Friday, June 26, 2009

Post Rock

I have a feeling this one will not have too many entries, and most will be instrumental, but the ones I will list are all simply mind blowing.

Battle Of Mice-A Day Of Nights
Okay, I'm off to a bad start based on this album can so be argued that its not post rock, but for some reason I feel as if its earned its right to be on this list. Things to know about this album, it is suppose to be listened to from start to finish and the lyrics are suppose to be a story. Why is this important?, because they make the instrumentals progress in a story like format as well, which makes analyzing this album incredibly fun and most be returned to later on. Anyways, the story unfolds throughout the album in a blast of extremely progressive distorted guitars and yelling. Very powerful, although if one does not enjoy the vocals I can see them being turned off pretty quickly.
Notable Tracks- The Lamb and the Labrador, Sleep And Dream and Wrapped in Plain.

Do Make Say Think- You, Your History In Rust
Another addition from some of the members of the Broken Social Scene family tree. The amount of projects that are worth listening too that stem from the Broken Social Scene is just unbelievable. The ambience of this album is for sure worth mentioning and the general production and mixing would almost suck for any other album but fits this one unbelievably, especially when talking about the drums. On that note, this is a very drum driven record, and the just the general mixing goes to show that they meant it that way, due to the drums appear louder and more prominent then on most albums. MOST of this album is instrumental, but there are some parts with vocals which are done pretty nicely. The guitaring is deffinitly something to mention. It has the same feel as a Broken Social Scene record in the way that it just sounds like a giant party or a strange ambient mess, but it is deffinitly worth checking out. Some tracks can be a bit drawn out and take patience, but that just draws me in even more.
Notable Tracks- Bound To Be That Way, Executionar Blues and The Universe!

Explosions In The Sky- The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
Explosions In The Sky is a pure instrumental band, a very good one at that. I think they got a lot of attention for doing the Friday Night Lights soundtrack, which was done very well. Anyways, someone once told me that this album was about being in a coma, and even though its instrumental I can deffinitly hear it. Throughout most of it the kick drum is almost playing a hearbeat, which is a very nice effect. I was always extremely impressed by the blending of guitar tones with this band, and the fact that they DON'T rely on distortion to climax their songs, something a lot of post rock and instrumental bands thrive on. Deffinitly an album that is was more enjoyable when listened to from start to finish, but if I must pick a few tracks, they would be these.
Notable Tracks- Your Hand In Mine, First Breath After Coma and Six Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean.

GodSpeed You Black Emporer- Slow Riot For A New Canada
This is probably one of the only albums I will refuse to pick favourite tracks off of. Why? Because there are only two songs, even though the album fills out half an hour. What can I say? This band knows epic, they know minimalism, they know how to write underneath qoutes and they know how to use it. God Speed can't really be explained, nor are they very accessable to new listeners due to the extremely long songs and the patience required to fully appreciate them, but this album is deffinitly a masterpiece. Also a note about this band is they did a significant amount of work on the 28 Days Later soundtrack, so if you enjoyed that check this album out.

Grails- The Burden Of Hope
What happens when a bunch of classically trained musicians meet up to form a post rock band? Usually its just a mess of everyone trying to brag about their abilities, but not in this case. A very key point about song writing in post rock (and all forms of music for that matter) is to only show off your skill when it SOUNDS GOOD. Whacky ass guitar solo don't mean shit if they are just THERE. You know, whenever a band is songwriting and they are like "oh yeah, I guess we should just throw in a solo or something there". That might be hard to play, but I find it to be pure fucking lazyness and can't stress enough how much it irks me. Anyways, this album pretty much sounds like the title, The Burden of Hope. Again an album that differianties in song writing styles and influences while still keeping a vibe that encompasses the whole album, this is something that I love to no end. Deffinitly something relaxing to go to sleep too or through in the backround while working on your computer or something, but still deserves a couple listens where you are giving it your full attention. I can not stress how perfect the between clean and distorted rough sounding guitars are for this album, they sure know how to set a gain level on their amp by golly.
Notable Tracks- The Burden Of Hope, In The Beggining and Canyon Hymn.

Mogwai- Happy Songs For Happy People
When discussing post rock, it is very VERY rare to not hear Mogwai brought up. They are revolutionists in this era and have been a very good starter band for many just getting into the genre. Instrumentally creating extremely melodic tunes while keeping the rock factor very very high, Happy Songs for Happy People brings out all the best in Mogwai's career for me. Why? Same reason I am in love with most albums, sure it lacks my single favourite Mogwai tune, but it also lacks a single moment that bores me and could be considered filler. This album never leaves me unsatisfied. Also, the occasional almost choir like vocals and the kick ass drum programming near the end of the album give some variety, something in which can stop a lot of full plays of post rock albums due to repitition of sounds.
Notable Tracks- Killing All The Flies, I Know You Are But What Am I? and Hunted By A Freak.

