March 29, 2007

Win the new Modest Mouse

New contest for you kids, this time to win one of five copies that I’ve got of the new Modest Mouse album We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank. The big news for Isaac Brock and Co. this week is that his little band’s new album (their 5th full-length) debuted at #1 on the charts, selling 129K copies in the first week. It must have been propelled by that good review in Teen People.

THE CONTEST: One thing I find fascinating about Modest Mouse is how different each of their songs sounds. Sure, you’ve got that jangly, slightly off-kilter feel and the disorienting warble of Brock’s vocals, but beyond that there is huge and pleasing variety in the tunes.

To enter to win, leave me a comment with your favorite Modest Mouse song thus far (including new and/or unreleased songs is okay) and why. I want to take a listen. My wonderful student assistant Kathy once made me a Modest Mouse sampler with a great variety of tunes (rare/live/album) and I’ll admit I want to add any overlooked tunes to that. We’ll run it a week, ending next Thursday April 5th, and winners will be randomly selected.

I think my favorite MM tune is “Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes” — it has a narcotic-like effect on me in that I just can’t get enough of it. The first time I heard it, I just wanted to shake my moneymaker and I still feel that way every single time it comes on. Big fat delicious bassline, the trademark droning blend of two-octave vocals, and I love the lyrics, “I’m gonna get dressed up in plastic, gonna shake hands with the masses oh yeah . . .” Sounds a little OCD to me, but I love it.

Tiny Cities Made Of Ashes – Modest Mouse

NEW: Missed The Boat – Modest Mouse

Brock has been busy parlaying his past A&R experience at Sub Pop into a successful record label of his own with the development of the Epic subsidiary Glacial Pace Records. His first signing was singer-songwriter-cool dude Mason Jennings and the 2006 release Boneclouds was the premiere for the hatchling label. No word yet on other releases.


  • I would have to go with “The World At Large”. I just love this song all the references it has to nature it brings me to a different better place in my head. Honorable mention would be “Black Cadillacs”.

    Dave — March 29, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

  • This was tough especially since i’m on a huge MM kick. I’d have to go with Black Cadillacs because it has my favorite simile from Brock(And it’s true that the clouds just hung around
    Like black Cadillacs outside a funeral.) The whole feel of the song just reminds me of being a teenager and i also love the drum part.

    alex — March 29, 2007 @ 6:32 pm

  • “The View” from “Good News for People Who Love Bad News.” It has great, stuttering guitars mixed with great, angular ones, some Black Francis-esque vocals and a very Isaac Brock lyric: “Life it rents us. And yeah I hope it put plenty on you. Well I hope mine did too. As life gets longer, awful feels softer. Well it feels pretty soft to me. And if it takes shit to make bliss, I feel pretty blissfully.” Not the most uplifting stuff, but it sounds soooo good.

    Michael Cass — March 29, 2007 @ 7:03 pm

  • My favorite MM song has to be “Ocean Breathes Salty.” It always hits me hard..”Your body may be gone, I’m gonna carry you in, in my head, in my heart in my soul..maybe we’ll get lucky and we’ll both live again, well I don’t know I don’t think so”..the message about life and how we waste it hoping some diety is going to reward us a grand afterlife is very powerful. The whole song is gorgeous, love the bouncy bassline, and the intricate ways the keys interact..

    Justyn — March 29, 2007 @ 7:04 pm

  • I’d have to go with “Blame It On The Tetons”, ’cause like it says, we all need a scapegoat from time to time.

    JMH — March 29, 2007 @ 8:07 pm

  • Ironically, my favorite MM song is “Never Ending Math Equation”. The irony comes in because while I like the MM version, the Sun Kil Moon version is in the top 5 of my most played songs on my ipod. The Sun Kil Moon version is so beautiful it really makes you appreciate how great the lyrics of that song really are.

    John — March 29, 2007 @ 8:13 pm

  • How about a cover…South of Heaven. Seems the boys are fans of Slayer and had to do a cover of their most “friendly song”. I certainly appreciate this cover as a look back at where we came from.

    Dirt - LPBME — March 29, 2007 @ 8:29 pm

  • Doin’ The Cockroach is still my fav. That song just rocks and it’s able to rock hard with no distortion. The guitars are clean and the harmonics make your head ring. It just builds into a beautiful sounding rockout that always gets my head nodding

    Anonymous — March 29, 2007 @ 9:53 pm

  • I think I’ll irritate everyone and pick one of their new songs: Dashboard is great. I love the hook: The dashboard melted but we still had the radio.

    - Ekko

    Anonymous — March 30, 2007 @ 3:16 am

  • Never Ending Math Equation – because it’s frenetic and weird like the best of their stuff.

    Paul — March 30, 2007 @ 9:45 am

  • ‘Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset’ – A journey of a song, traveling all the way from a sad bastard, acoustic ballad to an uplifting, no-wave groove. As This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About starts to lose the momentum with which it started, ‘Talking Shit . . .’ awakens the listener with coming-of-age lyrics like, “And I claim I’m not excited with my life any more/So I blame this town, this job, these friends/The truth is its myself.” These words – they bring you down but keep you company. All you feel like doing is running, or pushing the pedal to the floor, when all of a sudden that groove kicks in for a few minutes of steering wheel banging, emotional release.

