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Over the past quarter century, Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock has served as indie rock’s resident backwoods philosopher, pondering his infinitesimal place in the world at large and seeking balance in a universe governed by polar opposites. On Modest Mouse’s earliest records, he was surveying the changes in the world’s physical landscape from the windows of the tour van, lamenting the displacement of natural beauty with big-box blights. The Golden Casket, the band’s seventh-studio album, is exploring the degradation of America’s psychic landscape through the glass of the smartphone screen. Throughout the record, you’ll pick up on all sorts of references to cellular devices, hashtags, computers, texting, and online dating culture. Many of these songs can likewise be seen as attempts to coax peace from paranoia. You can hear it in the moment the apocalyptic blues of “Wooden Soldiers” dissolves into a blissfully existential coda mantra (”just being here now is enough for me”) that was inspired by the ceremonial burning of hallucogenic African tree bark, or in the off-kilter yet heart-swelling lullaby “Lace Your Shoes,” a.k.a. Isaac’s inaugural entry into the dad-core canon. Whether Isaac is singing about electromagnetic waves, taking his kids for a walk, or tripping balls in the forest, The Golden Casket is ultimately a plea for harmony—between nature and technology, between progress and self-preservation, between hope and healthy skepticism—in a world that has seemingly lost all sense of it. But as much as it laments our modern way of living, it keeps the tinfoil stowed away in the kitchen cabinet to highlight the silver linings of our situation. See more at modestmouse.com.
A portion of profits from the sale of Isaac Brock's strings go to The Ocean Cleanup: The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization developing and scaling technologies to rid the oceans of plastic. To achieve this objective, we have to work on a combination of closing the sources of plastic pollution and cleaning up what has already accumulated in the ocean and doesn’t go away by itself. This goal means we plan to put ourselves out of business – once we have completed this project, our work is done. See more at theoceancleanup.com.
Photo credit: Robin Laananen