Mono- You Are There
Thank You Japan. Usually albums don't lead me to believe I have to thank an entire nation, but this is one of the two that leaves me thanking Japan (Nobuo Uematsu's "Tour De Japon" being the other) for its audio contributions into my cerebelum. I find myself thinking that the main guitarists main instrument is a piano, NOT because he doesn't play it fantasticly, but because his tempo changes and rythm patterns lead me to believe that his song writing skills originally developed on the piano. Is this a good thing for post-rock? Fuck Yes. Does this album deserve your full attention? Yes Sire it does. It may be the best post rock album I have come across. Can't think of anything that tops it, I just feel as if at one point I am going to have to correct myself because I do find something better. Anyways, the entire album sounds like it was written in classical style movements, as oppose to open style jamming that eventually leads to good sounding songs. Is THIS a good thing? Its very very hard to do this right, but Mono does it and earns my unyielding respect for it. Thank. You. Japan.
Notable Tracks- Are You There?, Moonlight and The Flames Beyond Cold Mountain.

Neurot Records
If Post Rock was discovered by pirates, they would have it in the heart of the underground to be later discovered and turned into the treasure chest of good music that almost defines this genre for me. Check it out.

Red Sparowes- Every Red Heart Shines Towards The Sun
I just flipped a coin to decide between this album and "At A Soundless Dawn", this one came out on top, but they are both almost equally good in soo soo many ways. Anywho, check "At A Soundless Dawn" out as well if this album gets you interested. This album is pretty much based off of their ability to write insanely powerfull build ups. Its just rises, climaxes, rinse and repeat. There are hundreds of post rock bands that use this as their sole formula, so why don't I mention them too?, because the Red Sparowes do it the best. Yes, all of their songs appear to go through the same cycle over and over again, but it just sounds soo good I can't help but be turned off by this lapse in song writing originality. Thats not to say all the songs themselves sound the same, it just happens that they follow the same guidelines in dynamics.
Notable Tracks- Like The Howling Glory Of The Darkest Winds, Annihalate The Sparrow and The Great Leap Foreword.

Sigur Ros- Agautis Byrjun
The first band I have mentioned that have nothing really english about them. Anytime I listen to this band I feel the urge to go to their homeland of Iceland. Why? Because they portray music in such a way that I can't help but feel they are exposed to a beauty I can't even begin to imagine. Some may be turned off by the falsetto vocals, but if you can get past that you are in for some of the most well written string and piano arrangements formed by a rock band ever. One huge key for me in string and piano string arrangements for rock bands is that they shouldn't be OVER top of the music, they should be written within the music. For instance, I hear a world of difference between a band that wrote and song and later on decide strings might be cool then a band who writes their songs with string arrangements in mind, giving a way more natural feel between transitions and general movement throughout the album. Sigur Ros is a VERY good example of how powerful unique string arrangements can be, as oppose to just violins holding the note the guitar does because its "deep" (I am guilty of doing that way WAY WAY too often, someday I shall kick that habit.) Anyways, check this album, its almost indescribable.
Notable Tracks- Staralfur, Svefn-g-englar and Olsen Olsen.

A Silver Mt Zion- Horses In The Sky
Post rock band? No doubt. Is this a post rock album? It could be debated, and it will probably be hated by a lot of people, but the ones who hear what I hear in this will be drawn in for months of living it on repeat. There is just soo much to discover about this album. The lyrical content is really key, although once again some will be turned away from his voice. A lot of the songs will change 100% from the start of the song, containing no similarities to the intro making these songs appear as if they should have been on split up tracks. While just for a listen this would be useful, but if one was paying attention to the full lyrical content splitting up the tracks would have a negative reaction (even if they are back to back it does not have the same effect). Anyways, kudos to french Canadian musicians bringing us this, along with none other then Godspeed.
Notable Tracks- Ring Them Bells (Freedom Has Come And Gone), Horses In The Sky and Mountains Made Of Steam.

This Will Destroy You- Self Titled
While most post rock aim to rock you to death, I believe this one is very content just relaxing me into a coma. The perfect amount of repetition and minimalistic efforts cause this to be one damn sleep album. I don't mean this in a bad way, it is really really good, I just would suggest listening to it in a calm setting.
Notable Tracks- Three Legged Workhorse, Threads and Burial On The Presidio Banks.

I feel as if my post rock collection needs to be greatly expanded. Hopefully more to come soon.

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