City States' final release of the year is out today! Relief And Scale, a 4-song covers EP, is available for streaming and free download right here on our website. It was a great year overall, so I want to extend a sincere thank you to anyone and everyone who listened to our music, bought the LP, attended our shows, or otherwise offered support. I really appreciate it.
Of the four songs I covered for the EP, I perhaps had the most fun with the Modest Mouse song, "Teeth Like God's Shoeshine." Aside from the timeliness of this cover, given the recent reissue of MM's Lonesome Crowded West LP, the story behind its selection is actually kind of great, and worth telling.
One of the contributors to the Indiegogo campaign for our Geography LP—the person who selected the track—is a friend of mine with whom I shared a college radio show at Bloomington Illinois' WESN. Our show was a lot of fun: we spent lots of airtime playing bands we'd never heard before, and subsequently debating the merits of those songs right after playing them on the air. Modest Mouse was one of these bands.
As we both remember it, during one of our shows we turned on a track from Lonesome Crowded and disliked it so intensely that we shut it off midway through, proceeding to complain about the awfulness of Isaac Brock's voice for the next several minutes. We were far from professional in our approach, but like I said, it was big fun.
Fast forward to today: Modest Mouse is now one of my friend's favorite bands, and he thought it would be really interesting to highlight the beginning of our friendship by selecting "Teeth." I agree: though I initially felt a little intimidated by the song's length, its sprawl, and the utter strangeness of Brock's vocal delivery, I eventually found my way by almost completely deconstructing the rhythmic structure and lyric sheet. It's nearly unrecognizable until the final moments of the cover—which repurposes the original chorus as an outro—but I'd like to think that it succeeds highlighting the charms of covering someone else's music, which, I think, is to make it your own.
Once again, thank you for listening, and if you have friends who are fans of Modest Mouse, Hum, Nick Drake, or Split Enz, then please do share this link. And stay tuned in the coming months, as I have a few non-City States releases ready for 2015. All the best,
Joel / City States