Heart before brain
Photos by Nick Tomecek
Special thanks to The Equestrian Center of Fort Walton Beach.
Modest Mouse has a gritty, raw garage-band appeal I crave, especially in its early albums like “The Lonesome Crowded West.”
The interplay of stripped-down, soft junctures with organic lyrics interchanged with instrument-blaring riffs is downright filthy. Never has a band been so raw.
“Heart Cooks Brain” instantly comes to mind. The periodic one-song soundtrack to my life puts fate-determining organs in their place, heart before brain always.
My brain's the burger, and my heart's the coal
The heart always has the upper hand.
Mouse’s second album released in 1997, and I’ve listened critically as the alternative group funneled its sound into the more refined 2015 record “Strangers to Ourselves.” I couldn’t help but notice the identity crisis, even in its title, but it’s still an appropriate musical evolution.
An inner fighting match ensues when I try to peg my favorite Modest Mouse album, which is probably for the best. I’m no sharp-shooter, but I think its discography is an indivisible odyssey. If you stop midway, you can’t Uber home.
My brain's the weak heart, and my heart's the long stairs
Modest Mouse was the winding staircase of ‘90s indie-rock, and seeing the band live is as bizarre of an experience as listening. Frontman Isaac Brock might sit down and smoke a cigarette, or he might collect and braid together dreadlocks from audience members.
Never mind that.
The last time I saw Mouse live, I remember concertgoers and hardcore Mousers begging for “Cowboy Dan,” a track from “The Lonesome Crowded West." Cowboy Dan, a “major player in the cowboy scene” threatens God himself.
He goes to the reservation drinks and gets mean
He drove the desert, fired his rifle in the sky
And says, "God if I have to die, you will have to die"
The instrument-defying music is one thing, but the storytelling lyrics are another. Mouse is the voice of your subconscious on this record, especially in “Doin' the Cockroach,” in which Brock states he believes in neither Heaven nor Hell but fears them both.
Interpreting the lyrics of this record and others, it begs the question: How do they come up with this stuff? Honestly, it's pure brilliance.
I’ve never seen Modest Mouse as a sellout, and my heart races at the thought of where its next album will take me.
While its direction is unclear, order is always the same, heart before brain.
My brain's the cliff, and my heart's the bitter buffalo
Vest - some days lovin
Bandana - Courtesy of my boyfriend's closet
Shorts - Mossimo Denim, Target
Shoes - Jeffrey Campbell
Hey, I'm Savannah. I collect records, and they collect dust. Like my preferred media form, I strive to not become obsolete. I created Off the Record as a way to turn my mind inside out, into something visual and tangible. One is the loneliest number, so I asked my friends to join.