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Musical Pairings: Modest Mouse – The Moon & Antarctica (paired with Beer-Marinated Flank Steak with Aji Sauce)

Kasey is featuring a little red-meat for the food lover over on eating/sf.  Literally.  Today’s recipe is for beer-marinated flank steak with aji sauce.  It’s substantial, spicy, tender and soooo satisfying.  If you’re in the market for a good steak recipe – you can’t go wrong with this Columbian-inspired dish.  And although I’m not pairing this with an Columbian album, I did want to pair the recipe with a substantial, spicy, tender and satisfying album.  And for that reason, I think Modest Mouse’s 2000 masterpiece, The Moon & Antarctica, is the perfect pairing for this recipe.

Modest Mouse formed as a trio back in 1993 led by songwriter/singer/guitarist Issac Brock.  As early as 1994, following the release of a series of EPs, they began quickly gaining recognition for songs that were desolate, spastic, thrashing and occasionally sprawling.  But it wasn’t until six years later when Modest Mouse reached the apex of their critical acclaim with The Moon & Antarctica, an album that distilled and often compartmentalized many of the elements that had brought them attention in the first place – to great success.  The result is an album that is undeniably one of the greatest records in the “indie” music scene (I’m of course using the term loosely as the album was released on Epic).  For example, Brock’s lyrics, although cryptic, are frequently tender and evocative – such as the lyrics for album opener “3rd Planet” where he sings “and your heart felt good / it was dripping pitch and made of wood / and your hands and knees / felt cold and wet on the grass with me.”  But they also retain thrashing and spastic instrumentation including on the sonically rich cut “A Different City.”  Perhaps most importantly, Brock’s songwriting was anything but straightforward, and every song on the album features intriguing, experimental arrangements and instrumentation that captures the listeners imagination.  Similarly, tracks like the skittish, whirring and jangly “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes” and the aloof and jovial “Wild Pack of Family Dogs,” although starkly different form one another, sound like cohesive, complimentary parts to a greater ambitious whole.  The album is being reissued in a 10th Anniversary edition which you can pick up on Insound.

Modest Mouse – 3rd Planet

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Posted by Matthew Hickey

MattNekoRecords

Matthew is the music editor and co-founder of Turntable Kitchen. He’s addicted to vinyl records, pour over coffee, craft beer, small batch bourbon, and pan roasting pork chops.

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