Artists of the week: Modest Mouse
Modest Mouse was the first post-grunge underground American rock group to achieve a massive commercial success and definitely pave the way for other bands such as The Decembrists or Vampire Weekend to climb to the top of the Billboard charts in the new millenium.
The band was founded in 1993 by guitarist and vocalist Isaac Brock, bassist Eric Judy, and drummer Jeremiah Green. After a scrapped first album and a handful of singles and one obscure EP, Modest Mouse released within the space of 18 months two of the most celebrated and pervasive independent rock albums of their era: 1996’s This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About and 1997’s The Lonesome Crowded West. Their suburban white-trash attitude and down-to-earth ethos remained untouched with their major-label debut: 2000’s The Moon & Antarctica was not only a critical and commercial success as it grown out to be widely considered the artistic pinnacle of the band.
What followed was an unexpected mainstream success with SNL performances, Grammy nominations, hit singles, an album that topped the Billboard chart and over one million records sold. But what makes all this even more surprising is that both 2004’s Good News for People Who Love Bad News and 2007’s We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank are two strong entries in the band’s discography with little in common with the sounds that were selling big at the time.
After a long 8 year hiatus, Modest Mouse is finally back with Strangers To Ourselves, a nuanced, complex and rather thoughtful album that will not only please their fans but definitely conquer a new generation of listeners.
João Pedro da Costa is a web studies scholar and a music fan.