Tag Archives: modest mouse

50 States, 50 Artists, 50 Songs

Alabama

Alabama Shakes- “Hold On”

Alaska

Volcano Choir- “Alaskans”

Arizona

The Beatles- “Get Back”

Arkansas

Of Montreal- “Little Rock

California

Foxygen- “San Francisco”

Colorado

Bob Dylan- “Man of Constant Sorrow”

Connecticut

Superchunk- “Connecticut

Delaware

Continue reading 50 States, 50 Artists, 50 Songs

“I Don’t Enjoy Sad Songs”

The above quote was brought up over the past weekend about a friend of one of my housemates from back home, and we all laughed at the concept of it for perhaps different reasons. The people in the room that knew him better than myself laughed because they knew examples of artists who the quoted person claimed to love which seemed to contradict the statement, but I laughed because it seemed like such an odd point to define your music interests. ‘Sad songs’ are going to find their way into every genre of music because a vast majority of artists will have something pushing them which inspires some form of sadness, it’s the nature of the beast.

Plus who’s to say what a sad song is when depressing topics such as “We Will Become Silhouettes” by The Postal Service and “Dying Is Fine” by Ra Ra Riot can be presented in such pretty and poppy ways? Listening is more of an empathetic process than anything else, and the listener by no means has to copy the feeling of the music. You don’t have to be happy to enjoy a happy song, and you don’t have to be sad when you hear a sad song, it’s just about trying to identify and understand why the artist is feeling that emotion and displaying it in this manner. To prove this point, I’ve compiled a playlist of ten songs I would say are sad but make me happy when I listen to them, and I hope that other people share this feeling with me.

Jeffrey Lewis- The East River

The Magnetic Fields- I Don’t Believe in the Sun

Okkervil River- On Tour With Zykos

Continue reading “I Don’t Enjoy Sad Songs”

Artists Who Are Due For Their Next Release in 2014

I hope that everybody had an excellent holiday season and received gifts which caused them joy, and I would like to remind you that these gifts don’t stop coming once the holidays are over. We receive gifts in the form of hope for the future constantly, and these less tangible items help us to make it through our daily lives because something beautiful may be on the horizon. Being as this is a music blog and I am a man who love speculating on future music releases, here are some artists who are probably due to release their new album at some point in 2014.
 
Avi Buffalo
Avi Buffalo
 
I wasn’t a fan of his when I saw him play live at our Birthday show back in 2011, but Avi Zahner-Isenberg’s ability to put together a terrific studio album shouldn’t be doubted. His self-titled debut album from 2010 holds some fantastic songs on it, such as “Summer Cum” and “What’s In It For?“. I can’t find an official page on the promise of an album from him in 2014, but his wikipedia article does suggest that the sophomore album was being constructed in 2013 and therefore can be hoped for in the upcoming year.
The Antlers
 
Purely speculation on my part, but the band has last released an album in 2011 and have only released the EP Undersea since then in 2012. For a band that’s still actively touring and writing music, I have to speculate that 2014 could reveal the fifth studio album for this talented band to display their version of soft and experimental folk-rock.
Beck
Consistently interesting and well established to the point that he’ll be able to do basically whatever he’d like, Beck is at an ideal place for a musician to be. His last studio album was done back in 2008 and was widely praised in Modern Guilt but that won’t be true for much longer as we are about to hear Beck’s twelfth studio album in February of upcoming year named Morning Phase, supposedly with a ‘Sea Change’ vibe to it.

Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club
 
A much anticipated album by me because A Different Kind of Fix was such a stellar release by the group. How will they follow it up and how much will the sound change? I guess we’ll find out on February 3rd
Brand New
 
Honestly I  don’t care to much about the release of the next Brand New album because I think I’m out of the age range where they should be relevant to me. I would agree that they are a legitimate band though, and they’re loved by a lot of my friends who know their stuff about music so it’s worth covering here that they’ve been touring a lot recently and supposedly said at a show that they have been recording new material.
Cloud Nothings
 
Attack on Memory was one of the finest releases out there in 2012, but it seems promising that they’re hinted 2014 release will be a different sound from the Cleveland noise-rockers. They’ve promised a sound which is more true to their playing style and thus the upcoming album should be expected to be more similar to the track “Wasted Days” and not-so-much like “Fall In“. Either way I’m interested in seeing how quality of a release it is and how close they come to crossing over to punk or grunge in the process.

Death Cab for Cutie

Death Cab For Cutie
 
We’re definitely out of the golden-age for this band, but I’m hard pressed to say that I won’t give a listen to anything that Gibbard releases out of respect for his voice and past writing experience. The group posted a photo on Instagram three months ago to announce the beginning the band’s work on their eighth studio album.
Death From Above 1979
 
It’s hard to not imagine the ‘what if’ for this band and their potential re-emergence into the music scene, filled with energy packed guitar rock hopefully. The album could be coming out in 2014 and I’m hopeful for it being awesome as this could make Canada the place to be for modern noise-rock as it could claim Japandroids and Death From Above 1979 (and Metz too if you want to throw them in that category).
The Drums
 
The fact that this album is coming three years after Portamento is actually a blessing because it will say a lot about how good the band actually is. Their music is incredibly fun to listen to, catchy and funny, but I’m of the opinion that a lot of artists can write about their failed past relationships in a pop song. I’m interested in hearing the band’s third studio album because I believe it will be a defining point for what kind of band The Drums will be in the future.
 
Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes
 
I really hope that Jonathan Tillman’s departure from the band is as insignificant as the phrase ‘The Drummer from Fleet Foxes left the band’ suggests, but I don’t think that’s a fair viewpoint because Tillman went on to release a fine solo album in Fear Fun under the moniker of Father John Misty. Still, you should be excited for the future of this band because the last time they released an album it was 2011 and they out-shined Bon Iver’s Bon Iver ,Bon Iver that year in my eyes with Helplessness Blues. The band has indicated via photos on their Facebook page that they are currently working on album number three.
Guided By Voices
 
A safe bet in any year to release an album or two so long as they’re active, Robert Pollard must be writing constantly.
The Hold Steady
 
I love Craig Finn as a lead singer, and I’m very much so anticipating hearing what lines he gets on the upcoming album (can it be much better than “She said the theme of this party’s the Industrial Age/ And you came in dressed like a train-wreck”?). Hopefully they do a national tour in support of the release because this is a band who I would absolutely love to see play live.

M83

M83
 
Haven’t seen any news that this one’s being worked on but the band has never taken more than three years to release an album, even for their most recent double album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming back in 2011. Their next release will say a lot about how much of a premiere alternative electronic artist the band is because their last two albums have been spectacular in the aforementioned Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming as well as Saturdays=Youth in 2008.
Metronomy
 
I don’t know to much about the band, but I do know that their last album release in 2011 was The English Riviera and that one is viewed as a classic by WCDB DJ Luuk. The follow-up to that album is going to be named Love Letters and is scheduled to come out on March 10 according to their website.
Modest Mouse
 
Isaac Brock did decide to name his label Glacial Pace for a reason, though even with that in mind it’s difficult to imagine 2014 passing without hearing the new Modest Mouse album. They’ve been testing out new songs at their live shows for about the past year now, including songs being played at major festival shows, and it was well reported that they went into the studio with Big Boi of all people back in 2011 to work on new songs. I’m excited obviously as this is my favorite band, but it’s also going to be really interesting to see what a Modest Mouse album sounds like when Brock takes five years to actually put the thing together. It’s hard to imagine a potential product that has a lot of holes in it.

mountaingoats

The Mountain Goats
 
‘Due’ is a funny word to use hear because we just heard from this album in 2012 with Transcendental Youth, but John Darnielle’s history shows that this band has never had a three year gap between albums. They’re one of those bands who excel by working and writing constantly, and because of this we may very well be treated to their next album in the upcoming year.
The New Pornographers
 
This Canadian super-group is the most consistent modern pop group out there in my opinion, and they’ve been in the studio to record new material in the middle of last year. That article seems to suggest that the album may already be done, and I’m not sure about the validity of that statement, but I would place a monetary bet on the fact that there will be a new New Pornographers LP out  within the next year.
The Pains of Being Pure at Heart
 
It’s not speculation to say that they plan on releasing an album in 2014, but it is speculation to say that I think it will end up being one of the defining albums of the year. The band has had an absolutely stellar first two albums in S/T and Belong, and the timing seems right for this band to step into the spotlight.

the Raveonettes

The Raveonettes
 
No news on a new album by this group, but ‘an album every two years’ seems to be a relevant statement with this band’s discography, and their last release was in 2012 with Observator.
Real Estate
 
The band announced via Youtube videos (#1 and #2) that their third studio album will be released in 2014. I’m excited for it because I enjoyed Days a lot in 2011 and find their music to be relaxing, but this album should mean something significant about how legitimate of an artist the group is. Third releases mean a lot, and we’ll see if the band has progressed the sound for their third release or not rather soon it appears.
Robert Pollard
 
See: Guided By Voices
Ryan Adams
Ryan Adams
 
His Wikipedia page states that he did a live show in 2013 where the venue stated he was playing new songs from his forthcoming album, so that’s what we have to work with here. It makes sense since his last album release came out in 2011, and it’s the better alternative to just drifting out of music which it seemed like he may have been heading towards before I heard this news, so this is a good thing.
Spoon
 
You talk about ‘cool’ bands in the music scene, I will contend that Britt Daniel is the coolest man in the music scene, and I can not freaking wait to hear the next album by this band which will supposedly get released in 2014. The band has been very consistent with their quality so I’m liking the chances of Spoon putting out one of the better albums of the year once it does actually get released.
Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks
 
Wig Out at Jagbags is set to be released on January 7 2014, thus making it the earliest release to be excited about that I’m aware of. Malkmus is a terrific front-man, and if they consistently give hysterical social commentary like they did on “Senator” off of Mirror Traffic in 2011 then I will be one happy man.
Sufjan Stevens
Sufjan Stevens
 
