Field Mouse | photo by Sydney Schaefer for WXPN
The Key Studio Sessions: Field Mouse
Rachel Browne and her sister Zoë have called Philadelphia home for the past few years, and in a way, their asskicking indie rock crew Field Mouse has come with them.
Rachel founded the group in Brooklyn back in 2010, and three of her musical companions — guitarist Andrew Futral, bassist Saysha Heinzman and drummer Tim McCoy — still live there. It’s a band of two cities, and as Rachel told Bandcamp Daily earlier this year, both of those cities are equally important to her. Brooklyn is where everything started, it’s got deep nostalgic significance, and it’s also where a lot of her oldest friends reside. But Philly’s DIY music community has opened doors for Field Mouse in a way that they hadn’t previously experienced. “It’s just a lot easier to foster that here,” Browne told Bandcamp.
Around the time Rachel moved to Philly, Field Mouse’s TopShelf Records debut Hold Still Life made its way into the world. Not long after, they shared a bill at Johnny Brenda’s with local faves DRGN King, who were celebrating the album release of Baltimore Crush. A little further down the road, Field Mouse went on a U.S. tour with Hop Along, and then teamed up with guitarist Joe Reinhart back in Philly – he produced their third LP at Headroom Studio.
Episodic came out on TopShelf last month, and it’s wonderful. Think of it as a step into the light from Field Mouse’s earlier output…which is also great stuff, make no mistake, though very much adrift in the hazy tones and sonic textures of dreampop and shoegaze. The new album, by comparison, is all about directness, building upon and embracing the pop hooks Field Mouse hinted at on Hold Still Life — like really, wholly embracing them. “The Mirror” is a big and bold opening statement rooted in heartbreak and anger, with roaring guitars and a vocal that’s equal parts catchy and cathartic; the band absolutely demolishes it in their performance for the Key Studio Sessions.
On “Accessory,” Rachel laments feeling out of place and possibly unwelcome in a space that once felt safe and familiar — it’s got a jangling guitar lead, a snappy rhythm and a suave melody bolstering reflections on the ever-changingness of life. And then there’s the superbly catchy “The Order of Things,” which has a friendly Lemonheads by-way-of PS Eliot drive to it; Zoë and Rachel’s harmonies on this one positively soar.
This session captures the fierce, locked-in live band that Field Mouse is — it’s a strong case for why you should totally be there when their current tour with Cymbals Eat Guitars comes to Johnny Brenda’s on October 16th (tix and more info at the XPN Concert Calendar). It also is a nice sampling of the layers of pop and introspection you’ll find on Episodic – grab yourself a copy of the record here, and stream audio and video of their performance below.
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