James Jackson Toth
Find Me On:
Great list and superb writing, as usual. I’d switch 1 and 2 (but just barely) and try to find a way to move Thief up (though I have no idea how I would achieve this – three way tie for 4th or something?). I stand by my quote in the opening paragraph. Dude makes me wanna go all Tonya Harding.
Bravo! I’m a Lodger man myself and would have loved to see it in the top ten, but beyond that, no quibbles. This was quite a task and you really rose to the occasion. Excellent piece.
It’s true, though. Even among the diehards commenting here, you don’t hear a lot of people repping for “The Cold Part,” “Long Distance Drunk,” or “Exit Does Not Exist,” for instance.
And besides, the paragraph that contains that sentence is supposed to imply that, in spite of these things, MM is a great band. Most ‘classic’ albums have filler – when was the last time you skipped ahead to listen to “The Murder Mystery” or “Vicar In A Tutu?” One of my favorite bands of all time is the Replacements, and almost everything I said about MM in that paragraph could apply to that band as well. You don’t think Isaac himself would acknowledge that they’ve played some pretty shitty (read: sloppy drunk) gigs?
Oops, I meant ‘the best parts of’ Interstate 8, btw, not ‘most of’ – sorry, fact-checkers!
I wrestled with including the EPs and BNOOS, and decided that 1. BNOOS, while indeed great, is mostly great for the inclusion of most of the Interstate 8 EP (which I included) + “Neverending Math Equation,” and 2. the other EPs, unlike the expanded version of Interstate 8, play like EPs, in that they’re short and arguably unnecessary supplements to the albums that preceded or proceeded them. I like the EPs – especially E&HNPT, which, in retrospect, I probably should have included with the Interstate 8 entry – but don’t think they’re as essential to understanding the MM story as the full lengths. The subheading is Modest Mouse ALBUMS From Best To Worst, after all. A line has to get drawn somewhere, right? Anyway, apologies to any who were offended by these omissions.
Not sure how you could read this and think it was written by someone who dislikes the band. What snark?
I can’t even
Bold move not putting The Woods at #1, and while Call the Doctor will always be my sentimental fave (“Good Things!!”), it’s difficult to argue with the justifications for numerical placement here. Great piece.
I wish I could ‘like’ this post more than once.
I guess we should then ask a bigger question – is it necessary that the USPS even MAKES a profit? Isn’t it a public service, guaranteed by the Constitution? There are plenty of things funded by tax dollars (which, by the way, the USPS is not) that don’t turn any profit at all. Maybe we need to examine the profit = worth model, since we’re on a forum that deals with a lot of music that 99% of the western world doesn’t know or care exists.
I address all of this in the article, including the internet. Fed Ex and UPS are in no position to raise rates – from all appearances, they’re doing fine (see: campaign contributions). Not to seem paranoid, but if they’re planning to raise their rates at all, they’ll do so only after they’ve eliminated the competition – the USPS – which is why they’re behind Congress’ ludicrous provision in the first place. Once they become the only game(s) in town, welcome to a world $6 postcard stamps.
Is shipping really that important for indie labels to succeed? Without question, yes. Ask any label owner from the power electronics cassette label all the way up to Sub Pop. Yes.
If the fact that I’ve written no fewer than three separate pieces on the man for this very publication doesn’t qualify me as a fan, well, I’m not sure what does. Maybe it’s just, like, my opinion, man.
See, I agree it’s a great album, but I sorta felt like I had already published my Sea Change billet-doux for Stereogum with the anniversary piece. Check it out! It’s one big gush.
See above. That album severely bummed me out at the time. Nowadays it’s merely my least favorite Beck album.
I really, really, really love “Whiskeyclone.”
I have just never connected with that album in any meaningful way. I gave it another listen before writing this article, and it still leaves me really cold (and frequently annoyed).
No way is it better than Strangeways, that’s crazy talk.
“greatest singles band since the Beatles” – a hefty claim, but I think I agree.
Your list is my list, however if we were being REAL nerds, we’d have to squeeze in the Sweet and Tender Hooligan EP someplace, which is very dear to my heart.
Placing a pair of compilations in the No. 1 slot took balls, but true Smiths fans know there’s really no other way this could have gone down. Both Hatful and Louder are absolutely perfect – none of the proper full lengths are (“Suffer Little Children,” anyone?).
Duly noted, and I certainly didn’t mean to casually vilify every person born during the Clinton Administration – at least not for this – ha ha ha. But I’m afraid you guys are very much the exception, not the rule. Unfortunately, you’re not indicative of a turning tide so much as you’re a couple of guys with an increasingly weird hobby.
That said, I will concede that sentence may have been an unfair generalization, and I do applaud and appreciate your devotion to your weird hobby. :)
Seems strange to me that a hc/punk fan would be so short-sighted as to advocate what is more or less cultural surface mining. You realize that the convenience you so cherish and the resulting glut will soon make it almost impossible for underground bands to exist at all, right?
“Thousands of great album discoveries?” I spend every spare dollar I have on music, work (for now) in the music business, and, like many Stereogum readers, generally obsess over music to an unhealthy degree, and even I probably haven’t heard ‘thousands’ of albums since Spotify was invented. Maybe you’re listening wrong?
What alternative sources of income?
Good points, Robert, and I’m glad you mention the cultural divide. Similarly, country music fans will be buying Brad Paisley and Miranda Lambert CDs until the day labels stop manufacturing them. Metal dudes are likewise inclined to pay for ‘diehard’ editions and colored vinyl. Not sure why this is, but I find your classification of indie musicians lacking what you call ‘clear objectives’ and ‘identifying principles’ provocative and insightful. May this be indicative of a 2013 comment section trend!
For what it’s worth, I purchased 90% of the releases on my best of 2012 list, and the other 10% were given to me as gifts. But then, I am a hopeless relic who still relishes breaking up weed on my gatefold sleeves. :)
I agree about Book Burner. I think I dug JR’s short story in the deluxe version more than the album itself. Kind of a letdown IMO.