8. Modest Mouse The Lonesome Crowded West

(Matador, 1997)

From the first seconds of abrasive opener ‘Teeth Like God’s Shoeshine’ to the epic closing track ‘Styrofoam Boots/It’s All Nice On Ice, Alright’, The Lonesome Crowded West is an enthralling assault on the senses.

Isaac Brock and co. began their steady ascent to the upper echelons of indie rock popularity following the release of this adventurous LP in the autumn of 1997.

Brock’s amateurish vocals, blunt lyrics and jagged playing give the band much of its unique character, but throughout the album they play alternately loose and funky (‘Lounge’), heavy (the aforementioned ‘Teeth…’) and melancholy.

Lyrically, the album focuses heavily on the underbelly of American life on the road (‘Long Distance Drunk’, ‘Trucker’s Atlas’, ‘Out Of Gas’) as well as Brock’s strong religious doubts and general angst at the state of the world.

Stand-out tracks include the quietly reflective ‘Heart Cooks Brain’, big-business lamenting ‘Bankrupt On Selling’ and stunning ‘Trailer Trash’. This one is best played loud.

Try also: Modest Mouse The Moon And Antarctica (Matador, 2000). This Is A Long Drive For Someone For Nothing To Think About (Up, 1996). & Good News For People Who Love Bad News (Epic, 2004).