In 25 years, Modest Mouse has garnered a sizable following while amassing accolades like a Grammy nomination (for 2004’s platinum-selling Good News for People Who Love Bad News) and more than a dozen charting singles. The Seattle outfit even got former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr to join up for a while. When the band returns to Brooklyn Bowl on June 3, expect to hear such hits as “Float On” and “Dashboard.” But there’s a world of thoughtfully crafted music beyond the singles, including these five deeper cuts we’re hoping to hear.
“Beach Side Property” (This Is a Long Drive for Someone With Nothing to Think About, 1996) When Modest Mouse burst onto the indie scene in the mid-1990s, the genre was moving from basements toward the mainstream. In retrospect, the band’s debut can be interpreted as both a reaction and embodiment of the times. “Beach Side Property” is a lo-fi tapestry that gave the world both ends of the Modest Mouse spectrum—from Isaac Brock’s powerful, off-key yelps, to his intricate folk-guitar noodling over the second half of the song.
“Interstate 8” (Interstate 8 EP, 1996) Brock’s lyrics often pertain to traveling—perhaps as a homage to the fabled Beat Generation—and early Modest Mouse is chock-full of road references. “Interstate 8” is no different; it’s a downtempo, guitar bend-heavy tune about the boring, disorienting nature of being on tour.
“Sh*t Luck” (The Lonesome Crowded West, 1997) Like Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse experimented with rambunctiousness in its early years, as on this boisterous tune. Like the “plane” that’s “definitely crashing,” as outlined by Brock, “Sh*t Luck” is a noisy, feedback-ridden mishmash that playfully uses call-and-response between Brock’s yelps and raunchy guitar leads to create Modest Mouse’s loudest song as a band. In short, it’s a turbulent ride.
“Fire It Up” (We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, 2007) The band’s cult-like fanbase initially pegged this song as an ode to marijuana, but Brock later dismissed that, explaining that it’s about a “catastrophic car crash” instead. Equal parts folk twang and bona fide rock grandiosity, “Fire It Up” should inspire loud sing-alongs, should Modest Mouse decide to perform it.
“Sh*t in Your Cut” (Strangers to Ourselves, 2015) Modest Mouse returned in 2015 after an eight-year break to give us … another Modest Mouse album. Strangers to Ourselves, the band’s seventh full-length, presents the band in its most polished form, and though the record received mixed reviews from critics, it contains gems. “Sh*t in Your Cut” is an embodiment of the band’s growth from lo-fi folk-rockers to indie stalwarts with its layered instrumentation, matured songwriting and refined recording.
Modest Mouse with Morning Teleportation. June 3, 8 p.m., $55-$85. Brooklyn Bowl, 702-862-2695.