For those of you keeping track, yes, this is the third Modest Mouse article I have written in a row. If that may seem weird to you all, imagine how I feel. Little did I know 4 weeks ago, when I first reviewed “Lampshades on Fire” and “Coyotes”, that the band would release another single just two weeks later with “The Best Room”. With three singles out and only a few weeks left before the release of their album Strangers to Ourselves, I assumed the band would just ride it out and let those songs generate the hype they wanted. To my disbelief, just this past week I saw on my Facebook newsfeed that the band was set on having a surprise release of a song to reddit users on February 16th. For the sake of consistency, here’s my opinion on “The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box”.
Two weeks ago, I reviewed Modest Mouse’s two releases off of their upcoming album, Strangers to Ourselves, set to release on March 17th. This past week, the band dropped another single, “The Best Room”, giving more insight into the upcoming album to fans that have been waiting for nearly eight years. Like most bands that have found commercial success, Modest Mouse has polarized fans between their “pure” early works, and newer well-produced material. Whether you are looking for the Modest Mouse from recent albums like Good News For People Who Love Bad News (aka the album with “Float On”) and We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, or hoping they can incorporate more of their edgier sound from an album like The Lonesome Crowded West, these singles are much needed messages from a band who has not been responding back for far too long.
Over the past month, Modest Mouse has released two singles off of their highly anticipated upcoming album, Strangers to Ourselves. It has been nearly eight years since the release of their last album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which was either Modest Mouse’s best album or worse album depending on who you ask. Naturally, there was a lot of excitement and anxiety over the direction Modest Mouse would take with this next album, which warrants us to take a closer look at the releases.
The Billboard Hot 100 is a weekly chart that draws from a variety of factors to evaluate the most popular songs in America. Obviously for many listeners this kind of evaluation for the quality of a song is wholly unreliable because what usually makes a song accessible to millions of listeners also makes it highly derivative, uninteresting, etc. However, we should be careful not to discredit a song simply because it is accessible and achieved mainstream success, and in honor of that I have compiled a list of 10 songs released in 2014 that have all appeared on the Billboard Hot 100 that stood out amongst their peers on the lists (in no order).
Most likely many readers are already familiar with the famed “feud” between Sun Kil Moon frontman Mark Kozelek and the indie-rock band War On Drugs. For the most part, the exchange between the two groups has been grossly over-scrutinized, with no shortage of music websites and blogs commenting on this issue. The overall vibe appears to be that some people do not find any kind of humor in Kozelek’s attack and see him as an immature jerk, or people that believe that he is simply tired of how media loves to sensationalize things out of context for the sake of a story. As demonstrated from the lyricism in Sun Kil Moon’s Benji, Kozelek has no problem in painting surprisingly honest, introspective, and strikingly vivid images of what is going on in his mind, so something about hoping the War On Drugs “don’t have lice”, and other uncharacteristically juvenile lyrics in his songs about the War On Drugs make it clear that Kozelek’s original intentions in this “conflict” were not to bring about the demise of War On Drugs, but perhaps simply to poke fun at the entire situation. To contrast, we will look at 10 songs, in no order, where the intention of the artist is clearly to call out a target.
On Tuesday, October 21st, concert goers at the Exit/In were one of the first to witness GIVERS, with opening act Kind Cousin, perform on their most recent tour. The bands only left their hometown of the wonderful Lafayette, Louisiana earlier this month, and so curiosity for what the indie pop groups had to offer was high. GIVERS has not released anything since their debut album In Light came on the scene in 2011. Having taken a break after their last batch of touring, there was definitely an unspoken expectation from the crowd to see what the quintet had been working on since their last foray in the spotlight. GIVERS did not disappoint, with the show at the Exit/In providing a solid, if not majority, representation of their new songs.
New artists, new albums, and new songs are constantly being produced, and it can get quite confusing keeping track of what you have and have not listened. But often times, a band comes along and drops an album named after the band itself, making our job of keeping track of it all a bit more easy. It is surprising to see just how many bands have eponymous albums, and below I have compiled a list of just a fraction of the bands that have one. Best part is, if you like any of them you only have to remember one name! Wow!
On September 18th, virtuosic bass player Victor Wooten premiered his unprecedented electric bass concerto entitled “The Bass Whisperer: Concerto for Electric Bass and Orchestra” with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra. The concert attracted an interesting conglomeration of regular symphony-goers as well as jazz and R&B fans, which for someone like Victor Wooten, who has preached how music is the perfect medium for peace, love, and even diplomacy, must have been the ideal sight to see. However, for us concert attendees watching someone who many believe is the best bassist of our generation, maybe of all time, perform with such soul and passion, that was the ideal sight to see. In the spirit of Wooten’s complete disregard of “genre” for the sake of musical exploration, it is only appropriate to try to learn from him and maybe delve into the orchestral world ourselves for a little bit.