Where can I find more stuff like Modest Mouse?
August 4, 2004 8:58 PM   Subscribe

OMG. Modest Mouse is damn good. Where can I get more! MORE!

I snagged their latest albums from Bittorrent. I've been listening to them obsessively. The more I listen, the more I hear. The music is layered, there's shit happening in the background, there are variations in tempo and harmony simultaneously, there are several simultaneous syncopation patterns. The lyrics are poetical:
The moths beat themselves to death against the lights.
Adding their breeze to the summer nights.
And they tell stories, and they are multi-stanza.

It has been a long time since I encountered music as intriguing as this. Some of Phish, yah, Grateful Dead, Pink Floyd, Laurie Anderson, Jane Siberry... lots of stuff that's years and decades old.

For the first time in years I actually want to pay the artists. In fact, I'll very likely overrule my hostility towards the arseholes who are going to take 18 of my dollars and give the remaining pennies to the artists.

Anyway, I want more. What other artists should I be looking for? This kind of musical excitement continues for me, and I will become a happily paying music consumer once more!
posted by five fresh fish to Media & Arts (39 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For whatever reason there is a strong correllation between people who like Modest Mouse and people who like Built to Spill. Don't trust me, trust Gnod.

Sure enough, I learned about both bands from the same friend. No promises, but worth checking out if you're new to the Doug Martsch thing.
posted by scarabic at 9:04 PM on August 4, 2004

Response by poster: Add Tom Waites into that list of good ones. Kate Bush on a good day (her, not me), I think.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:14 PM on August 4, 2004

I am also a big fan. I'd definitely listen to their older albums "Lonesome Crowded West," "The Moon and Antarctica," "Building Nothing Out of Something" etc.), which I personally think are better than "Good News..." - Maybe also check out Neutral Milk Hotel's "Aeroplane Over the Sea," quite possibly my favorite album of all time.
posted by buddha9090 at 9:32 PM on August 4, 2004

I'd suggest a record store. There are websites that sell compact discs that contain music as well.
posted by eyeballkid at 9:40 PM on August 4, 2004

I love me some Mouse. I also dig Belle and Sebastian, Built to Spill, Sufjan Stevens, The Magnetic Fields, Death Cab for Cutie, Neutral Milk Hotel, Cowboy Junkies, Rilo Kiley, The Faint and The Unicorns as of late.

posted by amandaudoff at 9:41 PM on August 4, 2004

If you weren't named after a Tom Waits song, eyeballkid, I'd tell you to go stick yourself in the cold cold ground.

I'll second anadaufoff's suggestions, as well as Waits. The first Mouse album I heard was Lonsesome Crowded West. It's wonderful, if you haven't got around to it yet.
posted by scarabic at 9:48 PM on August 4, 2004

Be aware that the earlier stuff has a stronger feeling of melancholy and madness to it.. in fact, as I understand it, madness had a role in creating Moon and Antarctica. Not that it ever stopped other bands (Pink Floyd) or listeners.
posted by weston at 9:53 PM on August 4, 2004

Tiny Cities Made of Ashes. Love it.
posted by gramcracker at 10:00 PM on August 4, 2004

I'd suggest a record store. There are websites that sell compact discs that contain music as well.

I second this.
posted by Stynxno at 10:03 PM on August 4, 2004

You could just move to Athens, GA and permanently claim a couch at the 40 Watt.

Is Elf Power still together?
posted by mischief at 10:11 PM on August 4, 2004

Try some Pavement.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 10:40 PM on August 4, 2004

Best answer: FFF, the last email I sent to my music list (which was way too fucking long ago) was an answer to someone's question: "What do you think are the best artists/albums of the past half decade or so." I put Modest Mouse (and Built to Spill and Pavement and some of the others people mentioned) on the list.

Here's the rest of it:

(Oh, and the lead singer also has a solo record released under the name Ugly Casanova. Not on my list but you might like it.)

