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Random Rules: Isaac Brock

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The shuffler: Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse, who's currently at work on the follow-up to 2004's commercial breakthrough Good News For People Who Love Bad News. After shuffling, Brock revealed to The A.V. Club that he's been writing songs for the new record with former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr. We were shocked and delighted, too.

Frank Black, "The Vanishing Spies"

Isaac Brock: Not one of my favorite songs off that record, but it's not bad. His solo albums are kind of hit-or-miss. At first, I felt like it was kind of wanky in a weird way, and then after I listened to it, I was like, "This is fucking great." Most of the songs on Teenager Of The Year were pretty damn good, like that song "Headache." That's a fuckin' great song. Probably the reason I bought the record—actually, I was gonna buy the record whether there's any good songs on it or not. I fuckin' love that guy. I haven't bought the last couple he's done. I'm sure I will. I haven't really had time to be in a record store buying shit for a while, to be honest.

Grandaddy, "Laughing Stock"

IB: I really, really love a lot of Grandaddy stuff. This wouldn't be one of 'em. It's a little sleepy. Jim [Fairchild] from Grandaddy was playing with us live for a while; I'd like to keep that going on. He's a great dude. Did you ever hear the fuckin' record that they did as a joke? They gave it to their record label around the time The Sophtware Slump came out. [Recording under the name] Arm Of Roger, it was a joke that they did, but it's actually better than, I think, the record that they did put out. They turned it in as a joke and it's got some great songs, like "Robot Escort." It's fuckin' good stuff.


Butthole Surfers, "Negro Observer"

IB: This is a fucking amazing record [Psychic… Powerless… Another Man's Sac]. At points in time, I felt really uncomfortable listening to it, 'cause it's called "Negro Observer" and you're trying to read in, you know, what the fuck it's about. To this day I'm not sure, but it's one of those things where you can fill it in to make yourself feel good. Maybe it's about people watching over African-Americans and shit, being suspicious. Some of [the early Butthole Surfers albums were] just gross and comedy, but I think this record was really fucking solid. It's one of the better fucked-up punk records out. The guitar on that fucking record is really cool, the singing on it is fucking weird as hell. This album sounds like a cross between good punk and goth and cowboy music.


Grateful Dead, "Cumberland Blues"

IB: The only Grateful Dead album I own, Workingman's Dead, which has that song, "Ridin' that train, high on cocaine." I've always had a fucking real issue with the Dead, to be honest, because Dead fans, there's plenty of 'em, and they fucking suck. I found out a friend of mine had been to, like, 40 shows, which bothered me, but I really respect him, so I was like, "Okay, what's one record by the Grateful Dead that I should get that won't annoy me?" It's an all-right record, actually.

The Skatalites, "Don De Lion"

IB: I never actually listen to this for any reason except for background music, but The Skatalites are fucking good. I don't know much about them. I ended up buying a bunch of ska on vinyl. Pick a name, any miscellaneous ska name, or just make up a name that sounds like a ska band. That's about as much as I know about it.


Bedhead, "Parade"

IB: When I was a kid, this guy I knew, he lived in an apartment next to me, and I traded him some Screaming Trees singles for a Dodge Dart. I think I got the better deal; at times it's hard to tell. He had some skate 'zine, and he'd hand me a stack of cassettes and say, "Hey, would you review these for my 'zine?" I was like, "Yeah, free music!" One of those tapes was Bedhead's Whatfunlifewas, one of my favorite records. It's really beautiful. It's really gentle nice stuff, and somehow manages to maintain being gentle and rock really hard. I think I tried ripping off these guys' style on a song when I was 18. One of the other records I got turned out to be another of my favorite records of all time, Red Red Meat's Bunny Gets Paid.


Bob Dylan, "Gates Of Eden"

IB: What the fuck can you say? Bob Dylan.

Belle And Sebastian, "It Could Have Been A Brilliant Career"

IB: These guys have catchy songs. I just wish they weren't such a one-fuckin'-trick pony.


Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, "Bhindi Bhagee"

IB: This is a surprisingly good fucking record for where that guy was at in his career, especially considering all the world-music vibey attitude. You can completely fuck a record up by trying to get all international with it and start incorporating shit you have no understanding of. It starts feeling like some sort of TV teaser on the Discovery Channel or fuckin' National Geographic Channel for a vacation package, some shit like that. But this record was fucking great, a good one to just get stoned and fuckin' listen to.


Love As Laughter, "The Square"

IB: Love As Laughter is one of my favorite fucking bands, but I hate this song. Actually, hate's the wrong word. I just don't enjoy it. I fuckin' love so much of what that dude does. It's always kind of baffled me. I always felt like he was one of the more underrated songwriters out there, but this song doesn't fall into that category.


Daft Punk, "Phoenix"

IB: This is a fucking good one. It's a song of big ups. It's just a list of who's in the house, and it rules. I've never enjoyed hearing who's in the house more than I do on this song.


Andre Nickatina, "Ghost Of Fillmoe"

IB: A rapper from the Bay area… I think that's where he's from. I can't ever tell if I'm psyched or annoyed by the things that he uses as samples, like "Okay, Irish folk band with this weird dude rapping over it!" It's hard to tell sometimes if it's actually a good idea. Production level's a little low. It actually seems like he's involved in the production himself. Hats off, kudos, so on and so forth, but maybe he should call a friend. Get a little help fixing that up.