    Sal — March 30, 2007 @ 10:29 am

  • Jeez — everybody else got there first. I’m tempted to be the 2nd anti-hipster and choose “Float On” because that was the song that introduced me to MM (and I do like it), but then I really love “Blame It on the Tetons,” but now I’ve decided to go with “Parting of the Sensory” from the new CD. Better stop before I think of 4 or 5 more….

    Greg — March 30, 2007 @ 12:36 pm

  • Apparently this didna post yesterday, and now I look like a copier…but, like Ekko, my favorite – at least currently – is Dashboard. I’ve already declared it the best song of the year and it isn’t even April yet! The video makes me like it even more.

    JJ — March 30, 2007 @ 2:10 pm

  • “Cowboy Dan,” from The Lonesome Crowded West. The music is brooding, claustrophobic, and cathartic by turns, while the lyrics are so goddamn angry and ballsy.

    “He drove to the desert, fired his rifle in the sky
    And said, ‘God, if I have to die, you will have to die.’”

    Brian Eha — March 30, 2007 @ 3:18 pm

  • I actually had to go back and listen to several songs to make sure I was picking my absolute favorite. I have so many favorites, but tops is Whenever You See Fit. A 14-plus minute collaboration with 764-Hero, truly epic and stunning. Tough choice.

    Other favorites are the obvious ones from Good News: The World at Large, Float On, Ocean Breathes Salty (what a combo! If those were all one song, that would be the best damn song ever!) The Good Times Are Killing Me, Blame It on the Tetons, as well as Interstate 8, Heart Cooks Brain, All Night Diner, Edit the Sad Parts, Jesus Christ Was an Only Child, too too many.

    Of course, it isn’t technically Modest Mouse, but I love the Ugly Casanova song Things I Don’t Remember.

    Nathan — March 30, 2007 @ 3:55 pm

  • Bukowski
    Doin The Cockroach
    Missed The Boat

    rightbacktoyou — March 30, 2007 @ 8:39 pm

  • Oooooh. Toughie. I’ll go with “Stars Are Projectors” from “The Moon and Antarctica.”

    The imagery is amazing to think about: “The stars are projectors, yeah / projecting our lives down to this planet earth.”

    More important, when I lived in Lubbock for two years I listened to this album endlessly, and so I became somewhat attached, especially to this song, whilst questioning my post-graduation life. For some reason, the bigness (word?) of this song stuck with me. Sort of a what-does-it-all-mean song for me.

    Close second: The Good Times Are Killing Me.
    Close third: You’re the Good Things.

    Kevin — March 30, 2007 @ 9:37 pm

  • Dramamine off of This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About has always been my favorite.

    I’ve always liked the simple lyrics (especially ‘we kiss on the mouth but still cough down our sleeves’) and the near-swaggering way that Brock sings them, but what really does it for me is the guitar.

    liz — March 31, 2007 @ 1:49 am

  • Out of Gas off of Lonesome crowded west!

    Phil (7) — March 31, 2007 @ 10:07 am

  • Baby Blue Sedan, hands down. It’s off the vinyl only release of Lonesome Crowded West, though I think it’s been rereleased somewhere else at this point – as befits a track of its greatness. It’s got the whole jangly Modest Mouse thing in spades and some of their best lyrics:

    “And it’s hard to be a human being
    And it’s harder as anything else
    And I’m lonesome when you’re around
    And I’m never lonesome when I’m by myself
    And I miss you when you’re around…”

    Adrian — March 31, 2007 @ 4:50 pm

  • dude their all good. the new album is brilliant. okay so i’m not really trying to win the album rather just joining in on the discussion of this amazing band. :)

    skyforestrobb — March 31, 2007 @ 11:10 pm

  • Lately I would say my favourite MM song, or at least the one that means the most to me, has been Workin’ On Leavin’ the Livin’.

    It’s pretty long, has an Eraserhead-type intro, which are fine, but what’s great about it is how well it jumbles the strong feelings of love and sadness. It really is when you feel like giving up that you “love you more than ever…loved everything more than anything” and other such nonsense ways of explaining what it feels like to confront mortality.

    “In heaven everything is fine…”

    J. — April 1, 2007 @ 5:33 pm

  • “Medication” off of an old 7″ but later on Building Something Out of Nothing.

    Isaac is great at the quiet-to-loud and slow-to-fast thing, but on this song his style fits the narrative better than on most MM songs. It actually sounds and feels like hope breaking through the anti-depressants. The jangly hopeful ear-candy part of the song is wedged between the low-key and surprinsingly intimate (medicated) lines. They’ve got songs that kick more ass, but this one does more than just sound good.

    pen cap — April 5, 2007 @ 8:58 pm

  • Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset for the guitar solo alone.

    jonathan — April 6, 2007 @ 10:15 am

  • 1). Missed the Boat!
    2). Gravity Rides Everything
    3). 3rd Planet
    4). Ocean Breathes Salty

    “For your sake I hope heaven and hell are really there but I wouldn’t hold my breath.”

    Anonymous — March 12, 2008 @ 2:04 am

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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