‘Convenient Parking’ by Modest Mouse
From the Album The Lonesome Crowded West (1997)
The next fifteen days is an exciting time in music, seeing releases by Death Grips, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Sufjan Stevens, Kendrick Lamar , Death Cab For Cutie and Modest Mouse. As you could probably have guessed from last week’s article I like to listen to an artist’s back catalogue in the run up to new releases to gear me up to have well-informed conversations with people about how I heard them before they were cool.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that a large amount of Modest Mouse’s fanbase gained their first exposure to the band through 2004’s commercial blockbuster ‘Float On’. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this as it opened up a consistently brilliant band to a whole new audience. However this article winds the clock back a further seven years to track three of The Lonesome Crowded West, the band’s second album, ‘Convenient Parking’.
Now please, dear reader, take a moment to listen to ‘Float On’ immediately followed by ‘Convenient Parking’.
Sounds quite a bit different doesn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong, I think Good News For People Who Love Bad News (from which ‘Float On’ is taken) is an absolutely brilliant album, as good as The Lonesome Crowded West, but they are albums for completely different moods and environments; it is instantly obvious that ‘Convenient Parking’ and, by extension, LCR, is a must more angsty, angular, sparse and raw than ‘Float On’s polished production and confident, flowing guitars. ‘Convenient Parking’, to me, is more comforting. Something about the grittiness of the song gives me a feeling of intimacy with the band; the way the song ebbs and then bursts into life in a hail of drums and screams. It really is absolutely sublime, and the real beauty of it all is that the song is one of the most coherent on the album (see ‘Shit Luck’, ‘Doin’ the Cockroach’ and ‘Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine’ for looser interpretations of accepted song structures).
Modest Mouse’s new album, Strangers To Ourselves, is out today on Epic/Glacial Pace and is their first for eight years. Having heard a few of the singles, which are together and singularly very good, I can almost guarantee that it won’t sound much like ‘Convenient Parking’ and the rest of The Lonesome Crowded West, but it is still a new Modest Mouse album and it will still more than likely be great.