Modest Mouse are one of those bands that I had two introductions to - years apart and unrelated - and still took a bit of time to grab on my own.
This, of course, was waaaay back when such was possible, not in the pre-Internet days, but definitely in the pre-everything-we-now-use-the-Internet-for days.
When "Convenient Parking" showed up on a mix tape from Portland, I'd never heard of the band, and if Zia didn't have the album, then in those days I wasn't going to find it.
The band stuck around in my head a bit, but I didn't hear anything else until "Gravity Rides Everything" came in on recommendation when I was living in Phoenix and asking close friends what their five favorite songs were (this of course being the first time I did that, not the much-expanded second time, when I polled 105 people). Freaktown said it reminded him of driving through the hills of his Southern California home at the time.
Ah, and Zia had Modest Mouse this time around. I told Dr. Chung when I bought The Moon & Antarctica, and he said they've been the next big thing for a while (presumably since I first heard and half-ignored them).
Revisiting that progression, I'm interested mostly in the fact that Modest Mouse is probably one of the last bands (at least new, indie-type bands) that I discovered without blogs or myspace, and in the case of "Convenient Parking," without burned CDs, Napster, mp3s, or even the Internet at all.
Word-of-mouth still drives most music discoveries (personally, to be sure, but I'd wager it's a pretty universal truth), but that secondary bit of exploration is exceptionally easy now. And in that regard, I think it's far easier to simply forget where, when or how I pick up that first scrap of information about some new music or other. I can trace Modest Mouse directly to CKB and Freaktown, and countless other bands back to the original friend (or occasionally zine or magazine) source. Not so much with newer stuff. (Iron & Wine a good example there - I can't for the life of me pinpoint a single source or two even. I vaguely remember having a sudden interest, then hearing a number of songs from wherever - most likely illegally - and buying several records in short order. Now I'm a fan all the way.)
This is mostly a roundabout way to start thinking about the Modest Mouse show tomorrow at the Rialto Theatre. It's my first time to catch them live, despite all those years.
And in that spirit, here are some live tracks, recorded for an XFM session:
Modest Mouse - Float On (Live)
Modest Mouse - Ocean Breathes Salty
Modest Mouse - The World At Large