Modest Mouse

Record Review

Phases and Stages

Modest Mouse

Good News for People Who Love Bad News (Epic) Good news for people who worried that the departure of drummer Jeremiah Green would torpedo Modest Mouse's sound: You can rest easy. While replacement Benjamin Weikel is less busy than Green, he injects a distinct personality into his simpler, sinewy timekeeping. The Washington staters also welcome back original guitarist Dann Gallucci, who helps flesh out the muscular, searching sound of the now-quartet on this, their strongest LP to date. Eschewing the flabby, experimental jams that populated The Moon & Antarctica (2000), Modest Mouse has opted to get in and get out with their sometimes disturbing, sometimes whimsical meditations on death and being. Good News finds Isaac Brock not just a poet, but a philosopher as well, albeit one who relies on scatological and often violent imagery. "The Devil's Workday," which also features jangling horn accompaniment from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, takes an entire chapter out of Tom Waits' book, sonically, and is narrated by a misanthrope of monumental proportions. "All those people you know floating in the river are logs," Brock growls before proclaiming, "I am my own damn god!" Appropriately, this is punctuated with maniacal laughter. But Brock isn't a total monster, as revealed on "Bukowski," in which he muses, "Yeah I know he's a pretty good read, but God who'd want to be such an asshole?" No bad news here, just more headline-making from an innovative, ever-maturing group of musicians.


A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Oh Boy (Record Review)

Elise Barbin, March 22, 2019

Texas Platters
Heavy as the Sun (Record Review)

Libby Webster, March 22, 2019

More by Melanie Haupt
Gluten-Free Wild Wood Bakehouse Shutters Guadalupe Location
Gluten-Free Wild Wood Bakehouse Shutters Guadalupe Location
Their second location, Wilder Wood, remains open on Seventh Street

Feb. 27, 2019

Top 10 Carby Treats
Top 10 Carby Treats
The ten best ways to indulge in a carbohydrate bomb by a bevy of talented local bakers and pastry chefs

Dec. 28, 2018

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle