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Modest Mouse

On First Solo Album, 'Use Your Delusion,' Man Man's Honus Honus Does Just That

Music ReviewWeston PaganoComment

Until Use Your Delusion, Man Man and Mister Heavenly maverick Honus Honus’ debut solo release, there had never before been a record you could fund in part with the purchase of a $666 denim vest and a disposable camera full of images of faked deaths. But, then again, there has never before been an artist with quite the same bizarro charm as Honus, either.

Despite flying solo, Honus (née Ryan Kattner) is backed by quite the supporting cast: Joe Plummer (Modest Mouse, The Shins, Cold War Kids, Mister Heavenly) pilots the percussion, King Cyrus King (Super Deluxe) contributes production and guitar, Dann Gallucci (Modest Mouse, The Murder City Devils, Cold War Kids) handles mixing, comedian Jon Daly is on sax, and even polymath Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Got a Girl, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, 10 Cloverfield Lane) and Shannon Shaw (Shannon and the Clams) feature.

Still, it’s clear the self-released Use Your Delusion is a cathartic release of the chaotic menagerie stirring in its creator’s wildly whiskered head, loosened by the freedom of truly setting out on one’s own. It’s not easy to match the dynamic eclection of his Man Man discography, but Honus damn near tops it in half an hour. For example, the accessible pop of ”Heavy Jesus" leans more On Oni Pond, “Will You?”’s soothing piano is very Rabbit Habits, and the "sour milk and cocaine" death metal freak of ”Red Velvet" might feel most at home writhing on Six Demon Bag. But Honus explores brand new territory as well with the nearly David Gilmour-worthy guitar solo of “Santa Monica” and the surprise amusement of what can be likened to Eric Idle-esque pomp on album closer “Empty Bottle.”

Having moved his dystopian sound to the west coast, the “apocalyptic LA pop” vibe rings clearest through the surfy tones in the nimble guitar work most notably on single “Oh No!”. Set to lines like “Happiness is just an accident wearing different clothes,” it’s an artfully classic example of sad sentiments stuck in a sunny song. “Your heart is bubble-wrapped in permanent depression,” he coos too a deft touch of sax and an almost reggae pulse resulting in a deceptively delightful package. “Will You?” in turn matches its “Rabbit Habits” keys to the sunlit savagery of a suicide prolonged awaiting love with a paradoxical knowingness few could pull off with sincerity.

First single, “Heavy Jesus,” is similarly bouncy, but replaces the angst with heretic hilarity. They say God works in mysterious ways, but Jesus himself appearing to an unwilling heavy metal disciple via a late night quesadilla is certainly a new one. Use Your Delusion would lend itself well to a similar marketing campaign; It’s not hard to imagine midnight taco trucks blaring this album like an ice cream truck jingle gone rogue.

On “Midnight Caller” Honus claims, “I don’t see any point in honesty / ‘Cause honestly, it’s the worst / And honestly, honesty can take a long walk off a short pier,” with wordplay reminiscent of “Van Helsing Boombox.” Yet Use Your Delusion, nor any other song he’s ever sung, rings hollow or faked, even at his most maniacal. The word “carnivalesque” gets thrown around a lot when describing Honus’ repertoire, but endearingly that’s just what it often is. Honus howls, trapped in a house of mirrors that beautifully distorts the fits and visions of his genius. The alien bearded lady won’t stop screaming.

When Honus first spoke about the then-unannounced LP in an interview we did last year, he told us much of Use Your Delusion would be increasingly gentle on the vocal cords for a couple of reasons; One, Honus was shredding his pipes singing his older material and needed to tone it down in the interest of sustainability, and two, he sang more quietly in his LA practice space out of discomfort with an FKA Twigs knockoff and Bruce Springsteen cover band flanking him through either wall. I like to imagine somewhere they’re giving interviews about the shock of hearing “Red Velvet” from the other room.

Read our full in-depth interview with Honus Honus about Use Your Delusion, Man Man, Mister Heavenly and more, here. Buy Use Your Delusion here.