The time seems right to start hoping for a new release from Sufjan. He did release his second Christmas Songs box set in 2012 with Silver & Gold: Vols. 6-10 but the last true album which we’ve received from him was the widely experimental and interesting Age of Adz back in 2010. It should be very interesting to hear what direction Stevens chooses to take for his next album as the last one was so unprecedented that it’s difficult to know if it is a permanent sound shift or an artistic experiment in the same way that Arcade Fire’s Reflektor is making me ask the same question about that band. Guess we’ll just have to wait to find out in both cases.
Tame Impala
 
The band’s got a lot of attention on it after the success of Lonerism in 2012, so if 2014 does hold the follow-up to that album then there will be a lot of coverage on Tame Impala in the upcoming year. For most band’s that rise to national recognition is a wonderful thing and justification for the effort, but I’ve got to speculate on how well they would handle the actual role considering the recurring song themes, and even the actual album name of their last release. A band that has the talent to be a premiere group, but a band who likely don’t feel comfortable with the modern social demand that fans give to their favorite artists, and the truth is that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that if that’s how they prefer to work.
Titus Andronicus
 
A motivated Patrick Stickles is a wonderful thing to hear as The Monitor has shown us, and the upcoming release is getting billed as a 30-track modern rock opera with the theme of Manic Depression. In other words, this release is probably going to be mind-blowingly good while also being completely different from anything else that they’ve released before. There’s a lot of reason for excitement about this release.

Wilco

Wilco
 
No announcement of studio work for the group, but that doesn’t seem all that strange since Tweedy does all of that stuff internally now anyways. The last time we got a Wilco album was the solid The Whole Love back in 2011 so it would make sense to hope that 2014 will be the landing point for studio album number nine from the group.
Anybody else? Likely. Realize that while it’s incredibly fun to speculate on what albums are going to define the upcoming year, it’s a difficult thing to be completely accurate on because years will often get best represented by albums which nobody saw coming. Still, these are all releases which are going to demand a listen from me and carry the hope that 2014 could be an excellent year for music where many talented artists are due for their latest release.

WCDB Secret Santa

How do you run a Secret Santa at a radio station where we’re all tight on money? Easy, make it a musical Secret Santa, where everybody gets entered into a pool and randomly gets assigned to make a suggestion for what a fellow WCDB’er might like to listen to. Check out all the recommendations below!

For Kyle -

Speedy Ortiz–I just started listening to them myself but I’ve been digging it and wanting to share it, and if you end up liking it then i would also recommend Waxahatchee if you don’t already know her. Speedy Ortiz has female vocals and kind of a hazy indie rock sound, the album that just came out is good: Major Arcana, tracks I would start with are “No Below”, “Tiger Tank”, “Hitch”, but basically the whole album is pretty cool.

For Ted -

My suggestions for the secret Santa are wye oak- dogs eye and Mac Demarco- ode to victory

For Noah-

It’s a band called Lust for Youth. And I recommend listening to the newest LP NIGHT SINS- To London or the Lake

For DJ Kim Kelly-

I’m giving Chrissy Keaton Henson. Specific tracks: “Beekeeper”, “Lying to You”, “Kronos”, “Don’t Swim”, “In The Morning”, and “Sarah Minor”

For The Finch-

Celebration – The Modern Tribe

Celebration is more on the psychedalic side of indie rock from 2007, and this album is awesome from front to back.  Singer’s voice is somewhat androgenous and strange, which I hope Meg will dig based on her love of Panic! At the Disco. Upbeat pop melodies interspersed with some catchy horn lines and fuzzed guitars, really cool stuff!

Tracks:  “Tame the Savage”, “In This Land”, “Wild Cats”

For dJ bANANAS iN pAJAMAS-

Band: Voxtrot (Raised by Wolves EP to start, the track, “The Start of Something” has a very Smithsy/Strokesy feel.)

Track: “Water Me” by FKA Twigs. Cool electronic jam that I have loved recently, and don’t think most people have gotten into.

For DJ Milky-

1) Magazine – The Correct Use of Soap

2) The Soft Boys – Underwater Moonlight

3) The Woodentops – Giant

4) Martha & the Muffins – Metro Music

5) Haircut One Hundred – Pelican West

*all available on grooveshark.com Merry Christmas

For DJ Riggs Linus-

I’ve decided to give Brian Bev a song by Vega. It’s the project Neon Indian had before Neon Indian. I hope he already has not heard it. I also hope he doesn’t hate it. He can return it if he wants.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqJ2d_mSDPM

For DJ Gabzilla-

Cocteua Twins, start with “Heaven or Las Vegas”

Cold cave start with “Catacombs”

The replacements start with “bastards of young”

For Andy-

http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Flume+Deluxe+Edition/9377955

I think Andy would enjoy this.

 Recommended tracks: “Stay Close”, “Holdin’ On”, “Change”, “Space Cadet”, “Sleepless”.

