A coyote on the MAX in 2002.
  • A coyote on the MAX in 2002.
In the new clip for their song "Coyotes," Modest Mouse's videographers have recreated a somewhat infamous incident in 2002, in which a wild coyote climbed aboard the MAX Light Rail at Portland International Airport. Unlike in real life—that coyote was captured by the Port of Portland's wildlife team and escorted off the train before it left the station—this coyote gets a full ride through the city, in a MAX carriage all to himself. Presumably filmed with either a domesticated coyote or a coyote-resembling dog (I hope), the video is an eye-pleasing tribute to both Portland and coyote lovers.

The song itself is a drowsy waltz in keeping with Modest Mouse's earlier work, and is sumptuously produced, with echoey guitars lurching in and out of the landscape. It's a beautiful recording, with lyrics that—in broad strokes—are seemingly about mankind's tricky, sometimes contentious relationship with nature. The song will be available as a digital download starting tomorrow and, of course, will appear on Modest Mouse's upcoming album, Strangers to Ourselves, which comes out March 3. The first 2,500 vinyl pre-orders of the album contain a 7-inch that includes "Coyotes" on the B-side to "Lampshades on Fire," the album's other advance track (check it out here).

The coyote/MAX incident was famously documented in another song by a Portland powerhouse group: Sleater-Kinney's "Light Rail Coyote," from their 2002 album One Beat. More about that here.

Coincidentally, Modest Mouse's song and video also comes on the heels of the heartwarming news of a Seattle dog who takes the bus to the dog park all by herself.