Artist (recommended album)


My Morning Jacket (any of their full lengths)
Ass Ponys (Lohio or Some Stupd with Flair Gun)
Freakwater (Old Paint)
Lambchop (Is A Woman or anything but Nixon and their last double release)
The Handsome Family (In The Air)
Palace (Viva Last Blues)
Paul Burch (Wire to Wire)
Star Room Boys (Why Do Lonely Men...)

Rock / Blues / Alternative

Black Eyed Snakes (It's the...)
Black Heart Procession (One or Two)
The Black Keys (thickfreakness)
Blonde Redhead (Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons)
Bright Eyes (Lifted... (but skip the first track))
Built to Spill (Perfect from Now On or There's Nothing Wrong with Love)
Clinic (Internal Wrangler)
The Constantines (Self-titled or Sine A Light)
Cuff the Duke (Life Stories for Minimum Wage)
The Deadly Snakes
Pavement (Brighten the Corners or Wowee Zowee)
Detroit Cobras (Love, Life, and Leaving)
Girls Against Boys (Venus, Luxure #1 Baby)
Guided by Voices (Alien Lanes or Under the Bushes...)
Interpol (Turn on the Bright Lights)
Lift to Experience (texas Jerusalem crossroads)
Luna (Tigerlily)
McLusky (do dallas)
Mercury Rev (Deserter's Songs)
Migala (Arde)
Modest Mouse (Lonesome Crowded West or This is a Long Drive...)
Arcade Fire (no album release yet - see 'em live)
Magnetic Fields (69 love songs vol I)
The Rapture (Echoes)
Smog (Supper or Knock Knock or Dongs of Sevotion)

Quiet and/or Contemplative / Folkish

Low (Secret Name)
Bob Wiseman (Accidentally Acquired Beliefs)
Songs: Ohia (Didn't It Rain or just about anything, really)
Bonnie Prince Billy (I See a Darkness or Master and Everyone)
M. Ward (Transfiguration of Vincent)
Decemberists (Castaways and Cutouts)
Clem Snide (Soft Spot or Ghost of Fashion)
Damien Rice (0)
Iron & Wine (our endless numbered days)
Jim O'Rourke (Eureka)
Joel RL Phelps (Inland Empires)
Jolie Holland (Escondida)
Lhasa De Sela (you will like if you like T Waits - Living Road)
Mojave 3 (Out of Time)
Neutral Milk Hotel (In the Aeroplane Over the Sea)
Thalia Zedek (Been Here and Gone)

Loud as Fuck

LIARS (they threw us all in a trench and put a monument on top)
Bardo Pond (dilate)
Bellrays (Raw Collection)
Lightning Bolt (Wonderful Rainbow)
Blood Brothers
The Jesus Lizard (Liar)
Mogwai (Rock Action)
Oneida (see 'em live or get whatever Three Gut Records puts out)
Rockets Red Glare (self titled)
Shotmaker (complete discography)
Smog (Supper or Knock Knock or Dongs of Sevotion)
Tight Brothers from Way Back When (Lend You a Hand)


Masada (Alef or Live at Tonic)
Lounge Lizards (anything)
The 15 Volumes of Ethiopiques

Pop and Pure Pop

Herschel Savage and the American Flag (first album is the best pop record of the 90s, to my ears)
Archer Prewitt (Three)
Belle & Sebastian (If You're Feeling Sinister)
Kleenex Girl Wonder (Ponyoak)
The Minders (cul-de-sacs...)
Sean Na-Na (my majesty)

Electronica or Smooth

Mum (anything but the latest)
Bobby Birdman (Born Free Forever)
Electric Birds (Gradations)
Arab Strap (philophobia)
The Books (Thought for Food)
Kammerflimmer Kollectiev (cicadidae)
Lali Puna
New Wet Kojak (Do Things)


Dirty Three (Horse Stories)
Stars of the Lid (pretty much anything)
Do Make Say Think (Goodbye Enemy Airship...)
Explosions in the Sky (The Earth is Not a Cold Dark Place)
Gas (pop)

Hard to Classify

I Am Spoonbender (sender/receiver)
Velma (cyclique)
Gotan Project (la ravancha del tango)
Hochenkeit (400 boys)
Illy B (Drop the Needle)
Moondog (older than 5 years-anything)
Pony Da Look
Sweep the Leg Johnny (tomorrow we will run faster)


However, I gotta say I recommend a CD store or emusic.com once you've decided you're keen on something. I'm not a fan of unauthorized grabbing of full albums. Plenty of these artists have tracks on their official sites or their label's sites as well.
posted by dobbs at 10:44 PM on August 4, 2004 [2 favorites]

(Oh, and the lead singer also has a solo record released under the name Ugly Casanova. Not on my list but you might like it.)

