The Lonesome Crowded West

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The Lonesome Crowded West
Studio album by
ReleasedNovember 18, 1997
RecordedMay 22 – June 7, 1997
GenreIndie rock
Length73:58 (Standard)
78:02 (LP)
Modest Mouse chronology
The Fruit That Ate Itself
The Lonesome Crowded West
Night on the Sun
Singles from The Lonesome Crowded West
  1. "Heart Cooks Brain"
    Released: July 2, 1999

The Lonesome Crowded West is the second studio album by American rock band Modest Mouse, released on November 18, 1997, by Up Records. The two towers pictured on the album's cover are The Westin Seattle.[1]

The Lonesome Crowded West received positive reviews from critics, and appeared on several lists of the best albums of the 1990s. The album was reissued by Isaac Brock's Glacial Pace label in 2014, along with Modest Mouse's 1996 debut This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
The Austin Chronicle[3]
Chicago Tribune[4]
Pitchfork8.9/10 (1997)[7]
10/10 (2014)[8]
Rolling Stone[9]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[10]
The Village VoiceA−[12]

Blake Butler of AllMusic praised the album's diversity, noting the range of "quiet, brooding acoustics like 'Bankrupt on Selling' and dark and pounding thrashers like 'Cowboy Dan'", and called the album "indie rock at its very best."[2]

Pitchfork ranked The Lonesome Crowded West at number 29 in their list of the 100 greatest albums of the 1990s,[13] and the song "Trailer Trash" reached number 63 in their list of the 200 greatest songs of the decade.[14] Spin ranked the album at number 59 in their list of the 100 greatest albums of 1985–2005,[15] and Entertainment Weekly included the album in their list The Indie Rock 25.[16] The A.V. Club has described The Lonesome Crowded West as the band's breakthrough recording.[17] Sam Hockley-Smith, in a retrospective review for Stereogum, refers to The Lonesome Crowded West as "the album that made Modest Mouse a great band instead of just a good one" and writes that the primary theme of disillusionment in Brock's lyrics is "not pretty, but it's honest, and that honesty makes it beautiful, like Modest Mouse were desperately trying — and failing — to hold onto that last bit of naiveté."[18]

In June 2012, released a forty-five-minute documentary on the album. The documentary included archival footage taken during live performances and original recording/mix sessions.[19]

As of June 2000, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the album had sold over 60,000 copies in the United States.[20]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks are written by Modest Mouse

1."Teeth Like God's Shoeshine"6:53
2."Heart Cooks Brain"4:03
3."Convenient Parking"4:08
4."Lounge (Closing Time)"7:03
5."Jesus Christ Was an Only Child"2:36
6."Doin' the Cockroach"4:18
7."Cowboy Dan"6:14
8."Trailer Trash"5:49
9."Out of Gas"2:31
10."Long Distance Drunk"3:42
11."Shit Luck"2:22
12."Truckers Atlas"10:57
13."Polar Opposites"3:29
14."Bankrupt on Selling"2:53
15."Styrofoam Boots/It's All Nice on Ice, Alright"6:53

Vinyl edition[edit]

The double-vinyl edition released on Up Records includes an extra track; "Baby Blue Sedan", and a slightly re-ordered track listing. Rather than having a gatefold cover to house both records, or putting both records in a single cover, the double-vinyl release was shipped in two different covers. The 2014 vinyl reissue on Glacial Pace contains the same track listing and two-cover configuration.

