparent and developed. Both the songs "Broke". "Edit the Sad Parts" and "Positive Negative" are really, really good and the low quality of the recordings makes them seem more personal and emotional I think. Most of the songs on this EP were later re-recorded and released on Building Nothing Out of Something, a b-sides and rarities comp that is almost as good most of the regular albums. They add in some new verses and lines in some songs, and they're really good additions that don't change the spirit of the original, but just make it better. Both are definitely worth a listen. By far the best song on it is "Baby Blue Sedan" which is a little repetitive, but everything about it is completely great. The repetition works out well I think and serves to emphasize the message instead of just being a way to make the song longer. Check Out: "Broke" ( "Edit the Sad Parts" (

The next album to mention is their first official full length, the great This is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About. It came out the same year as Interstate 8 (although I'm not sure which came first) and has two of the same songs on it. Every single song on here is great. It starts of with "Dramamine", arguably one of their best songs that opens with such a great into, that loops and keeps adding layers. Other favorites include the song "Ohio" (about a bus trip, with the incredible line: "rows of lights to illuminate lines, why can't they turn them off and let us see night") "Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset" and "Make Everyone Happy/Mechanical Birds" (which segues pretty seamlessly from a pretty soft relaxing beginning (with the dank lyric "And I said you can't make everybody happy. He said you'd like to at least make yourself happy though") to an instrumental section where the guitars sound somewhat like a screeching bird call). I think this album is sort of underrated. It's really quite good, especially for a debut, and it has some really, really, incredible songs on it. The only thing I don't really like is the song it ends on. I think it should have ended on "Make Everyone Happy/Mechanical Birds", but maybe that's just my opinion. Hear: "Dramamine" ( and "Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset" (

The last album I'll really mention is The Lonesome Crowded West. It's my favorite of theirs and arguably their magnum opus (although I'm sure a lot of people would say that The Moon and Antarctica is better (it's a great album too, but i just prefer this one)). It starts off with one of my favorite songs ever "Teeth Like Gods Shoeshine" which realy shows how Isaac can jump between singing/shouting and how MM will make use of dynamics in their music. It has too many great lines/lyrics to mention just one, but I will say that if you listen to only one of the songs I put in this post it should maybe be this one. My second favorite song off of this is "Trailer Trash" which is quite emotional, even for MM, and really easy to relate to. When the fuzzy instrumental bit kicks in near the end it's such a nice feeling. Another song I want to mention is "Shit Luck". This is a song that took me a while to like, because it's kinda abrasive and noisy and chaotic, but once you listen to the lyrics and think of the song more as a concept then it's awesome. It also features "Bankrupt on Selling", another song which has too many great lines to only mention a few. It's short and acoustic and incredibly emotional. It's definitely one of their best I think. I feel like this post's maybe too long, so to be brief, I'll just say that I also love "Doin' the Cockroach", "Cowboy Dan" (Cowboy Dan's a major player in the cowboy scene, he goes to the reservation, drinks and gets mean. He drove the desert, fired his rifle in the sky and said, "God, if I have to die, you will have to die), "Polar Opposites", and the closing track "Styrofoam Boats/It's All Nice on Ice". Please, please listen to: "Teeth Like God's Shoeshine" ( "Trailer Trash" ( and "Bankrupt on Selling" (

I skipped over some very good things, but I think there is just too much to mention about Modest Mouse for one post, and I think I need to draw it to a close. I really hope you listen to the songs I posted, MM is my favorite band ever and I hope that you like them too.


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