By that I meant the Isaac Brock, lead singer of Modest Mouse.
posted by dobbs at 10:45 PM on August 4, 2004

Are you aware of Issac Brock's Ugly Cassinova side project? The album is called "Sharpen Your Teeth" and came out on Sub Pop in 2002. Great album.

Modest Mouse are a fairly unique listening experience if you ask me. I went through a MM obsession, and I can pick out a lot of influences here and there in their earlier albums (such as mid nineties emo - back when not the dirty word it is now) such as The Promise Ring or Joan of Arc (in particular). Four albums I would reccomend from those bands are
The Promise Ring 30 degrees Everywhere (MP3) and Nothing Feels Good (mp3)
Joan of Arc - A Portable Model Of (mp3) and How Memory Works (mp3)

I would also reccomend The Microphones album The Glow Pt 2 (mp3) and The Shins Chutes Too Narrow (mp3)

As for a band with amazing lyrics, my favorite band for that is "The Weakerthans" (mp3)
posted by Quartermass at 10:50 PM on August 4, 2004

damnit dobbs.... beat me to the punch while I was tracking down mp3s...
posted by Quartermass at 10:52 PM on August 4, 2004

heh. That's okay. I just noticed that that Shins record is not on my list. It should be, so you beat me to it. It's fantastic.
posted by dobbs at 10:55 PM on August 4, 2004

For sure. Like it a lot more than the first one.
posted by Quartermass at 10:56 PM on August 4, 2004

Wow, I think I'm the only person who doesn't love The Shins. St. Simon is good, but I just can't get into the rest of the CD. *shrug*

Also, I second Bright Eyes and would like to add the strangeness that is The Eels. Not really like MM, but definitely up there on the interesting lyrics scale...
posted by amandaudoff at 11:00 PM on August 4, 2004

amanda, I used to hate Shins. Saw them open, coincidentally enough, for Modest Mouse a few years back. They put on a good show and I bought their first record (Chutes is their third though everyone seems to think it's their second) at the show (yellow sleeved CD). It wasn't good at all and I eBay'd it. I didn't care for the second record at all and then when the new one came out I was shocked at how much I liked it. It was like Wilco's YHF to me (I hated all previous Wilco CDs. Hated hated.).

That's the end of my (currently I'm drunken) story.
posted by dobbs at 11:05 PM on August 4, 2004

Okkervil River, Shearwater, New Pornographers, Papas Fritas, the Mendoza Line, Superchunk and Portastatic.
posted by Vidiot at 11:53 PM on August 4, 2004

Hey, can anyone tell me about this new "Nirvana" band I've been hearing so much about?
posted by keswick at 12:01 AM on August 5, 2004

Dude, dobbs, you are such the listmaker. I always know I've stumbled upon one of your comments before I even get down to the "posted by" timestamp :)

Oh hey, FFF, this is a wildcard, but check out Tortoise. I like to recommend the album Standards for first timers. It's short and has more poppy moments than the others. If you like it, move on to TNT, and then Millions Now Living Will Never Die. How can you not love a band with album titles like that (and song titles like "In Sarah, Mencken, Christ and Beethoven There Were Women and Men.")?
posted by scarabic at 1:56 AM on August 5, 2004

Try poking around AudioScobbler. Modest Mouse is high on their charts. You'll be able to see at a glance what all the other Modest Mouse fans out there (including me) are listening to.
posted by aladfar at 2:15 AM on August 5, 2004

The missus made me a mix CD a few years back that had a healthy dallop of Modest Mouse mixed in with some Halo Benders. I liked the Halo Benders stuff (esp "Virginia Reels") that I bought the album. Twice.

