Monthly Archives: July 2011

“Post-rock” Recommendations Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

Last week, I left you with some recommendations, and got a ton of views and and favorable reviews of the post, so today will bring about the next installment of recommendations. We’ll see if this ends the series, it depends on how many bands I feel like recommending. Let’s do this thing!

Maserati 

These guys have rapidly risen to the top of my favorites list. With 3 full length albums and plenty of EPs, there is no shortage of their awesome work, and it’s all pretty great. I feel like their shining albums are Inventions for the New Seasons and Pyramid of the Sun, but Passages is nothing to scoff at either. They focus on great, driving beats and riffs soaked in delay to perfection. Just great stuff all around.

Stuff to listen for: The drumming of the sadly deceased Jerry Fuchs on all of the Pyramid of the Sun album. Incredible stuff, and his passing was definitely a tragedy.

If These Trees Could Talk 

This band is actually what inspired me to write this series of posts. I mentioned that I had been listening to them, and a couple folks thanked me for introducing them to the band. They feel fairly bass driven, which is always a bonus in my book. They have one EP and one full length, I recommend getting both and running them back to back. I’ve been known to to put that list on repeat. It’s just that good.

Stuff to listen for: One of their best tracks, hands down, is “What’s in the Ground Belongs to You” on Above the Earth, Below the Sky. The bass riffs are great, excellent drumming, and fantastic guitar work.

Pelican 

Pelican is another band similar to Russian Circles. More post-metal type than post-rock. But all sorts of awesome. Plus, they have a very, very unique habit of doing an acoustic interlude in their albums, which always provides a neat bit of texture to the albums. I have only listened to their older albums, Australasia and The Fire in our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw, are short in song numbers, but the epics they wind are fantastic in their own right. If those albums are any indication, their stuff is incredible.

Stuff to listen for: Sit down and listen to these albums straight through. The art of telling a story with music is a lost art, but Pelican does a great job recapturing that.

Explosions in the Sky 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t recommend these guys. One, they’re Texas natives, which is a good start, but they are considered some of the heaviest hitters in the post-rock genre. Known for writing pretty much the whole soundtrack of the movie Friday Night Lights, among other things, I guess you could say they’re kind of a big deal. Unlike most of the other bands I’ve recommended, these guys focus on more wandering guitar work, so they’re not on the top of my list, but they’re great in their own right.

Stuff to listen for: Check out the album Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever. Any time an album leads to 9/11 conspiracies, it has to be at least worth a listen or two.
Like I mentioned last week, I recommend a good sound system for this stuff. You’ll get somuch more out of the music if you can hear the intricacies of the bass from Maserati or Pelican. This should be a decent little launching pad for an introduction to the genre. From there, I suggest taking some of those bands you liked from the list and plugging them into last.fm for recommended artists. It’s how I find a good deal of the music I listen to, and it’s hard to go wrong with anything in this genre.

But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.

 

 

 

“Post-rock” Recommendations Part 1

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of ambient/post-rock music, and it seems that every time I mention a band on twitter, someone says “thanks for telling me about them!” So I figured I might as well put together a list of what’s been playing on my list lately.

First, though, a quick disclaimer: I’m going to use the term “post-rock” with a very, very broad stroke. Some of these bands (Russian Circles, for instance) don’t quite fit into the category, but for simplicity’s sake, I’m gonna lump them in. Nothing personal, just an ease of categorization thing. Honestly, so many bands these days transcend so many different genres that it feels the whole classification thing is becoming a moot point, but that’s neither here nor there.

Without further ado:

Red Sparowes

Why am I starting with Red Sparowes? Because it’s what’s playing as I write this. They have 3 full length albums, spanning from 2005 to 2010. I can actually say I haven’t listened to The Fear is Excruciating, but Therein Lies the Answer yet, but it’s right on my list. Long, ambient albums is Sparowes’ forte. They tell a story, both with their song titles and with their music. Both At the Soundless Dawn  and Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun are incredible albums. 

Stuff to listen for: The fantastic bass work. In At the Soundless Dawn, the bassist is Jeff Caxide (now of Isis), and he does a fantastic job. But the switch to Andy Arahood in Every Red Heart doesn’t slow them down. The bass harmonies and riffs running throughout their albums are incredible.

Caspian

In writing this post, it looks like I’m missing some albums from great bands. Caspian is one of those. I’ve given their The Four Trees album a couple of listens, and I like it more and more. This is about as quintessential post-rock as a band can get. I will admit, I can’t give as full of a review for these guys, as I’ve only listened to the album a few times, but if you like anything else on this list, you’ll almost certainly like Caspian.

Stuff to listen for: I love the guitar work on Sea Lawn on The Four Trees. Sounds like probably a slide guitar into a delay, and it’s such a cool sound.

Constant Seas 

I can admit to being a bit of a fanboy on this one, but cut me some slack. The drummer is a friend of mine, and they’re a local band. I still haven’t

gotten a chance to see them live, which bugs me, but their album, Circles, is awesome. The second half of the album is especially good. I’m a sucker for up-beat post-rock (which I feel is kind of an oxymoron), and songs like Alamo, Our Grave and Into the Abyss are fantastic. The opening riff to Into the Abyss is a ton of fun to play on bass as well, which is a double bonus.

Stuff to listen for: Like I said, the bass riff on Into the Abyss, but also the drumming towards the end of Alive and Well.

Now, this is starting to run a little long, so I’m gonna break up this post into two posts, and wrap up with one more recommendation:

Russian Circles 

This band is one of those bands that might challenge the post-rock moniker, and move more into a post-metal/post-hard rock type genre. With three full albums under their belt (Enter, Geneva, and Station) and some huge tours, these guys have made it pretty dang big. I like Wiki’s description of them: “instrumental, sprawling music which runs the gamut of heavy discordant metal, to soft,

delicate passages.” These guys play some incredible music, and it fits just about any situation. All of their albums are fantastic, and definitely worth a listen. Plus, they apparently have a new album coming out later this year, which is also quite exciting.

Stuff to listen for: Brian Cook’s bass work on Geneva and Station is fantastic, and considering he was the bassist for These Arms Are Snakes and Botch, it’s no surprise.

That should provide you with plenty of listening for a few days. One caveat: If at all possible, listen to these bands on good, surround sound headphones or a decent speaker system. You’ll get so, so much more out of the music. Decent bass response is a necessity here.

But that’s just, like, my opinion, man.

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