Modest Mouse rebounds after eight-year lull with Strangers to Ourselves
Modest Mouse introduced new album Strangers to Ourselves by issuing the Epic Records project’s first single, ‘Lampshades on Fire,’ back in December. The song that's graced Modest Mouse live sets since 2011 is currently No. 3 on the Mediabase Alternative airplay chart. It also represents the first time the veteran band has ever topped Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs chart. Strangers to Ourselves is the sixth Modest Mouse album and follow up to 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank—marking the longest the indie rockers from Issaquah, Wash., have ever gone between studio albums.
Fan club members were treated to a limited number of 45 RPM test pressings before the official release of ‘Lampshades on Fire,’ which Rolling Stone calls a “frenetic onslaught of paranoia, silliness, endlessly elastic rhythms and swirling guitars—all of which adds up to some classic Modest Mouse.” The review adds that frontman Isaac Brock’s self-penned chorus lament of “Ain't it hard feeling tired all the time?” captures both the singer’s “restless state of mind” and “the feeling you get from listening to him zip through his every worry like a broken carnival ride.”
Second single, ‘Coyotes,’ was made available for download in January, and the album’s third single release titled, ‘The Best Room,’ was issued in early February. ‘The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box’ was dropped as the set’s fourth single. The remaining tracklist for the 15-song Strangers to Ourselves—featuring an aerial view of an RV resort as the album's cover photo—is rounded out by the title track and the cuts ‘S**t in Your Cut,’ ‘Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996),’ ‘Ansel,’ ‘Pups to Dust,’ ‘Sugar Boats,’ ‘Wicked Campaign,’ ‘Be Brave,’ ‘God is an Indian and You re an A**hole,’ ‘The Tortoise and the Tourist,’ and ‘Of Course We Know.’
Modest Mouse cancelled its 2013 U.K. and European tour in order to finish Strangers to Ourselves. The band was set to perform at a series of European venues and festivals, but opted out because the recording had fallen behind schedule. “After much thought, we have decided to cancel our EU/UK tour to continue work on our forthcoming album," read a message to fans posted on ModestMouse.com. Brock also took time in 2011 to compose the score for the movie “Queens of Country,” which features Tool's Maynard James Keenan.
Modest Mouse is set to launch a mini-tour of U.S. venues and festivals that begins Mar. 7 at the Gasparilla Music Festival in Tampa, Fla., followed by a Mar. 17 guest appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The U.S. concerts lead up to a four-date stand at the Firefly Festival in Dover, Del. (Jun. 18-21). The band then heads overseas to appear at the Tinderbox Festival in Odense, Denmark (Jun. 26) as well as the Open'er Festival in Poland (Jul. 1) and T In The Park in Perth, Scotland (Jul. 12). Modest Mouse returns to North America for the Forecastle Festival in Louisville, Ky. (Jul. 19) and the HomeAway Music and Arts Festival in Oro-Medonte, Ontario, Canada (Jul. 25).
Watch Modest Mouse perform ‘Lampshades on Fire,’ the first single off the new album by Modest Mouse titled, Strangers to Ourselves.
As A Matter of Fact…
* Modest Mouse was founded in 1993 by vocalist-guitarist Isaac Brock along with bassist Eric Judy, and drummer Jeremiah Green. Brock was only 18 when the band began rehearsing in an old shed next to a trailer he shared with his mother.
* In 1994, Modest Mouse booked time at Calvin Johnson's Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Wash., to cut their first record. The band’s debut single, ‘Blue Cadet-3, Do You Connect?,’ was released on Johnson’s K Records label, but a subsequent album project was abandoned.
* After releasing a handful of singles, Modest Mouse released the EP, The Fruit That Ate Itself, which was again produced by Johnson. The group then moved to Northwest-based indie label Up Records to release the 1996 album, This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About.
* The band’s mounting popularity motivated the 1997 release of The Lonesome Crowded West, which became a commercial and critical success by indie standards. Major labels soon came calling and Modest Mouse signed with Epic Records, releasing The Moon & Antarctica in 2000.
* A collection of demos and session outtakes called Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks was issued in 2001 along with unreleased material from the abandoned 1994 album project titled, Sad Sappy Sucker.
* A new Modest Mouse lineup was backing up Brock by 2004 when Good News for People Who Love Bad News was released, marking the band’s commercial breakthrough. The album features the No. 1 Billboard Alternative Songs chart single ‘Float On’ as well as the Top 10 alternative hit ‘Ocean Breathes Salty.’
* Brock launched his own record label in 2005 called Glacial Pace Records, and the 2007 album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank topped the Billboard 200. The album had both alternative and mainstream chart success with the No. 5 alternative chart single, ‘Dashboard,’ which also peaked at No. 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.