For John Gentile-

“Mystery Skulls – EP” While Mystery Skulls has a few songs on Spotify, their best material can be found on their EP, which is found on their bandcamp. Electronic in the sense that it has some funky, different beats, Mystery Skulls also has some alt rock blends in it that is all too reminiscent of a darker Passion Pit, especially with such humble beginnings. I’d recommend the EP above all else, which you can download for the cost of a dollar (or possibly less) online. A great band that deserves some play. Check them out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mSBjAcBQIg

For DJ Eric-

Hello. I don’t really know you well but I creeped your DJ playlists. I noticed you play a lot of current, popular mainstream indie rock music (Indie Rock 101, as I like to call it). I was going to recommend you lots of more obscure things to listen to, but I had no idea where to even begin. I did also notice that you haven’t really played anything that was released before the year 2000, save for one Elliot Smith song and one Echo & the Bunnymen song – so here is a short list of essential albums that came out in the 80s and 90s, and some RIYL’s based on artists you’ve played, for your xmas listening pleasure. Apologies if there’s any band on here that you’ve heard already, I’m recommending solely based what the wcdb.org archive tells me you’ve never played before.

Cocteau Twins- “Heaven or Las Vegas” (4AD, 1990). Tracks: “Iceblink Luck”, “Heaven or Las Vegas”, “Cherry-Coloured Funk”. RIYL: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

New Order – “Substance” (this is a singles / ‘greatest hits’ album) – (Factory Records, 1987). Tracks “Bizarre Love Triangle”, “Ceremony”, “Blue Monday” RIYL: Metric, (new) Arcade Fire, The Postal Service

The Pixies – Dootlittle (4AD, 1989). Tracks: “Debaser”, “Wave of Mutilation”, “Monkey Gone to Heaven” RIYL: Best Coast, Metric

Guided by Voices – Bee Thousand (Scat Records, 1994). Tracks: “I Am A Scientist”, “Tractor Rape Chain”, “Echos Myron” RIYL: Neutral Milk Hotel, Modest Mouse

Jawbreaker – “Dear You” (DGC Records, 1995). Tracks: “Bad Scene, Everyone’s Fault”, “Accident Prone” RIYL: Brand New, The Front Bottoms

For Luuk-

the band: White Denim

tracks: “At Night in Dreams”, “Pretty Green”, “Drug”

For Liv-

Artist: Alex Winston

First track I heard by her: “Sister Wife” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzObsfboaJ0)

Personal Favorite track off the album King Con: “Choice Notes” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNT_KGweANU)

And an awesome version of “Locomotive”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKt7hiE-xvc

Artist: Bear Hands

Listen to

1) Crime Pays (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=97W_mgA8Ytg)

2) What a Drag (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FtUrU5Csevk)

3) Tablasaurus (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zd6WUL111Po)

For Enzo-

Enzypeny,

Ho ho ho, bro. Santa recently got a better Internet connection at the North Pole, and he has been listening to your show every week! Santa likes your show, and noticed that you’re into a lot of British stuff. Well, Santa also has a major hard on for British music, so here are three different artist recommendations… From me! F***ING SANTA!

1. The Young Knives.

The album Voices of Animals and Men is one of the absolute best albums to come out of England. It’s not as popular because it came out in 2006, when bands like the Futureheads, the Enemy, and the Babyshambles had already captivated the British folks. Santa argues however that this is a quintessential album that perfectly embodies the British music scene from 2004-2008.

Stand outs on the album are

- “Another Hollow Line”: a great sentimental song about how all women are just a waste of time.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LPEqD_18fE

- “She’s Attracted To”: a song about meeting your girlfriend’s shitty parents.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fulTIh3toMQ

- “Here Comes the Rumour Mill”: a song about how rumours (yes, santa is purposely using the British spelling) are annoying.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDX_–a9XDI

After this album the Young Knives inexplicably lost a lot of their spunk. It’s a damn shame.

2. Art Brut

Very similar style to the Young Knives. This is another band that never really lived up to the expectations after their first album (even though their later releases are still very good). They have a fun, ‘cheeky’ style, and the lyrics are very enjoyable. Pitchfork praised these guys as the second coming of Christ in 2004 when they released Bang Bang Rock & Roll, and that album still holds up today. It’s definitely worth a listen.

Standout tracks by Art Brut are:

- “Bang Bang Rock and Roll”: “I CAN’T STAND THE SOUND OF THE VELVET UNDERGROUND”. A great energetic and satirical song about the state of rock and roll.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wFXhxhZxKY

- “Emily Kane”: a fun song about that one girl that got away.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvA0UBesfbY

- “People in Love”: this is Santa’s favorite breakup song of all time. Off Art Brut’s second album It’s a Bit Complicated this song has a very refreshing and pragmatic take on break ups. Listen to it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBxu939PoVI

3. The 1990s

Another fun little band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously, this time from the year 2007. The 1990s are notoriously hard to google, and the lead singer is quite… Ugly. However, their debut album Cookies is a masterpiece filled with upbeat songs and lots of references to drugs. Santa believes that the 1990s are also very under appreciated.

