The state of Washington has been home to many exciting musical acts for several decades. The indie scene and such regional labels as Sub Pop helped nurture many artists and gave them a way to get their music out to the public.
Modest Mouse was one of those bands that came after the indie explosion in the Northwest of the early 1990s. They are not grunge in the slightest, but they have been putting out their own brand of indie pop for almost a full decade.
The band’s many singles can be mined for a definitive Top Ten tracks for the band.
Broke- This one goes back to 1996. It almost seems like a reaction to the hard-rocking grunge of the 1990s. This song slows things down and gives the band an acoustic feel.
A Life Of Arctic Sounds-Like many of their indie brethren, Modest Mouse has preferred to release their singles in the 7” vinyl format and then collect them later on compilations. This song continues their lo-fi approach and betrays an influence from Yo La Tengo.
Other People’s Lives-This 1997 single actually rocks out more than their previous singles. That it manages to do so for over seven minutes, after it settles into a groove, is a testament to the band’s ability.
Never Ending Math Equation-Maybe seven minutes was too long .This 1998 pares it back down to just over three minutes. But, like its predecessor, this song settles into a groove quickly and the group’s ragged but right vocals are front and center.
Heart Cooks Brain-1997 was a prolific year for this band. Along with several singles, they recorded their first proper album, “The Lonesome Crowded West.” For this single, they went back to their slowed down lo-fi approach.
Float On-2004 yielded some of the greatest success for Modest Mouse. Their fourth album, “Good News for People Who Love Bad News” yielded the almost-danceable, “Float On.”
Ocean Breathes Salty-The second single from the above album used new technology to give fans an “enhanced CD” that included a live version of the above song and a video for this single.
Dashboard-This single from “We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank” is much more commercial affair. The vocals are clearer and the production is more tight. The ragged edges have been smoothed.
Satellite Skin-This is a track from a follow up EP. They seem to have eschewed the more produced sound of the previous single and have gone back to some of their indie rock sloppiness.
Autumn Beds-Another track from the same EP. They limited production of this single to 4000 copies and only on vinyl. The band takes much more a folk-rock approach on this track.
White Lies Yellow Teeth-This single brings the band up to date for 2014. They seem to have permanently gone back to their lo-fi approach and have jettisoned their earlier more produced sound.
This is a playlist that will get a person started on a very prolific band.