When someone who is widely considered to be an indie pioneer in a band does an interview in the Wall Street Journal and pretty much states that he couldn’t care less about you, or anything for that matter, it makes you feel pretty weird. And Isaac Brock’s apathetic words couldn’t come at a stranger time. Last week, Rob Crow, the creative force behind the beloved Pinback announced that he was quitting music because it was financially irresponsible and downright terrible for his psyche. SO, what the fuck is going on? We are in the midst of a full-blown emo resurgence where every band I used to love is reuniting for what should be called “The Mortgage Tour”, but the indie varsity football players who schooled us all from the beginning, are straight up walking off the field with their middle fingers in the air.
I can’t make any sense of it. One minute it seems like our ‘scene’ is stronger than ever, and you can actually make a viable living off of selling records in the thousands quantities rather than the millions. And the next minute, people are literally saying, “Fuck this”. I can’t be mad at either side, though. If you can make a grip of cash to provide for your growing family, then hell, do it. If you can’t make enough money to provide for that same family, then by all means, spend your time doing something more lucrative. Long gone are the days of anyone even uttering the words ‘sell out’ and at the end of the day, we’ve all got to eat.
The climate has changed so much in the 20 years that Modest Mouse has been a band. If you talk with earlier indie bands like Engine Down, they’ll tell you stories of scamming grocery stores on tour by finding receipts in parking lots, finding the same item in the store, and getting a refund. And if you peek into the day-to-day lives of newer bands on tour (via YouTube or Instagram) you’ll see a completely different scenario. Food is a disposable plaything, something that can be thrown at someone or something for pure visual and video enjoyment.
My grandmother had a serious habit of stealing condiments from restaurants, and I never judged too harshly when she used canned milk for her coffee, even when it was clear (to me) that we were not heading back to a WWII lifestyle. But, as she put those plastic wrapped ketchup packets in her purse she would shrug her shoulders and say, “You never know…” Strangers To Ourselves is a solid, standard, Modest Mouse record. If you’ve grown to love the twangy twang of Brock’s voice paired with soaring notes on delay, then this record will easily slide into your current rotation, or into your purse along with some stolen ketchup packets.
Buy it, Stream it, Skip it: Buy it. The production alone is worth your hard earned cash.