Standout tracks:

- “You’re Supposed to Be My Friend”: Have you ever had that one annoying friend, who’s a notorious flake and never hangs out with you? This song is about that guy/girl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zh4Y3MW1jwI

- “See You at the Lights”: this song will instantaneously make you sing along. It’s catchy, it’s happy, it’s just an all around good time!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EURfmrWJcPY

- “Cult Status”: I won’t ruin the surprise, but around the 3 minute mark you will probably laugh very hard. It’s also musically a solid little symphony

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc2lnf25eSo

Hopefully you enjoyed reading all this! Santa rather enjoyed writing it, as he takes any opportunity to ramble endlessly about British rock, while making lots of sweeping generalizations! Anyway….

MEEEEEERRRRYYYYYY CHRIIIIISMASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

For Robby Red-

Roses are red,

And so is Robby.

That is all that matters.

Merry Christmas fgt.

CRMNL HYGNE LP by Criminal Hygiene.

Its a free download at: http://criminalhygiene.bandcamp.com/album/crmnl-hygne-lp-2

I recommend the tracks “Rearrange”, “Blak Water”, “Dirty Knees”, “Summertime in October”, “Alan I’m in Love”, and “Andrew’s Song”.

For Zsa Zsa Couture-

Jets to Brazil- Perfecting Loneliness

For Cassie-

Based on your radio show, I feel like you like (maybe funky) electronic-influenced indie music. My first recommendation for you is one of my favorite acts – Blood Orange. They have a new album (2013) but their older stuff is gold. I recommend the song “Sutphin Boulevard.” Also, on the off-chance that you are familiar with them (him) already, I highly recommend Cold Cave. It doesn’t seem exactly like your cup of tea but I can see you digging them – try the song “Catacombs.”

For Nicole-

Heavens – Patent Pending

For FatMan-

The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Kidnap Kid, and C2C

For Mike-

To Campana,

You are like Yoda while I am Jabba the Hut. What celestial sounds could I possibly grace your ears with? You are so all knowing while I am a fat trapezoid. I can’t help but think that you have most musical gift so I thought long and hard (~20min) to find some artists that might suit your fat suit. So, here are a few gifts that I managed to secrete from my oozy crevices:

-Bohan Pheonix – http://bohanphoenix.com/

-Chewing on Tinfoil – http://chewingontinfoil.bandcamp.com/

-Calls – http://calls.bandcamp.com/album/booster-pack

-Dark Horse – http://www.darkhorsesmusic.com/

-Whitehorse – http://www.last.fm/music/Whitehorse/The+Fate+of+the+World+Depends+on+This+Kiss

-dEUS – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9OILKwaFNA

They are not in any particular order. Enjoy or eat coal.

~Santa

For DJ Hillary Clinton-

First off I’ll say Sleater-Kinney since you haven’t played them yet this year and they’re a classic all-female punk rock band; suggested tracks: “One More Hour”, “I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone”, “Turn It On”
Next I’d say Dinosaur Jr. since they fit the description of guitar-dominated rock very well and helped to define the alternative rock scene; suggested tracks: “Freak Scene”, “Kracked”, “Don’t Pretend You Didn’t Know”

More of a shot in the dark to give something more current: Dananananaykroyd. They’re an inconsistent listen and they’ve already packed it up after releasing two albums, but they have some awesome singles mixed in; suggested tracks: “Infinity Milk”, “Black Wax”, “Song One Puzzle”

And for the sake of a change of pace, early Black Keys. Pre-Brothers they were one of the best modern blues-rock bands you could find; suggested tracks: “Meet Me in the City”, “Things Ain’t Like They Used to Be”, “She Said, She Said (Beatles Cover)”

For Nora-

For Nora the nicest grimey lady I know.

The Art of Sleeping – Shoulders

Thelma Plum – Rosie EP; “Around Here”, “Father Said”

Loon Lake – Gloamer; “Carolina”, “Cherry Lip”

Tapes N’ Tapes – Outside; “Badaboom”

Bored Nothing -Bored Nothing; “Popcorn”

The Rubens- The Rubens; “Lay It Down”,”Don’t Ever Want To Be Found”

Have an amazing time in Pana gurllll

The Full Picture: Modest Mouse

This is the first edition of a new series of posts here on Airwaves. In ‘The Full Picture’ we will look over a notable alternative artist’s entire discography and note how the sound evolved from album to album, as well as pointing out each album’s best tracks using the magical powers of hindsight. The perfect starting point for me with this is to cover my favorite artist out there: Modest Mouse. All the EPs and every album (just not the two cassette tapes from 1993), starting off with…

Modest Mouse- "Blue-Cadet 3 Do You Connect?" (1994)
Modest Mouse- “Blue-Cadet 3 Do You Connect?” (1994)

The first release for the band is an EP in 1994 named after the title track “Blue Cadet 3-Do You Connect?” and it packs five songs into 7 minutes and 34 seconds including a minute long intro for “It Always Rains on A Picnic“. On this first EP Modest Mouse is incredibly depressing in it’s song topics already, with the aforementioned title track existing as a question to a man lost in space being followed by 30 seconds of silence. The ending track “5-4-3-2-1 Lipsoff” is a thirty second track where we get Brock giving social commentary for the first time, as he makes jokes in the background and references his own lisp before ending the EP with the most profound statement on the album “Whatcha want, whadayou want from outer space?”. Overall some of the best qualities of Modest Mouse are present on this release, but the band wasn’t able to really write a full song at this point.

