Single Shot: People As Places As People

Posted in Music on November 30th, 2010 by Tom

Today I wanted to shed a little light and love on a track that was a late-bloomer for me. Modest Mouse’s 2007 effort We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank managed to scrape out an honorable mention on my 2007 Best Of…, but has since surpassed almost every record on that list in terms of durability. At the time, I liked the record OK, but I wasn’t in love with it. Mostly, I just really liked ‘Dashboard’. A lot.

With three years gone by, I still listen to the album as much as I did when it dropped. As time wore on, I began to get a little more comfortable with the latter half, which initially had seemed like more generic Modest-Mouse-jam-out fare, which I don’t care for, at least not a priori. In particular, the penultimate track, ‘People As Places As People‘, gave me something to look forward to.

‘People As Places As People’
[ mp3 ♫ ]

For one, it’s not that long of a song, at least by MM standards. The structure is fairly standard, but the real strength of the song is in the textures. Johnny Marr earns his keep and lives up to his reputation with a standout twang-tastic solo, the percussion is steady without being boring, and, perhaps not surprisingly, Brock’s voice laces the whole thing up perfectly into a tight package that rounds out the album.

I’m having trouble further qualifying why I like the song so much, aside from the above, and my long-standing adoration of Isaac Brock’s lyrical prowess. It’s perfectly placed, and perfectly executed, and stands as a testament to the skill a great group in their prime.

Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank


Mailbag: Volume 2, Sensual Harassment

Posted in Mailbag, Music on November 27th, 2010 by Tom

AUTHOR’S NOTE: From time to time, I get e-mails from artists suggesting that I might be interested in their music. The “mailbag” is my attempt to give back by showcasing the talent of those emerging artists whose work I genuinely enjoyed.

Normally I enjoy a healthy dose of synthetic influence in my indie-pop; in fact, I almost do as a rule. Less common in my musical repertoire is more direct, synth-focused music. Recently, however, I’ve been trying to branch out, and one of the things I’ve really enjoyed so far has been Sensual Harassment.

Don’t let the name fool you: the only thing inappropriate about this music is how much it makes you want to dance.

[ mp3 ♫ ]

The first track I chose to share was the multi-layered ‘Soldier‘. My first impression was that it evoked memories of Alphaville’s ‘Forever Young’, in that it sounds like you should be slow-dancing to it at some prom in the mid-80’s. There’s more to it than that, however, and the real strength of the song is it showcases that the genre is capable of emotive pieces that have real feeling.

However, if it’s a balls-to-the-wall tech-anthem you want, Sensual Harassment can do that for you too. Off of their brand-new record, Alpha Draconis is my favorite piece by the group so far, the bold and infectious ‘Boss‘:

[ mp3 ♫ ]

The best thing about this song is the chorus riff, which is really triumphant, and the whole thing just carries you along, from the laser “pow-pows” to the haunting vocals, it is a really streamlined piece of music.

If you’d like to hear more from the band, or purchase their record, click below:

Sensual Harassment – Alpha Draconis