So check them out too. I'm no indie maven, tho.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:13 AM on August 5, 2004

The Aeffect, Frou Frou, The Postal Service.
posted by ed\26h at 5:21 AM on August 5, 2004

I can't believe no one's mentioned the Flaming Lips - for trippy, intricate music with lyrics about life and death, they're right up there.

And FFF, note that many (most) of the bands mentioned above are on independent labels. So when you fork over your $18 at your local indie record store, your wad of cash goes down the food chain through a whole bunch of hardworking folks. Some of these may still be assholes, but you don't have to give any money to the RIAA to listen to good music. You could also go to see one of the above bands in person and buy stuff there - I believe a larger percent actually goes into their pockets.
posted by Gortuk at 5:33 AM on August 5, 2004

fff: did you make it to the Modest Mouse concert at Kool Haus last night? (you're in TO, right?)
I missed it too...

posted by nprigoda at 6:37 AM on August 5, 2004

damn... skipped right through preview without stopping... poo
posted by nprigoda at 6:38 AM on August 5, 2004

If you into Modest Mouse, you'd probably do yourself some good just looking through late 90s, early 2000's Emo. Deathcab for Cutie, Promise Ring, Rainer Maria, The Juliana Theory, The Dismemberment Plan, The Anniversary, old Get Up Kids, and Mates of State. Pretty much all of those bands out-class MM and have MP3s wandering around Epitonic.com, betterPropoganda.com, their own websites, or your local P2P/bittorrent site.
posted by lotsofno at 7:29 AM on August 5, 2004

I'd like to recommend Olivia Tremor Control's Black Foliage. Because it's awesome.
posted by kenko at 7:39 AM on August 5, 2004

The Dismemberment Plan emo? Surely not!
posted by kenko at 7:40 AM on August 5, 2004

I'd suggest a record store. There are websites that sell compact discs that contain music as well.

If you shop on-line, you might try some music stores that cater to indie rock.
(the reviews and new recommendations will probably be more in line with your tastes than a big generic store)

Insound is my favorite (and they have lots of sample MP3s to try out - I can spend hours there just listening to stuff, plus they have an internet radio feed that is pretty nice), also twee kitten or tonevendor.
posted by milovoo at 7:40 AM on August 5, 2004

I've always heard a lot of Talking Heads in Modest Mouse's music.
posted by hootch at 8:34 AM on August 5, 2004

You might try listening to some non-commerical radio streams and picking out stuff you like. I recommend:


SomaFM's indie station
posted by reishus at 8:55 AM on August 5, 2004

I love Modest Mouse, and I second the vote for the Decemberists. I'll add that if you miss their latest thing -- The Tain -- you are missing out. I can't even describe it. You must listen. Actually, you'll probably like a lot of the stuff offered up by Hush Records. Their web store has free mp3 samples.
posted by kittyb at 9:53 AM on August 5, 2004

The Dismemberment Plan emo? Surely not!

The City? The Ice of Boston EP?!?!??
posted by lotsofno at 10:35 AM on August 5, 2004

Response by poster: fff: did you make it to the Modest Mouse concert at Kool Haus last night? you're in TO, right?

Central BC, alas. And it doesn't look like the Mouse is coming anywhere near me this year.

Thanks for all the advice folks, and for going easy on the anti-piracy rants. I do end up purchasing the albums I listen to a lot. I will not purchase albums just at random on the hope that I'll like it.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:35 PM on August 5, 2004

Um... I agree with pretty much everyone here so far.

I don't know what to compare to Modest Mouse but almost everything named so far is good. Haven't seen anyone mention Ted Leo and the Pharmacists yet though. Hearts of Oak and The Tyranny of Distance are both fabulous rock-and-roll albums if you ask me.
posted by nath at 2:22 PM on August 5, 2004

You're in BC, right? Listen to Brave New Waves on CBC2. That's where I first heard Modest Mouse and whole lot more of the music I've come to love. Sometimes they'll have shows where they'll play mostly rap or electronica, but stick it out.
posted by picea at 3:17 PM on August 5, 2004

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