Track Picks: “Dukes Up

Modest Mouse- "This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About" (1996)
Modest Mouse- “This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About” (1996)

It’s hard to fathom what a gigantic step forward the band took with this release, and the progression is obvious the second that you hear the opening guitar on “Dramamine”. No wasted time, some anger, and a decisive message in the music. You get to hear Brock get pissed off on this album through tracks like “Breakthrough” and his f*** you message to the people fleeing Washington to California, “Beach Side Property” (really one of two on the album along with “Head South“). Another really interesting thing which develops on “Beach Side Property” is how the rocking track where Brock opens with a loud, throaty scream, suddenly slows down and turns into Brock incorporating a religious metaphor into the song. This album is the first time that the band incorporated the religious theme into their music and it proved to be a topic where Brock was very good at displaying his viewpoints. Another huge difference between this was how Modest Mouse jammed, as they’re only one on Blue Cadet-3 was on “It Always Rains on a Picnic” which was noticeable more mellow. On This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About (TIALD from here on out) the more rock oriented jams show up to establish Modest Mouse as what they truly were, a 90s alternative rock group who was capable of morphing their sound into the other genres as well. 

Track Picks: Edit the Sad Parts, Dramamine, Beach Side Property

Modest Mouse- "Interstate Eight" (1996)
Modest Mouse- “Interstate 8″ (1996)

Modest Mouse’s second EP released is what they’re demo tape was, and it contains some great Modest Mouse songs on it like “Edit the Sad Parts”, “Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In (Positive/Negative)” and “Broke“. Still, I’m not going to go into this EP because all of the songs found their way into another album where they are better known and more easily identified, and this EP is viewed nowadays as more of a collector’s item than anything else.

Continue reading The Full Picture: Modest Mouse

Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 10-1

Here’s the finale: songs ten through one on my 100 favorite songs countdown.

10. Bob Dylan- Don’t Think Twice, it’s Alright

I ain’t sayin’ you treated me unkind/ You coulda done better, but, I don’t mind/ You just kinda wasted my precious time/ But don’t think twice, it’s all right.

I adore Dylan as an influence, how could you not when so many of your favorite artists view him as an inspiration, but there’s only one song of his which actually stops me in my tracks. “Don’t Think Twice, it’s Alright” captures Dylan telling his girl that he’s leaving, and that he is doing it because of her. It’s the chance of getting hurt in the relationship that scares everyone, and Dylan goes through a bad one here where the girl “Just wasted [his] precious time”, and Dylan blames her for it because she didn’t do enough to try and make it work. Still, he makes sure to let her know that she doesn’t need to worry about what she’s done to him, because this is a risk that he knew about going in. He’s going to be able to get over this. There’s no desire to see her again, and he knows that she never really had the intention of hurting him in the first place, it just didn’t work out, and that’s alright.

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9. The Velvet Underground- Heroin

“Oh, and I guess that I just don’t know.

This list was made before the death of Lou Reed, but it’s difficult to not take that route while writing about it now. When Reed passed I had to learn about it through social media posts which took an overly symbolic approach to the subject, and as people re-explored his catalog they searched for the lyrics which suddenly looked more meaningful than previously thought. It’s cool that people found these connections, but I hated it because that overly-symbolic look wasn’t what Reed was about at all in my eyes. This wasn’t the man who tried to hide anything in his music, he was the guy who’d actually done it and wanted to let you how what it was. On “Heroin” we get a look at the the hope in the music alongside the gradual buildup and rush of the instruments which ultimately leads to the song’s ‘high’, but it never fails to fall back with what is in my opinion the best lyric that Reed ever wrote: “And I guess, that I just don’t know”.

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8. Animal Collective- Fireworks

“They’ve got two flashing eyes and they’re colored why/ They make me, feel, that I’m only all I see sometimes.”

There’s so much joy in “Fireworks” once you learn what to appreciate in it. The narrator is an observant and self-aware man who dreams one day of having a family he can take to the beach, to watch the fireworks. In his current life though he’s dealing with the same monotony as the rest of us and  he’s learned the routine of how to ignore the repeated questions and tasks he encounters every day. Instead he gets lost in thought about what he hopes for, he thinks about what his kid will think the first time that he sees the fireworks, and all the wonder that will be in his eyes at that point. But what if the child was color blind and just wasn’t able to comprehend what he witnessed? This view on experiential learning reminds him that what he views in the world is completely shaped by how he happened to view it when he was growing up, and leads him to think that “I’m only all I see sometimes”.

