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Modest Mouse

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Biography

Exploring a jagged, lo-fi post-rock after forming in the mid-'90s, Modest Mouse became unlikely chart-toppers with a volatile mix of punk-inspired rawness and simmering atmosphere in the following decade. The band first broke through to the mainstream audience with the platinum-selling Good News for People Who Love Bad News, their fourth full-length, in 2005. Johnny Marr, legendary guitarist with the Smiths, was an official member when they went all the way to number one with 2007's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank. Confirming their status as genuine rock stars, eight years later, 2015's Strangers to Ourselves reached number three on the Billboard 200 (without Marr). Modest Mouse was founded in 1993 by guitarist and vocalist Isaac Brock, bassist Eric Judy, and drummer Jeremiah Green. Brock, who had a nomadic childhood, was only 18 and living in a shed next to his mother's trailer home when Modest Mouse began working together, with the shed becoming the band's rehearsal space and base of operations. In 1994, Modest Mouse booked time at Calvin Johnson's Dub Narcotic Studio in Olympia, Washington to cut their first record, and Johnson released their debut 7", "Blue Cadet-3, Do You Connect?," on his K Records label. Modest Mouse soon began work on an album, but the project was abandoned and the material went unreleased until 2001, when it appeared on a collection called Sad Sappy Sucker. After releasing a handful of singles, Modest Mouse went into the studio with Johnson as producer to record an EP, The Fruit That Ate Itself, but by the time it was released, the group had already moved on to another Northwest-based indie label, Up Records. Released in 1996, This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About, produced in collaboration with Steve Wold (who would find fame a few years later as grizzled blues hobo Seasick Steve), was Modest Mouse's first proper album, and received enthusiastic reviews in the independent music press. In 1997, Modest Mouse returned with The Lonesome Crowded West, which earned more positive press and was a considerable sales success by indie label standards, supported by extensive touring. As Modest Mouse's following grew, they were courted by major-label scouts, and they eventually signed with Epic Records, who released The Moon & Antarctica in 2000. A collection of demos and session outtakes, Everywhere and His Nasty Parlour Tricks, was issued in 2001, and Brock released an album with his side project Ugly Casanova in 2002. In 2003, it was announced that drummer Green had left Modest Mouse; Benjamin Weikel of the Helio Sequence became the group's new percussionist (he also doubled on keyboards), and Dann Gallucci, who had been a guest guitarist on the sessions for Sad Sappy Sucker and The Lonesome Crowded West, became an official member of the band. The new lineup recorded 2004's Good News for People Who Love Bad News, which proved to be Modest Mouse's commercial breakthrough, rising to the Top 20 of the album charts, spawning the hit singles "Float On" and "Ocean Breathes Salty," and selling over a million copies as the band began headlining arenas. By the end of 2004, Green returned to Modest Mouse, and in 2006, after Gallucci left the group, the band recruited Johnny Marr to take his place for the recording of their next album. Marr not only appeared on 2007's We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, he became a full member of Modest Mouse and toured with the group in support of the album, which debuted at number one on the Billboard 200. In 2005, Brock had launched his own record label, Glacial Pace Records, saying the name reflected his own slow working habits; while Modest Mouse continued to play live shows, work on their next album progressed very gradually, and in 2009 they issued a collection of outtakes and non-LP single sides, No One's First, And You're Next, as a stopgap. A tour was launched in support, but as Marr had joined the Cribs, Jim Fairchild (who had worked with Grandaddy and All Smiles) became the group's new guitarist, and when Modest Mouse played a round of shows in 2012, they debuted a new lineup with the addition of second percussionist Joe Plummer. While Eric Judy was still an official member of the band, for some 2012 dates he was replaced by multi-instrumentalist Tom Peloso, who had been touring with the group as a sideman since 2004. In 2014, Modest Mouse issued the single "Lampshades on Fire" in anticipation of the release of their sixth studio album, Strangers to Ourselves, in March 2015. The song became their first alternative number one since "Float On," and the album returned them to the U.S. Top Three. Describing the follow-up as a companion album to Strangers to Ourselves, Brock and band issued lead single "Poison the Well" in March 2019. ~ Mark Deming & Marcy Donelson
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Top Tracks

