Friday, June 10, 2005


Modest Mouse- This Is A Long Drive For Someone With Nothing To Think About

I totally wanted to just have the review say ‘This is a long record for someone with nothing to say about it,’ but the truth of the matter is that I continue to be impressed by Modest Mouse, even if it’s cred death to admit such a thing. The band totally sounds good on the radio, for one thing- the Pixies reunion didn’t help a band more. The whole skewed notion of burying a pop song under layers of sound and obtuse angles is popular as hell, as evidenced by Black Francis (what the fuck is he calling himself nowadays? Black Francis? Frank Black? Dick Johnson? What?) and co. filling arenas on every stop of their tour. Modest Mouse has been a buzz band for a while, but I feel like the Pixies’ popularity finally convinced radio station peeps all over the country that such stuff was profitable, safe, and ready for airplay.

Having yr. debut being a double album takes some stones, to say nothing of chops, and M.M. has both- a wonderful pastiche of styles gleaned from every aspect of the pop underground. Bits of punk, hardcore, noise, folk, the whole bag of tricks is in full effect and remains engaging throughout. The only problem with the band is that they have stupid name- it’s hard to go ‘Yeah, I’m listening to Modest Mouse’ and sound tough. If they had names themselves like ‘Verbatim’ or something they would have gotten the ex-straightedge crossover crowd, the kids that you see in the line at the liquor store with the ‘X true for life X’ tats.

Mohinder- discography

By the time I saw a screamo band play live, it was 1997 and the original stable of bands was thinning. Fucking New Hampshire- took years for everything to make its way up there (I bet you Antioch Arrow or whoever has just been discovered by some kids in Manchester who think that Mudvayne is ‘crazy’). I had been listening to the records for a while, on the recommendation of some kids I chatted with on the internet, but that wasn’t the same.

Mohinder would’ve made more of an impact on me if I had seen ‘em, I’m sure- hell, the Huguenots will always have a place in my heart because for that very reason- but this shit is still wildly entertaining. True to anthology form, the first batch of songs depict a band that hasn’t quite jelled yet- fairly traditional sounding punk/core, with vocals that are a little bit more screechy than average. After that, though, the shit hits the fan, and it fucking rules-short, frenetic blasts of dismay that sound like another language the first couple of times you hear the stuff, like walking into a room where everyone’s speaking Dutch. Your ears get used to the screams, the drums that are playing at light speed around the beats, the basslines that threaten to squish yr. head like a boa constrictor, but it takes a few. Once you get it, though, the chaos becomes your friend and it’s easy to spazz out along with the band. Ride the snake.


Jon Howard used to be in this band called My Magnificent Machine before he was in Moment- M.M.M. played these songs that drew as much from like Louisville post-core as they did from Converge and Cave-In. That’s reviewspeak, of course, for ‘interesting parts and changes with little to no cohesion’. Still, though, there was potential there, even if the music itself was more than occasionally frustrating.

What an improvement Moment turned out to be. Soaring melodic punkcore featuring good, solid songwriting and lyrics that would make both Milo and any number of straightedge bands proud- thoughts of girls, natch, as well as people/bands who have failed/betrayed ‘the scene’. Lyrics are firmly on sleeve, primo stuff for the kids at shows to sing along to.


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