Sharpen Your Teeth, Reissue 2LP 180g Black Vinyl
Ugly Casanova is Isaac Brock, of Modest Mouse. Or, possibly, it is a mysterious savant named Edgar Graham, who imposed himself on Modest Mouse at the Denver show of the band’s 1998 tour, introduced himself as Ugly Casanova, and, through a haze of unnerving instability, shared some rough songs with the band. His songs, though delivered hesitantly… shamefully, even… displayed unmistakable talent. By the end of Modest Mouse’s tour, Casano- va, with much reluctance, was persuaded to record some of these songs and hand them over to record labels for issue as singles or parts of compilations. Predictably, immediately after he had done so, he disappeared.
Other than a sheaf of ramblings delivered to Modest Mouse’s singer Isaac Brock in the summer of 1999 that then inspired that band’s The Moon and Antarctica nothing had been heard from Casanova in years and those that still thought of him grew fewer. Then in November of 2001, a faded and water-damaged bundle was discovered among a stack of old packages during one of those general decontamination purges that so often follows a mail scare. Addressed simply to “Sub Pop, Seattle, WA,” there was little evidence of its origin. Inside, swathed in tape, Silly Putty and pelts of three identifiable rodents was a greeting from the long-lost Graham. Numerous tapes and a list of requests that alternated between raving demands for destruction of said tapes and meek pleas for recognition of their contents were extracted from the mess of the package. Fortunately Sub Pop recognized that the tapes held promise, and released them in 2002 as Sharpen Your Teeth.
Until such time as Graham/Casanova resurfaces to take credit for his work and add a bit more to whatever understanding of him still exists, Sharpen Your Teeth will have to suffice. Produced by Brian Deck and Isaac Brock at Glacial Pace Studios (Oregon), Ugly Casanova’s songs are here performed by Misters Brock and Deck, as well as John Orth (Holopaw), Tim Rutili (Califone, Red Red Meat), Pall Jenkins (The Black Heart Procession), and a handful of like-minded collaborators. This 2015 vinyl edition includes four bonus tracks originally released on 7” singles which have been out-of-print for years.