Here's Some Good News for People Who Love Bad News: Modest Mouse Frontman Causes Car Crash

Music NewsWeston PaganoComment

Well, here's some good news for people who love bad news: According to The Seattle TimesModest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock was the catalyst for the unconscious coupling of multiple vehicles in Portland yesterday after falling asleep at the wheel and rear-ending a government truck that began a chain reaction of collisions. He was cleared of any intoxication and walked away unharmed.

No black Cadillacs nor baby blue sedans were involved, and it remains to be seen if he will blame it on the Tetons. You could say he just drove off; sometimes life's okay. It's understandable, for it was a long drive for someone with nothing to think about. Brock should be careful next time he takes interstate 8.

Watch Modest Mouse Feature in a Particularly Awkward Episode of 'Sound Advice'

Music NewsEllen WilsonComment

Saturday Night Live's Vanessa Bayer (who also recently appeared in Trainwreck) has been playing painfully uncomfortable media coach Janessa Slater in her Above Average web series Sound Advice for a while now, making us cringe with sessions including artists from Drake to Sleater-Kinney. Today, she somehow got the elusive yet outspoken Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse to sit down with her and take some constructive criticism, rendering him speechless. Watch below as Brock awkwardly nods off her suggestions and proves he's not really one for improv. 

Strangers To Ourselves is available now on Epic. 

New Modest Mouse Music Video for "The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box" is a Bad Trip for a Broken King

New MusicWeston PaganoComment

Modest Mouse revealed the new music video for "The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box," a track featured in both their latest LP Strangers To Ourselves and our 2015 summer playlist, today and it's quite the show.

Isaac Brock, or should we say Sir Isaac Brockplays the part of a raving lunatic of a king presiding over his scorched earth kingdom with an Erector Set crown and shattered lightbulb for a scepter. The mad monarch experiences some psychedelic confusion and even goes as far as to gouge out a man's eyes.

Check it out below.

Members of The Shins, Cold War Kids, and Tijuana Panthers Form New Supergroup, Coromandelles

Music News, New MusicWeston PaganoComment
Photo by Sean Flynn

Photo by Sean Flynn

Meet the newest supergroup on the scene, Coromandelles, a self-described "faux-French contemporary punk" trio fronted by Tijuana Panthers' Daniel Michicoff with Cold War Kids members Matt Maust (his second side-project in barely a year, after French Style Furs) and Joe Plummer on bass/artwork and drums, respectively. (Plummer, who also plays the role of engineer for the group, has apparently started a quest to become a member of every band ever after his eight-year stint with Modest Mouse ended in 2012, and is also a member of The Shins and yet another supergroup, Mister Heavenly.)

Their debut album Late Bloomers' Bloomers will be released October 20 on vinyl via Porch Party Records and tape cassette via Burger Records, and has been mixed by Plummer's Shins bandmate Yukki Matthews. According to a press release, the album "is about finding the enjoyment in being derailed [and] rolls through moments of anxiety, doubt, and hope." Oddly enough, the lyrics are also largely in French.

Only an incredibly brief teaser has been released officially, though a twitter exchange between Michikcoff and comedian Cameron Esposito last December reveals the first track, "Cameronrhea" (or "Cameronria," depending where you look), was written about Esposito and her fiancee Rhea Butcher, and links to a playlist on Michicoff's Soundcloud page that appears to contain all 10 tracks plus an 11th non-album track, "Précision." Check them both out, along with the official album artwork and tracklist, below.

Late Bloomers' Bloomers

  1. Cameronria – 4:07
  2. New Ordain – 2:30
  3. The Project – 3:39
  4. Mon Chemin – 4:25
  5. Jaq – 4:09
  6. Late Bloomers – 2:06
  7. Bumble Bee – 3:20
  8. Le Revev – 3:30
  9. End Of Mad Men – 3:58
  10. Seaudeaux – 4:32

Listen to Transverso's 2015 Summer Playlist

Music ListTransverso MediaComment

Summer has officially started, which means you need a summer playlist! We've taken the responsibility of compiling 20 of the best tunes to come out so far this year that can serve as the perfect soundtrack to all of your typical summer activities, whether it be driving with the top down, relaxing by the pool, hanging out at a family reunion, or feeding gummy bears to Belle & Sebastian. Check it out below.