Tag Archives: modest mouse

Blood Dust

Chiral Mad 3 is now available as an ebook, paperback, and limited edition signed hardback. Edited by Michael Bailey, this anthology includes what I consider to be my best short story (so far): “Blood Dust”. It’s about dogs that eat trash. Other things happen, too. I think. I don’t know, it’s been a while since I wrote it.

But I can say it was directly inspired by a Modest Mouse song called “Wild Pack of Family Dogs”. I recommend listening to the song before and after reading the story.

If you wanted a signed hardback, looks like there’s only 13 left. After that, you’re out of luck. Get one here. You can also buy an ebook or paperback from the same link. Or you can shop on Amazon, if you’re one of those…types.

Here’s a photo of my contributor copy, along with a print of Glen Chadbourne’s beautiful illustration that accompanies my story.

chiral mad 3

Also included in this massive, glorious anthology:

Introduction: Observations on Horror Burnout – Chuck Palahniuk

01. The Poetry of Life – Richard Chizmar
02. The Last Rung on the Ladder – Stephen King
03. A Rift in Reflection – Hal Bodner
04. Windows, Mirrors, Doors – Jason V Brock
05. Prayer – Mort Castle
06. The Agonizing Guilt of Relief (Last Days of a Ready-Made Victim) – Paul Michael Anderson
07. The Black Crow of Boddinstraße – Emily B. Cataneo
08. A Flash of Red – Erinn L. Kemper
09. Red Runner vs. The Surgeon, Issue 18 – Jessica May Lin
10. The Dead Collection – Mercedes M. Yardley
11. Watch Me – Meghan Arcuri
12. The Bigger Bedroom – Josh Malerman
13. That Perilous Stuff – Scott Edelman
14. Know Your Code – Ramsey Campbell
15. 3-Dot People – Gene O’Neill
16. Silver Thread, Hammer Ring – Gary A. Braunbeck
17. Those Who Watch From on High – Eric J. Guignard
18. Blood Dust – Max Booth III
19. The Offering on the Hill – Richard Thomas
20. The Whipping Girls – Damien Angelica Walters
21. Seconds – Jack Ketchum

01. Fair – P. Gardner Goldsmith
02. Fail-Safe – Jonathan Balog
03. Folie à Deux – Sydney Leigh
04. Reflecting on Reflections – Bruce Boston
05. Mirror Image – Marge Simon
06. Black River #1 – Elizabeth Massie
07. Prescience – Rose Blackthorn
08. The Speed of Sound – Ciarán Parkes
09. Welcome Home, Darling – Stephanie M. Wytovich
10. Whisper #1 (A Warning) – Erik T. Johnson
11. Whisper #2 (A Prophecy) – Erik T. Johnson
12. Put Me to Dream – Stephanie M. Wytovich
13. Recognizing Trees – Ciarán Parkes
14. Arbitration – Rose Blackthorn
15. Black River #2 – Elizabeth Massie
16. Reflections Through the Raven’s Eye – Marge Simon
17. Beyond Symmetry – Bruce Boston
18. Folie à Plusieurs – Sydney Leigh
19. Insomnia in Reverse – Jonathan Balog
20. Promise – P. Gardner Goldsmith


ba-bup bup bup ba-da-da da-dup dup dup da-da-da

A few days ago, after five years of silence, Modest Mouse announced a new album available for pre-order called Strangers to Ourselves.


This follow-up to 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank has been in the works for a long time now. Other Modest fans will know of the various rumors and announcements that have sporadically popped up since the release of their last EP, No One’s First, and You’re Next, back in 2009.

Various live tracks from concerts have been recorded over the years, and it was even rumored that Big Boi and Krist Novoselic both offered some services on the album. However, nothing concrete was ever really announced until this month when Modest Mouse mailed out their newest single, “Lampshades on Fire”, to a few members of a fan club message board. After the fans posted about their new packages, Modest Mouse suddenly became active on social media. Cryptic images were posted to their Instagram profile, and on Tuesday, “Lampshades on Fire” became available to purchase as a single track, along with pre-order options for the complete album, due to be released March 3, 2015.

I had heard live versions of “Lampshades on Fire” in the past, but it was a completely new experience listening to a cleaned-up produced version. I’ll be honest: the song is just all right, it didn’t blow me away or anything. My expectations are probably too high. The song has a catchy rhythm to it (ba-bup bup bup ba-da-da da-dup dup dup da-da-da) and some mildly clever lyrics, although again, it left me underwhelmed. That didn’t stop me from listening to it on repeat for several hours, though. I think the only Modest Mouse song I actually dislike is “Dance Hall”.

The announcement of Strangers to Ourselves was huge news for me, as I am the kind of deranged fan who has basically Googled for album news every day of my life for the past two years, always hoping for an update and always ending up disappointed. It got to the point that I was convinced the new album would never arrive. So yeah, I am pretty fucking stoked right now about this. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy. I chose the $60 CD/Hoodie combination, because I need a new jacket anyway, and that Modest Mouse hoodie is all kinds of rad. The album cover is decent, too. The image is a satellite aerial shot of Venture Out RV Resort in Mesa, Arizona.


Kind of reminds me a bit of Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs.

Music is a very important aspect of my life, which makes me sound like a pretentious asshole, I know, but hear me out. I am not saying this is untrue for anybody else on the planet. I am merely stating that I can’t live in silence. I need music playing almost constantly. And Modest Mouse? Fuck, they’ve been my go-to band since my friend ‘Anna DeVine introduced me to their song, “Satellite Skin”. I’ve yet to discover a lyricist more talented than Isaac Brock. Plus, I’ve learned that Modest Mouse is damn near perfect music to listen to while writing. Especially their The Moon & Antarctica album, which is pure euphoria.

Of course, my true obsession with the band didn’t really begin until 2011. I had been an idiot and OD’d, and as my brother rushed me to the hospital, “Float On” was playing in my headphones, which were still sticking into my ears. Fading in and out of consciousness, the song first served as background noise and then evolved into the main character of one of the most surreal fucking experiences of my life. I still get chills listening to that song, yet I keep coming back to it.

Strangers to Ourselves will be the first time Modest Mouse has released an album since I started listening to them. I couldn’t be more pumped for it. Oh, and also, it can’t be a coincidence that Modest Mouse’s first feature length album in eight years and my upcoming novel, How to Successfully Kidnap Strangers, both have the word “strangers” in the titles, plus they’re both being released around the same time. Nope. ‘Tis fate, darlings, ’tis fate.