  1.   Track
    Popularity
  2.   Float On
  3.   Dashboard
  4.   Ocean Breathes Salty
  5.   Lampshades on Fire
  6.   Missed the Boat
  7.   Polar Opposites
  8.   Out of Gas
  9.   Custom Concern
  10.   The World at Large
  11.   Paper Thin Walls
  12.   Fire It Up
  13.   Satellite Skin
  14.   The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box
  15.   Tiny Cities Made of Ashes
  16.   Never Ending Math Equation
  17.   Gravity Rides Everything
  18.   Trailer Trash
  19.   Heart Cooks Brain
  20.   Florida
  21.   Autumn Beds
  22.   3rd Planet
  23.   Bankrupt on Selling
  24.   The Good Times Are Killing Me
  25.   That'll Be the Day
  26.   Dramamine
  27.   Little Motel
  28.   The Whale Song
  29.   Wild Packs of Family Dogs
  30.   Perfect Disguise
  31.   Broke
  32.   We've Got Everything
  33.   Poison the Well
  34.   Dog Paddle
  35.   Truckers Atlas
  36.   Bukowski
  37.   Shit Luck
  38.   Parting of the Sensory
  39.   Teeth Like God's Shoeshine
  40.   Fly Trapped in a Jar
  41.   March into the Sea
  42.   Blame It on the Tetons
  43.   Dig Your Grave
  44.   Night on the Sun
  45.   Medication
  46.   Convenient Parking
  47.   So Much Beauty in Dirt
  48.   Education
  49.   Satin in a Coffin
  50.   Steam Engenius
  51.   The Best Room
  52.   Sleepwalkin'
  53.   Coyotes
  54.   Dark Center of the Universe
  55.   A Life of Arctic Sounds
  56.   Tundra/Desert
  57.   Make Everyone Happy/Mechanical Birds
  58.   The View
  59.   This Devil's Workday
  60.   Willful Suspension of Disbelief
  61.   Lives
  62.   It Always Rains On A Picnic
  63.   Ansel
  64.   King Rat
  65.   Spitting Venom
  66.   I've Got It All (Most)
  67.   One Chance
  68.   The Cold Part
  69.   Other People's Lives
  70.   Whenever You Breathe Out, I Breathe in (Positive Negative)
  71.   A Different City
  72.   Breakthrough
  73.   I'm Still Here
  74.   Of Course We Know
  75.   The Tortoise and the Tourist
  76.   Black Cadillacs
  77.   Dance Hall
  78.   3 Inch Horses, Two Faced Monsters
  79.   What People Are Made Of
  80.   I Came as a Rat
  81.   Alone Down There
  82.   Baby Blue Sedan
  83.   Workin' On Leavin' the Livin'
  84.   Whenever You See Fit
  85.   Grey Ice Water
  86.   Cowboy Dan
  87.   Doin' the Cockroach
  88.   Summer
  89.   Dirty Fingernails
  90.   Space Travel Is Boring
  91.   Sleepwalking (Couples Only Dance Prom Night)
  92.   All Night Diner
  93.   Ohio
  94.   Novocain Stain
  95.   Beach Side Property
  96.   Lounge
  97.   Interstate 8
  98.   Horn Intro
  99.   Whenever I Breathe Out/Positive Negative
  100.   She Ionizes & Atomizes
  101.   Might
  102.   Of Course We Know - Commentary
  103.   The Best Room - Commentary
  104.   The Tortoise and the Tourist - Commentary
  105.   Be Brave - Commentary
  106.   Ansel - Commentary
  107.   Shit in Your Cut - Commentary
  108.   Lampshades On Fire - Commentary
  109.   Strangers to Ourselves - Commentary
  110.   Sugar Boats
  111.   Strangers to Ourselves
  112.   Dead End Job At the Dead Letter Office
  113.   Fruit (Untitled)
  114.   SWY
  115.   BMX Crash
  116.   Buttons To Push the Buttons
  117.   People as Places as People
  118.   White Lies, Yellow Teeth
  119.   Sin Gun Chaser
  120.   Call To Dial A Song
  121.   Blue Cadet-3, Do You Connect?
  122.   Race Car Grin You Ain't No Landmark
  123.   Mice Eat Cheese
  124.   Every Penny Fed Car
  125.   Think Long
  126.   Dukes Up
  127.   Path Of Least Resistance
  128.   From Point A To Point B
  129.   Classy Plastic Lumber
  130.   Wagon Ride Return
  131.   Four Fingered Fisherman
  132.   The Air
  133.   You're the Good Things
  134.   The Stars Are Projectors
  135.   Jesus Christ Was an Only Child
  136.   Head South
  137.   Edit the Sad Parts
  138.   Exit Does Not Exist
  139.   Talking Shit About a Pretty Sunset
  140.   The Waydown
  141.   Sunspots In The House Of The Late Scapegoat
  142.   The Fruit That Ate Itself
  143.   Red Hand Case
  144.   Pups to Dust - Commentary
  145.   Australopithecus
  146.   Sucker Bet
  147.   Wicked Campaign
  148.   Invisible
  149.   Birds Vs. Worms
  150.   Karma's Payment
  151.   Secret Agent X-9
  152.   God Is an Indian and You're an Asshole
  153.   Here It Comes
  154.   Woodgrain
  155.   Interlude (Milo)
  156.   Coyotes - Commentary
  157.   Sugar Boats - Commentary
  158.   The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box - Commentary
  159.   Long Distance Drunk
  160.   Wicked Campaign - Commentary
  161.   Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996) - Commentary
  162.   Pistol (A. Cunanan, Miami, FL. 1996)
  163.   Sunspots (Untitled)
  164.   Bury Me with It
  165.   Styrofoam Boots/It's All Nice on Ice, Alright
  166.   Be Brave
  167.   Perpetual Motion Machine
  168.   Life Like Weeds
  169.   5-4-3-2-1... Lisp Off