Generally speaking, I don't really like writing about things that primarily exist in streaming form. I can't really deal with a song unless I can download it and listen to it at my leisure. Sure, nothing only exists in streaming form anymore; the entire world knows about Hype Machine. But still.
I'm going to break from that, though, to discuss four new songs Modest Mouse released as part of Record Store Day and Vinyl Saturday promotions, some of which will be appearing on an upcoming EP called No One's First and You're Next (even though a lot of people have already written about and discussed them at length). I find Modest Mouse to be extremely fascinating. They caught my attention back in 1998 on the strength of The Lonesome Crowded West, in which they sounded like a band who was only interested in recreating the most eccentric moments in indie rock, or, at the very least, what my definition of indie rock was back in those days. It's an ugly, dissonant record in which they repeat the same lyrical and musical motifs so frequently that a friend of mine came up with a companion drinking game ("one shot each time they wail on a harmonic, an extra shot if this is combined with needless whammy bar!"). In short, it wasn't the kind of thing that would lead one to think that six years later this band would have a mainstream radio hit and then top the Billboard charts three years after that. Head Mouse Isaac Brock has muted his natural weirdness along the way - not really to the point of unrecognizability, but definitely not to the new material's benefit. Good News For People Who Love Bad News was actually pretty solid, but their most recent album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, was not so great. Perhaps that's unreasonable to expect. I doubt "the old Modest Mouse" is coming back, but I keep coming back for more all the same.
So how does the new stuff fare I break it down track by track after the jump. And no links, because you know where you can find this stuff.