Promise Keepers

Recovering from a badly produced debut, the Promise Ring finally delivers the goods

We probably get asked about the religious thing more than anything else about the album. In Nothing Feels Good, there's the "I don't know God" lyric, it's more like a matter of coincidence than anything. The theme of the record is really just like what you do or don't know, or what you think you know and don't know. The theme is not knowing anything. The song is just a big list of things you may or may not know if they're real on different levels. But we're not specifically religious, not as a group anyway.

R: Until the record came out, your band was usually associated with the Midwestern emo thing, but listening to the new record I think it could be blamed on the production of 30i. Besides the Cap'n Jazz connection, why did you get stamped with the emo label?

JG: Well, we're from the Midwest, I guess. Probably at one time, the emo thing could have been true, when we started the band maybe. But it's like this thing where there's this big new sound in music, and bands get tagged with that. It's weird though, what people call "emo."

Four or five years ago, I would've been like, "Yeah, Fugazi," and someone would be like, "What do they sound like?" and I'd be, like, "Emo," using it in that reference. It's a really nonspecific term these days. It's like, we get called that and a band like Mineral will be called that, and we don't sound anything alike. But that's the nature of the beast, if you're going to describe bands, you need reference points.

R: Was the bassist transition easy?
JG: Yeah, it was awesome. Tim's an old friend of all of us, and it just made sense. It's been great ever since; it changed the band tremendously. We all get along a lot better. It could've been really traumatic, but, thank God, it wasn't. It's been easier than I could've ever imagined.

R: So are you happy with the record and Jade Tree's handling of your success?

JG: I love the record. I think it's the only thing I've ever done musically that I've been even remotely proud of. It was so much fun to record, I love all the songs, just a great experience overall.

Things are great at Jade Tree. As we've been growing, they're growing right with us at exactly the same rate. Every time there's something new that we need that we never needed before, they're like wanting to do it. Things change on a monthly basis, we kind of just go with it.

The Promise Ring is scheduled to perform on Monday, November 24, at Hollywood Alley in Mesa, with Jimmy Eat World. Call 820-7117 for showtime.

The Three Mousketeers
Because of perpetual manufacturing delays, Modest Mouse's new double album, The Lonesome Crowded West, won't hit stores until November 18, four days after the band's show in Tempe. Which is a serious bummer, 'cause The Lonesome Crowded West is unrivaled as Revolver's album of the year thus far.

The three skinny twentysomethings (barely) from Issaquah, Washington, known as Modest Mouse have created a monstrous opus that exemplifies the creative plateau of late '90s indie rock.

This is the sound of the young men, cynical and edgy, darkly humorous and insightful, concurrently passionate and apathetic; this band tells the story of its life through situational filters--stories of trailer-park kids trying to pass high school, rock dealers in parking lots, renegade cowboys and apostles selling the savior for rings and sandals "with the style and strap that clings best."

Isaac Brock, guitarist and vocalist of MM, has commandeered the guitar precocity of Built to Spill's Doug Martsch and the angular lyrical sense of the Pixies. The band's schizophrenic song stylings prohibit a comprehensive description of the band; The Lonesome Crowded West has tastes of trip-hop ("Heart Cooks Brain"), fiddle-fueled country ("Jesus Christ Was an Only Child"), acoustic antifolk ("Bankrupt on Selling") and some serious Sabbath-style fucking rock 'n' roll ("Shit Luck").

The band's talent for capturing the intensity and emotion of being young and going nowhere is demonstrated best in Isaac's dropout manifesto--"Well, I'll go to college and I'll learn some big words, and I'll talk real loud, goddamn right, I'll be heard; you'll remember the guy who said all those big words he must've learned in college." (Up Records, P.O. Box 21328, Seattle, WA 98111-3328)

Modest Mouse is scheduled to perform on Friday, November 14, at Boston's in Tempe, with 764-HERO, Carissa's Weird, and Les Payne Product. Showtime is 8:30 p.m.

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