Modest Mouse perform at Ridglea Theater Tuesday, March 16.
When I interviewed Modest Mouse front man Isaac Brock before the release of 2000's The Moon & Antarctica-- the band's major-label debut after a handful of indie releases that cultivated a very devoted following--I'm pretty sure I got stoned via secondhand smoke. We were hiding out from rabid fans in the MM van behind Chicago's Cabaret Metro, and Brock didn't take my bleary eyes as an invitation to roll the damn window down. Four years later, that episode makes more sense than it did then: Good News for People Who Love Bad News, Modest Mouse's forthcoming full-length, is a jam-happy hunk of down-home rustica more in tune with the soul of the hippie than the brain of the hipster. There's still plenty of Brock's signature guitar squall and loads of his mush-mouthed trailer-park jive, but the band's new songs also make room for scratchy fiddle whine, weird wind instrument wheeze and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's bong-water bleat. Onstage in New York last month, Brock and the boys sacrificed much of that backwoods detailing for a live whomp from their post-punk past, so I'd advise against heading to the Ridglea Tuesday night expecting an accurate preview of Good News. But do expect good news.