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The cover art of Modest Mouse

The cover art of Modest Mouse — Frontman Isaac Brock explains the band’s unconventional aesthetic

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Alt-rock band Modest Mouse have two rules for album art: No pics of people’s faces (even the band’s), and ”everything has to tie together into a theme, even if it’s not obvious,” says frontman Isaac Brock. On the occasion of their new CD, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, Brock explains some of their artwork.

1. WE WERE DEAD BEFORE THE SHIP EVEN SANK (2007)
”The picture on the cover is a hot-air balloon with an anchor instead of a basket. It’s an idea I came up with because it represents stasis — the balloon will never go up or down. It’s just a general feeling I have about everything: Every time we seem to cure or solve something, another problem pops up.”

2. GOOD NEWS FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE BAD NEWS (2004)
”We showed up at our practice space one day and this artist friend put this on the wall — white arrows bleeding pink blood. We ended up re-creating it for the cover, because for us it kind of represented the mix of weird, good, and bad s— that was going on at that time.”

3. THE MOON & ANTARCTICA (2000)
”We hired Simon Larbalestier, who did a lot of the Pixies’ [covers]. He shot these two guys in white suits shaking hands. The idea was that the hands would represent the meeting of these two sterile things: the moon and Antarctica.”

4. THE LONESOME CROWDED WEST (1997)
”This cover makes a very direct connection to the title, because you have these giant apartment towers, but there’s no actual human beings in them. It’s crowded but lonesome.”