Chart-a-thon 2023Releases

Chart-a-Thon 2023, Day 12, Slot 2: A Modest Game of Cat and Mouse

Hey everyone, jphn here!

For my first-ever solo Chart-a-thon release, I’ve decided to spotlight two of my all-time favorite artists, inspired by their recent co-headlining tour alongside alt-rock legends Pixies – Cat Power and Modest Mouse! I’m sure Modest Mouse needs no introduction to those entrenched in the customs scene – phenomenal indie band led by the talented Isaac Brock, known primarily for their mainstream hit “Float On” which is also featured on the Rock Band 2 setlist, tons of customs already on the database, so on and so forth. If you’ve somehow never heard of them, the songs in this pack will be a great place to start!

For the Modest Mouse portion of this pack, I’ve fleshed out a bit of their earlier discography and filled in some of the loose ends from 2004’s “Good News for People Who Love Bad News,” arguably their biggest album, and the first marking a transition in their sound that has persisted ever since. Starting chronologically, despite hailing from different single and EP releases, the following three songs can all be found on the 2000 compilation release “Building Nothing Out of Something,” which many consider to be as strong as their other albums from the time. The incredible B-Side to “Broke,” “Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe In,” the uncharacteristically romantic duet “Sleepwalking,” and the brilliant A-Side “Never Ending Math Equation” are not only personal favorites of mine, but they pair somewhat well with some of the Cat Power songs found later in this pack. For “Good News,” I’ve chosen the raw and aggressive (akin to their older stuff) “Bury Me With It” and the dark folk dirge “Bukowski” – quite possibly my favorite Modest Mouse song, so I’m especially happy to have that here for you all!

Tempo Map by MrPrezident
Guitar and Bass by UngratefulDead
Guitar and Bass by UngratefulDead

Although she opened for Modest Mouse when they toured together, it felt right to give Cat Power the “headlining” spot, so to speak, as this will primarily act as her full Rock Band introduction (aside from “He War,” which I just released in the first part of Indie of the 21st Century!) Known primarily for her somber, blues-inspired playing style and usage of double-tracked vocals (very similar to early Modest Mouse!), singer-songwriter Chan Marshall has a fairly expansive discography, but I felt it was most fitting to focus on her bigger hits and earlier singles this time around. While some of these songs might not be ideal for Rock Band, as it was also common for her early releases to lack bass parts entirely, they’re all still a ton of fun to play!

Starting in 1996, we have “Nude as the News,” her first single on Matador Records featuring propulsive drumming from Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth! During recent live sets, she combines this song with “Cross Bones Style,” the only song on 1998’s “Moon Pix” to get a music video. I feel as though this song is most representative of Cat Power’s general style – hauntingly hypnotic in its simplicity, and incredibly vulnerable and beautiful as a result. As it goes, this style also lends itself to transformative covers – in fact, she knows this quite well, as she has four cover albums, including her most recent song-for-song recreation of Bob Dylan’s 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert. Her most well-known cover by far thanks to its inclusion in the 2007 film Juno is “Sea of Love,” which is the first Cat Power song I ever heard and why I’ve chosen to include it here despite it only featuring guitar and vocals, other than it simply being short and sweet. Although “He War” is the most popular single from 2003’s “You Are Free,” the upbeat loop-driven “Free” was the first to be released, and it’s a really fun tune despite it not picking up the same amount of traction. Finally, ending with what is quite possibly her greatest hit, I’ve included 2006’s aptly-titled masterpiece of melancholy “The Greatest!” Featured on the album of the same name, it was her first to incorporate orchestral full-band arrangements, therefore making this the only Cat Power song in the pack to include a bass part!

Thanks again to UngratefulDead for charting guitar and bass for both of the “Good News” tracks, and MrPrezident for tempo-mapping “Whenever You Breathe Out” and for reviewing harmonies on “Cross Bones Style!”

Check out the songs here!

If you enjoyed this release, please consider donating to the National Down Syndrome Society if you can! It isn’t required by any means, but it supports a phenomenal cause by empowering individuals with Down syndrome and their families!

Coming up next is Yaniv297 with another artist-centered pack you will not want to miss – it’s seriously incredible. Enjoy the songs!

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  1. As soon as I saw the pack name I got quite excited haha, this is awesome! I love Modest Mouse and will be downloading all of those tracks to play (fully agree with Building Nothing Out Of Something being just as good as the studio albums, I love that album to death). And I’m also super excited for this “debut” of Cat Power (of course I’ve already downloaded He War), I am a big fan of Cat Power, especially the earlier stuff, so seeing Nude as the News is quite exciting. But all of these Cat Power picks are fantastic and I cannot wait to play them. So thank you so much for all the hard work involved!

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