Side one
1."Teeth Like God's Shoeshine"6:53
2."Heart Cooks Brain"4:03
3."Convenient Parking"4:08
4."Baby Blue Sedan"4:04
Side two
1."Jesus Christ Was an Only Child"2:36
2."Doin' the Cockroach"4:19
3."Cowboy Dan"6:15
4."Trailer Trash"5:50
Side three
1."Out of Gas"2:31
2."Long Distance Drunk"3:43
3."Shit Luck"2:23
4."Truckers Atlas"10:58
Side four
1."Polar Opposites"3:30
2."Bankrupt on Selling"2:54
3."Lounge (Closing Time)"7:04
4."Styrofoam Boots/It's All Nice on Ice, Alright"6:53


Modest Mouse
Additional personnel
  • DJ K.O. – phonogram player, k-ep 63 on "Heart Cooks Brain"
  • Dann Gallucci – guitar on "Trailer Trash" and "Bankrupt on Selling"
  • Tyler Reilly – fiddle on "Jesus Christ Was an Only Child"
  • Scott Swayze – guitar on "Convenient Parking" and "Lounge (Closing Time)"
  • Nicole Johnson – vocals
  • Chris Setton – vocals on "Lounge (Closing Time)"
  • Brian Weber – bartender
Production credits
  • Produced by Calvin Johnson, with Isaac Brock and Scott Swayze
  • Engineered by Scott Swayze
  • Recorded at Moon Music, except "Teeth Like God's Shoeshine," "Doin' the Cockroach," and "Cowboy Dan", recorded by Phil Ek at Avast and Jon & Stu's
  • Snow photos by Pat Graham
  • Other photos by I. Brock
  • Cover design by Pat Castaldo

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sadler, Denham (November 18, 2012). "15 Years On: Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West". Tone Deaf. Melbourne. Retrieved December 2, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Butler, Blake. "The Lonesome Crowded West – Modest Mouse". AllMusic. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  3. ^ Hess, Christopher (April 3, 1998). "Modest Mouse: The Lonesome Crowded West (Up)". The Austin Chronicle. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  4. ^ Roth, Jason (January 23, 1998). "Modest Mouse: The Lonesome Crowded West (Up)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved October 28, 2015.
  5. ^ Alexander, Jim (January 4, 1999). "Modest Mouse – The Lonesome Crowded West". NME. Archived from the original on October 8, 2000. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  6. ^ Spinelli, Adrian (November 11, 2014). "Modest Mouse: The Lonesome Crowded West Reissue Review". Paste. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  7. ^ "Modest Mouse: The Lonesome Crowded West: Pitchfork Review". Archived from the original on June 20, 2000. Retrieved 2023-07-27.
  8. ^ Howe, Brian (November 5, 2014). "Modest Mouse: This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About / The Lonesome Crowded West". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  9. ^ Fine, Jason (February 5, 1998). "The Lonesome Crowded West". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on December 17, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2015.{{cite magazine}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  10. ^ Harris, Keith (2004). "Modest Mouse". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. p. 551. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  11. ^ Cox, Ana Marie (February 1998). "Modest Mouse: The Lonesome Crowded West". Spin. 14 (2): 108. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  12. ^ Christgau, Robert (January 27, 1998). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  13. ^ "Pitchfork Media Top 100 Albums of the 1990s: 30–21". Pitchfork. November 17, 2003. Archived from the original on May 28, 2012. Retrieved October 21, 2012.
  14. ^ "The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s: 100–51". Pitchfork. September 1, 2010. Retrieved October 1, 2010.
  15. ^ "Spin's 100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005". Spin. June 20, 2005. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  16. ^ "The Indie Rock 25". Entertainment Weekly. March 19, 2008. Retrieved October 22, 2010.
  17. ^ "It Was 10 Years Ago Today: 18 Reasons 1997 Might Be The Next 1967". The A.V. Club. September 17, 2007. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  18. ^ Hockley-Smith, Sam (August 21, 2013). "Backtrack: Modest Mouse, The Lonesome Crowded West". Stereogum. Retrieved May 4, 2016.
  19. ^ " Presents Documentary on Modest Mouse's The Lonesome Crowded West". Pitchfork. June 18, 2010. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
  20. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (17 June 2000). "Epic to Mine Indie Base For Modest Mouse Set". Billboard. p. 24. Retrieved 8 September 2019.