Continue reading Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 10-1

Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 20-11

Here are numbers 20-11 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.

20. Daniel Johnston- True Love Will Find You in the End

But how can it recognize you unless you step out into the light, the light?

Daniel Johnston is a difficult musician to familiarize yourself with because, in honesty, there is a lot of bad music in his discography. The reason why he’s important is that Johnston, the manic depressive and schizophrenic, has moments in his music which reach absolute beauty. “True Love Will Find You in the End” is a song which begs it’s listener to not give up the belief that you will find the one…eventually. It’s a song to represent the hope that if you stay open and yourself for long enough, one day luck will turn your way and you’ll find the perfect person for you; and that’s the point of everything. You can build up barriers and try to send off a false message, but if you continue to be yourself and look for love then it will find you in the end. “True love is searching too, but how can it recognize you unless you step out into the light”? It’s a discouraging quest (“Don’t be sad, I know you will”), but he believes in the promise of the reward.

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19. Bright Eyes- A Song to Pass the Time

“Now I have locked my actions in the grooves of routine/ So I may never be free of this apathy/ But I wait for a letter that is coming to me/ She sends me pictures of the ocean in an envelope

It’s not a part of “A Song to Pass the Time”, but the interview that precedes this song at the end of “An Attempt to Tip The Scales” is a very good introduction to this track. “A Song to Pass The Time” is told in a manner similar to what Dylan would do, in that they wrote down their observations and described real human interactions rather then trying to conjure a story with a point in mind. The difference between Dylan and Oberst is that while Dylan would say what was there due to his confidence and experience, the younger and depressed Oberst seems to focus on what he thinks is missing. Why does he love the mexican children kicking rocks in the street? Why are all the businessmen and suburban mothers so emotionless and repetitive? Why isn’t my desperation to stay close to the people who I’ve formed a close relationship with shared? I love the verse above because it shows Oberst’s hope that at some point love will just save him from all of this, and she’ll be able to help him understand everything that tortured him before.

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18. The Postal Service- We Will Become Silhouettes

“We become silhouettes when our bodies finally go.”

I love tragic songs that sound happy, and “We Will Become Silhouettes” is the poster boy for that category. Death is still a certainty, in fact it seems to tell the story of an explosion which will is going to kill us all, but it’s become a celebration because that’s when our bodies will finally become silhouettes! We shall become immortalized once “our shells simply cannot hold all our insides in and [then] explode”. Tamborello’s music is cheerful and stuffed with simple, melodic rhythms to represent the joy of the song in it’s own beautiful way, only one example of how well these two worked together on the album.

Continue reading Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 20-11

Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 30-21

Here are numbers 30-21 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.

30. Sufjan Stevens- Casimir Pulaski Day

All the glory that the Lord has made/ And the complications when I see His face/ In the evening in the window.

There is a fantastic breakdown of this song right here. Stevens makes it the most genuine and sad song that he’s ever made in my opinion, and the storyline proves to be absolutely tragic. Death takes on a whole new level of sadness when it takes the life of a young girl, and this song shows the scene unfurl from the perspective of a young boy who was experiencing his first love with her. The sadness hits everyone, and it makes what was once a devout christian boy question why a good christian girl hasn’t started to feel better yet, and he fully loses his faith once he realizes that she’s actually dead and looks for God for an explanation only to see his own reflection. Now for every year there will be a chance for the entire city to remember the girl that he lost tragically, but nobody will be aware of it’s significance as anything more than Casimir Pulaski Day with the exception of the narrator.

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29. Guided By Voices- Tractor Rape Chain

“Parallel lines on a slow decline/ Tractor rape chain.

“Tractor Rape Chain” is a song about a relationship, and it’s failures which are never going to end. The opening stanza shows that the couple can’t even trust each other anymore when they communicate, but they know that they’re still destined to spend the rest of their lives together. The song then moves into the bedroom of the couple where the husband struggles with the notion of divorce, but it’s something that he refuses to even consider, represented by a “ghost in [my] room and he says [he] better run”. The narrator can see the ghost, he can hear the ghost, but his entire life he’s told people he doesn’t believe in ghosts, so he just pleads for it to go away. Let him continue as his part of the “parallel lines on a slow decline” until his death arrives.

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28. Okkervil River- Black

“You should wreck his life the way that he wrecked yours/ You want no part of his life anymore.”

Another incredibly sad plot line here as the narrator’s currently in a relationship with a girl who just revealed to him that something awful happened in her past (“Amy in the White Coat” style awful). Her father destroyed her life, and he didn’t get any repercussions for this. In fact he left to move on to a new wife, a new kid, and a new life where he trashes his old kid at any chance he gets (“You should say his name the way that he says yours”). The narrator gets furious at this story and what this man has done to her, and tells her that he’s going to rip this guy’s throat out, that he’s going to go to his new family and destroy his life by telling them what he’s done, but she tells him not to. In order to ruin his life she’d have to acknowledge him again, and she’s rather just have “no part of his life anymore”.

