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Sad Sappy Sucker

3.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Nov. 26 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sonic Unyon Records
  • ASIN: B00005AU9N
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #158,283 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Worms Vs. Birds
2. Four Fingered Fisherman
3. Untitled
4. Wagon Ride Return
5. From Point A To Point B
6. Path Of Least Resistance
7. It Always Rains On A Picnic
8. Dukes Up
9. Think Long
10. Every Penny Fed Car
11. Mice Eat Cheese
12. Race Car Grin You Ain't No Landmark
13. Red Hand Case
14. Secret Agent X-9
15. Blue Cadet -3, Do You Connect?
16. Call To Dial A Song
17. 5-4-3-2-1 Lips Off
18. Woodgrain
19. BMX Crash
20. Sucker Betru
See all 24 tracks on this disc

Product Description

After stepping up to the major-label plate with The Moon and Antarctica, Modest Mouse reach back to their roots with Sad Sappy Sucker. Sucker is actually the band's first recording, released in 2001 but created back in 1994. It was shelved in favor of Lonesome Crowded West as their debut, but Sucker is still a fine piece of the Modest Mouse lineage.

Although parts of Sucker are experimental compared to the band's current polish, this isn't some rarity to be enjoyed only by collectors. Breezy melodies build into jagged choruses as singer Isaac Brock shows he can be both tender and playfully aggressive. Most of the songs clock in between two and three minutes, leaving room for numerous gems in the course of the 24-track album. While 12 of the songs come from a recording session with K Records' Calvin Johnson, a chunk of Sucker material comes from Brock's "Dial-a-Song" phase, during which callers heard new songs by dialing into his answering machine. These experiments range from lo-fi combos of distorted instruments and whiny vocals to complete songs, like the bluesy rock jam on "Secret Agent X-9." The Dial-a-Songs--and a message left by Murder City Devils front man Spencer Moody ("Call to Dial-a-Song")--are both comic relief and proof that Modest Mouse didn't gain their indie-rock cult status by accident. The talent's been there from the beginning. --Jennifer Maerz

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Sorry, but this self-described "important document" doesn't really work. The first 12 or so songs (the supposed lost album) are decent. Actually, "It Always Rains on a Picnic" and "Dukes Up" are two of the band's best songs, but both have long been available on the "Blue Cadet" 7". The last half however is pretty much-unlistenable in my opinion. Those songs were obviously not intended to be released, and they're nothing more than tossed-off jokes. It's incredibly harsh too (as in trebley) and it just grates.
Really, the only previously unavailable song that could be considered essential is the unlisted track (#4). It's very nice. I also have a soft spot for "5-4-3-2-1 Lipsoff", as the "this Tang is delicious!" line is about the funniest thing ever put to tape, but that too is available on the "Blue Cadet" 7", which is still in print and easy to find. At any rate, I guess I was expecting something like Pavement's "Westing (By Musket & Sextant)"; a fuzzy snapshot of larval yet obvious genius. That's not what "Sad Sappy Sucker" is. It actually reeks of pathetic crassness: a shameless attempt to cash in on Modest Mouse's success, something I certainly wouldn't put past K Records. Don't fall for it!
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Format: Audio CD
One word I would NOT use to describe this release is "brilliant." It's scattered, underdeveloped, and sometimes grating. Having said that, if you are a big fan of Modest Mouse, this is an absolute must-have (unless, of course, you are a REALLY big fan, and you already have all these songs on all the damn 7-inches). Sad Sappy Sucker shows a side of Modest Mouse that they haven't shown fans on any of their other releases. I'd always heard comparisons to Pavement and Built to Spill, and here and there I could pick something out in their music that resembled these bands, but this release shows exactly how much Modest Mouse developed into their own sound from a very derivative beginning. First of all, Sad Sappy Sucker contains only two songs over 3 minutes long, and none that hit the 3:10 mark; hearing such short songs coming from MM is extremely odd, and probably one of the reasons this release is so interesting for me. The songs were recorded in 1994-95, and sound heavily influenced by Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted and Built to Spill's There's Nothing Wrong with Love. They have all the raw charm, energy, and weirdness of songs on those albums, stamped with just enough of Isaac Brock's own flavor (and he had plenty of it, even at this young age) to make them new. Unfortunately, the majority of the songs don't have the yearning and desperation of Pavement or the beauty and fragility of Built to Spill to make Sad Sappy Sucker a true classic; so only four stars. I will reiterate that this album is one that will probably only appeal to big fans, and is definitely NOT a starting-out point.
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Format: Audio CD
Did any of the previous reviewers start a band at what 15 or sixteen? did any of you grow up going to olympia to see k records or candyass bands? or see the guy from 764-hero and lync at pagliacci's on the ave in seattle and hope you could be like him one day? or hang out at the firehouse in redmond or take the bus from the eastside to see built to spill at u-dub? did any of you do anything more creative than write reviews for a sell-out book company for a very privledged and specialized group of people with computers? if not, then lay off these boys. this is some of the good sweet stuff of life before any one of them had to talk to record producers who cared about the likes of you. who cares why they released this recording now? maybe they felt pressure from all of you to live up to the hype, maybe they dont wanna be on a big label anymore, maybe they owed calvin a favor, maybe they need the money, maybe they did it for hometown fans who moved away like they did, maybe they plan to retire and sellout or maybe they are homesick for scene at home in the early 90's before seattle press got so pissy they had to go to chicago following the likes of rebecca gates (know who that is?) and others. i dont know why they waited to release it but i know after meeting them only briefly in san diego in 96 and having gone to all of their early shows i could (that was when getting a gig a moe meant you were gonna be a money-maker) they all had more integrity and creativity in their little fingers than than you or i ever will so dont go dumping on them and futhermore what they have become is great but where they came from is every bit as important and good.
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Format: Audio CD
I can't say that I am surprised about this release given the utter lack of publicity that it received. As previous reviewers have noted, there is but one track of previously unheard music. The rest are mostly small ditties from early (barely) studio tracks that have floated around the 'net for some time correctly labeled as "demo-esque." My love for the Mouse leads me to think that this is a sad day for the band, as they inevitably were encouraged by Epic to get anything, no matter what, out and published. While it is nice to hear "Dukes Up" and a few others released again, I fear anyone might see this as representative of their other work. Isaac-- why? Many of these songs have interesting little tunes; they could have been reworked so as any fair-weather fan could appreciate them. I have to agree with other reviewers that state this album will be for only the most die-hard. Even most of these fans will have heard all of this before from online sources, with absolutely no improvement in the quality.
Overall, the few tracks that represent the Mouse well are unfortunately overshadowed by the dilettantish remainder. This Mouse fan looks forward to new material.
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