Chicago – Bands, just like the people in them and the relationships surrounding them, change and grow over time. The evolution is normal and necessary. For fans, it is also beautiful to watch. Lovers of Field Mouse have had the pleasure of seeing the dream pop band grow immensely since its creation in 2010 and the release of debut LP You Are Here. Field Mouse was started by Rachel Browne (vocals/guitar) and Andrew Futral (guitar), who met in college and collaborated musically for Browne’s senior project at SUNY Purchase. Eventually the band grew, with the addition of Saysha Heinzman (bass), Tim McCoy (drums), and Browne’s sister Zoë Browne (synth/rhodes/vocals).
The band’s sophomore album, Hold Still Life, was again written, recorded, engineered and produced by Rachel Browne and Andrew Futral. The two were able to do so thanks to their fans donating money through the crowd-funding website Kickstarter. Around the time of Hold Still Life’s 2014 release, Field Mouse experienced another growth spurt of sorts, when the band signed to Topshelf Records. During this time, Browne also moved to Philly, leaving the band in an interesting and unique situation, in that its members don’t all reside in the same city. The Browne sisters live in Philly, while the rest of the band lives in Brooklyn, and Rachel and Zoë travel back and forth to Brooklyn, where the band practices. This no doubt has been another growth process, but Browne assures “it’s fine,” plus for the sisters, it’s nice to get away to New York and visit family who live near by.
Now Field Mouse is preparing to release album number three, Episodic, which features the band’s latest single “The Order Of Things.” Episodic is due out August 5th via Topshelf. Like the band’s previous albums, Episodic was written by Browne and Futral. However, this is the first album that the entire band has played on. Episodic also saw Field Mouse joining forces with Hop Along’s Joe Reinhart on production. Browne said this change made the recording a “very fun studio experience” and it felt more “of a team dynamic.”
Browne and the rest of Field Mouse also collaborated with other artists for the recording of Episodic: Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz, Allison Crutchfield of Waxahatchee and Swearin’, and Joseph D’Agostino of Cymbals Eat Guitars. All three musicians are Browne’s good friends. Dupuis had been subletting in Philly, so she stopped by the studio for a couple of days, Crutchfield came by to do some harmonies, and D’Agostino – who is Browne’s boyfriend – had agreed early on to “do some guitar stuff.” Browne said she loves how all the songs came out and is grateful her talented friends graced the recordings.
Having her friends and full band along for the ride definitely brought happiness to an album that was written through a “twelve month period which delivered sudden family illness and a deteriorating relationship.” Browne talked in-depth with Best New Bands of her experience, but before doing so, she prefaced with the words, “Everything is okay, now.” Browne told BNB:
Last August my younger sister was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer, out of nowhere. Everyone in my family is really close, so everyone’s lives just went on hold. It was really scary and intense. She went into chemo. She lives in New York but was staying in Connecticut with our parents. I was going back and forth, to and from Philly and Connecticut, every other weekend, for a number of months. Simultaneously, the relationship I was in hadn’t been working out. It really took a nose dive around that time. It was just sort of an unbelievably stressful time – like I couldn’t believe what was going on. It almost didn’t even seem real, how much bad stuff was happening at the same time, and I ended up doing a lot of writing, sort of more vaguely, at first, but a little more specifically later. I definitely used writing as a way to deal, which is super trite, but it does help.
On her most recent test, Browne’s sister was shown to be free of cancer. Browne and her family have begun to heal, and Browne’s life has been looking up, with a new album and a new boyfriend in tow, she seems to now be embracing the tragedy, helping her grow as a person, which of course leads to Field Mouse maturing yet again. Her emotional struggles and the resulting maturity can be heard throughout Episodic. The single “Out of Context” (which features Allison Crutchfield) is a prime example. Half of the song was taken from a poem Browne wrote discussing her experiences with derealization and anxiety, withdrawal from anxiety medication, and coping with Lyme disease. The other half speaks of her having feelings for D’Agostino while they were still friends and the confusion that came with those emotions.
Another single, “The Mirror,” was inspired by Browne’s breakup. Lyrically it was written immediately after the breakup, but the song came together later, when Browne discovered her ex had begun dating someone else… but still had his belongings at her place. She channeled her anger into creating a melodic, yet fuzzy and angsty beauty of a song, where she snidely asks, “You want to see ego?” before forewarning “I’ve held it up enough.”
You want to see Field Mouse? In celebration of Episodic‘s release, Field Mouse is hitting the road. The band will be touring throughout the States. A full list of tour dates is listed below.
Field Mouse Tour Dates
Aug 04 - Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle (Record release show w/ Swanning, Missing Earth)
Aug 06 - Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade (Record release show w/ GROOMS, Leapling)
Aug 09 - Hamden, CT @ The Ballroom at The Outer Space (w/ Best Coast)
Sep 08 - Allston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall (w/ The Anniversary, Laura Stevenson)
Sep 18 - Washington, DC @ DC9 *
Sep 19 - Raleigh, NC @ Kings *
Sep 20 - Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn *
Sep 21 - Orlando, FL @ Will’s Pub *
Sep 22 - Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder *
Sep 24 - Dallas, TX @ Three Links *
Sep 25 - Austin, TX @ The Sidewinder *
Sep 27 - Phoenix, AZ @ The Rebel Lounge *
Sep 28 - San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar *
Sep 29 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo *
Sep 30 - Pomona, CA @ Acerogami *
Oct 01 - San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall *
Oct 03 - Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge *
Oct 04 - Vancouver, BC @ The Cobalt *
Oct 05 - Seattle, WA @ Barboza *
Oct 07 - Salt Lake City, UT @ Metro Bar *
Oct 08 - Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge *
Oct 09 - Omaha, NE @ Reverb Lounge *
Oct 10 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry *
Oct 11 - Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle *
Oct 12 - Ferndale, MI @ The Loving Touch *
* = w/ Cymbals Eat Guitars
Episodic is set for release on August 5th and can be pre-ordered via Topshelf Records. Follow Field Mouse on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez
After attending The School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Sarah went on to study education at Dominican University, earning a degree in history. When not teaching, writing, or taking in a show, she is most likely to be found with a camera to her eye or hanging out in a darkroom.
You can follow Sarah Hess on twitter at @Sarahhasanh and view her music photography on her website: smhimaging.com.