Continue reading Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 30-21

I Don’t Like Receiving Song Requests

strfkrRegardless of where music is being played, there’s usually a good amount of people prepared to suggest which song should be played next. This can be a fun communal process where everyone gets to learn a little bit about the other music tastes in the room and possibly get introduced to great new artists, but in my experience that’s a pretty rare happening unfortunately. That’s not to say that everybody has bad tastes in music, because most people I end up hanging out with have awesome music tastes, but whenever somebody takes over the next track it’s usually because a song’s been stuck in there head and they need the relief of it being played. I’ve been there too, this weekend I played STRFKR’s “Pop Song” at a friend’s house, not because it fit in with the set list or mood of the party but just because I wanted to change the music to a sound that I thought was more fitting for the environment.

I stand by the fact that it was a good song choice for people hanging out to listen to, but the fact of the matter is that it’s not a fair mentality to carry to attempt to change the sound of the room to whatever you want to hear. For one it’s a selfish act since not everybody there is going to like what you will, and it leads to the problem of everybody trying to get priority on the next track choice so that they can change the sound of the room yet again. What this leads to is a playlist full of awkwardly arranged songs that don’t really go together but were selected for individualized purposes, or a sound that’s disjointed and therefore not pleasant.

This is actually not that big of a problem at parties because the music should be primarily in the background anyway and no one really ends up minding to much if the music isn’t fantastic (though I love gatherings where it is), but the problem actually can carry over into radio shows too. Sometimes we’ll get awesome requests of what to play, for example: I was playing a ton of 90’s rock on my show one day and as I was playing an early Modest Mouse track I got a request to play Built To Spill. Two artists that have very comparable sounds and can segue into each other pretty damn easily, and a song request to help me because I’m still not nearly as familiar with Built to Spill as I should be (which sucks because I know that I am going to love them some day). If there’s a request which lets me know a track that fits into my set really well, especially for an artist which I don’t play to often, then that is extremely appreciated and one of my favorite parts about making radio shows. That’s not usually the case though, as most song requests I’ve seen are closer to the previous mindset where somebody just had a song stuck in their head and wanted that song to get played on the radio. It doesn’t matter what was playing, and that mindset drives me nuts as someone who always pre-plans what I’m going to play on the radio.

 

If I still do decide to play the song then it becomes a challenge of how to actually work my way back to what I was doing before, usually solved by an awkwardly placed PSA (thanks FCC) and a quick re-introduction to what was going on before. I think most people actually feel the same way about this, but the mindset is a bit funny because there’s a mentality out there that DJs love receiving song requests. That’s not really true though, I only like them if they fit.

Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 50-41

Here are numbers 50-41 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.

50. Animal Collective- The Purple Bottle

“Sometimes your quiet and/ Sometimes I’m quiet/ Hallelujah!”

This one can interpreted two ways. For one, it’s an absolutely gorgeous song about falling in love with someone and having everything seem to be magically right. It’s the idealism which Animal Collective specializes in focused on David Portner(Avey Tare)’s relationship with Kría Brekkan, and it captures the absolute joy of believing you have found the perfect person. I like to view the song this way because even if songs last the test of time, their ultimate context has to be viewed in terms of when the song was originally released. I say this because Portner and Brekkan ended up having a divorce, which could change your perception from this being one of the most beautiful love songs out there into an absolutely tragic piece about what was lost. This is one of few songs that I choose to take the optimistic route on though, and I always smile when “The Purple Bottle” comes on.

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49. The Beatles- She Said She Said

“I know what it’s like to be dead

I came so damn close to becoming one of those guys who stopped listening to the Beatles once he listened to alternative music, but “She Said She Said” saved me. Someone who approached John Lennon started to talk to him about the nonsense in their mind where he had a picture for what Lennon must be based upon how his music had effected his life, and Lennon had to let him know that he wasn’t that person. It’s such a quick and standard Beatles song but I adore it because of the feeling of obligation to tell people that you’re not the person they think you are upon introduction, and because Revolver is really an early influential album for the alternative rock scene.

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48. Neutral Milk Hotel- Two Headed Boy (Part Two)

“When we break we’ll wait for our miracle/ God is a place you will wait for the rest of your life.”

My love for Neutral Milk Hotel is a bit awkward because Mangum is drastically more confident in religion than me . Mangum presents a perspective which shows that he not only believes in a god but that he’s confident that what that god does will be just, and thus the Two-Headed Boy will wake from this life to learn that he has been rewarded for the pain that he endured on the Earth, and that will last for the remainder of time. It’s not something I actually believe in, but hearing Mangum sing it is so beautiful that you find yourself praying for it to be true so there can be a happy ending, and because within that line of thinking a new possibility becomes available; Mangum meeting Anne Frank.

Continue reading Kyle’s Favorite 100 Songs: 50-41