I’ve been a fan of Modest Mouse ever since I first heard their breakout single, “Float On,” on MTV in 2004. As if the riffs weren’t enough, the music video had me mesmerized. I remember standing in front of my tube TV before school, thinking, “Who is this?”
I was only 13 years old when Good News for People Who Love Bad News released. I was coming of age, a time when you swear music is your religion, believing every lyric of your favorite band is a verse in your version of the Bible. It was also was a time when the Internet was really becoming a source for music discovery. From Myspace to Xanga and Blogger to the launch of iTunes, if I heard something that I liked, I could easily find it on the Internet. Modest Mouse’s discography was at my fingertips, and my ears couldn’t get enough. So I dug deeper.
The Lonesome Crowded West, Modest Mouse’s second full-length album, released in 1997, was the album that really sunk its teeth into me. Around the time that I first gave it a listen, I was diagnosed with clinical depression, three years after I lost my brother to the disease. I truly believe that it was this record that got me through some of the toughest and tear-filled times of my early teenage life. It paved the way for my self discovery, and it still does to this day. Isaac Brock’s metaphorical lyrics allow listeners to insert their own interpretations, and the sonic juxtaposition of heavy-hitting breakdowns and light-hearted moments are a perfect reflection of how unpredictable emotions can be. If you’ve got a mood, Modest Mouse can satisfy it.
Somewhere between my first listens of This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About and The Moon and Antarctica, Modest Mouse officially became my All-Time Favorite Band Forever and Ever™, and I wanted to let the world know it. So how does a Modest Mouse super fan unnecessarily prove her fandom? A real-life record collection, of course.
I didn’t grow up with vinyl. It’s an acquired taste for my generation. When Modest Mouse released their B-side compilation No One’s First and You’re Next in 2009, it was decided: I was going to collect every Modest Mouse record ever released on wax, including original pressings and reissues, even European releases. And it’s within reach! Last December I was thrilled to help The Current debut “Lampshades on Fire,” the lead single off Strangers to Ourselves, Modest Mouse’s latest record and first full-length release in eight years. The day of the premiere, program director Jim McGuinn gifted me a test pressing of the single that Epic Records distributed to a very limited number of people. This time around, I was crying tears of joy.
It all came full circle in January. As a part of The Current’s 10th anniversary, the station hosted a night of karaoke at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall, where I sang — you guessed it! — “Float On.” Little did I know that I would soon find out that Modest Mouse was set to headline Rock the Garden 2015. Good news certainly worked its way to them plans.
Rock the Garden marks the seventh time I’ll have seen Modest Mouse perform, and I can’t wait to find out what’s in store for their set (please play “Teeth Likes God’s Shoeshine,” please play “Teeth Likes God’s Shoeshine”). Here’s a career-spanning playlist of my favorite Modest Mouse songs to get you ready to Rock the Garden with them — and me — this Sunday.
Modest Mouse plays Rock the Garden on Sunday, June 21 with the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, JD McPherson, Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 and Babes in Toyland. More information and tickets here.