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    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008 edited
    What exactly is it with Post Rock?
    Having randomly picked up albums by Isis and Pelican, Amazon is now firing lots of post rock albums at me. Not a problem but on listening to samples they all seem to be attempting the same things. Long, ethereal sonic landscapes with trebly guitars doing some sort of venetian effect on top. Longer song titles because there are no lyrics and there's a need to set a starting point for the listener's imagination as they work through it. But is that it? Is this the aim for the typical post-rock band?

    You look at 'Mathcore' or whatever its called these days and the principles of composition are the same but taken in different directions. 65daysofstatic and Battles aren't obvious genre mates. Any post rock bands out there doing something a little different?

    Guidance and wisdom appreciated.
  1.  (618.2)
    I'm not sure I can craft any proper response to your larger question, but if you're looking for worthwhile bands which have been labelled postrock, I'd go with Tortoise and Do Make Say Think, personally. I tend to think of Postrock as the space where Brian Eno's 'Another Green World' meets Thurston Moore on quaaludes and they make fusion-jazz music together. This analogy doesn't entirely make sense, though, and it's worth pointing out that I am kind of stupid.

    If you do go for either of those bands, the albums to try are 'TNT' and 'Goodbye Enemy Airship The Landlord is Dead', respectively.
  2.  (618.3)
    I think the most important postrock album is probably still "Raise Yr Skinny Fists To Heaven" by Godspeed You! Black Emperor. There's other interesting work going on in the genre. In a lot of ways, it might actually be useful to think of postrock as Modernist Classical.
    • CommentAuthorDracko
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    I can't guarantee you that both Jesu and Godspeed You Black Emperor! do not sound like the latest pushes in post-rock. The former incorporates elements of shoegaze and metal, being a pet project of Justin Broadrick of Godflesh fame, and the latter is probably responsible for the genre and takes elements from improv and classical mostly. Both are worth a listen or five. You may also find joy with Explosions in the Sky and Dirty Three. I'd also recommend you check out Swans' <em>Soundtracks for the Blind</em> even though that's stretching the definition, but who cares really?
  3.  (618.5)
    Try the Bell Orchestre. Much more upbeat, carnival-esque flavor. Members of the Arcade Fire's backing band playing instrumental cabaret post-rock.

    Genre distinctions are tough. There are so many bands that blur the edges. You mention Isis and Pelican, but I think of the latter as more of a doom metal band dialed down into "post-rock" or "post-metal," or whatever. That's unimportant. All of the bands mentioned by yourself and the previous poster fit the bill, but I can't tell you what the "aim" of a particular post-rock band is. Some feature those trebly guitars. Other bands like The Mercury Program feature strong vibes and marimba. Some are vocal-less, like Godspeed You Black Emperor! while others weave their vocals in to their music with some satisfying results (like A Silver Mt. Zion). In any case, I think there's more variation than your giving the "genre," credit for.

    Also, post-rock is not a good genre to listen to through samples. Long, mood-building songs don't lend themselves well to 30-second clips. Amazon is selling you short.
  4.  (618.6)
    Ack, I can't believe I forgot Godspeed.
    • CommentAuthorDracko
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    Speaking of; <a href="">the Internet Archive has freely available recordings of some of their concerts</a>.
  5.  (618.8)
    Not sure if they fall under the umbrella of post-rock/modernist classical,
    but I'd recommend the Clogs.

    4-piece instrumental group.
    Acoustic guitar, samples, strings, and other various bits and bobs.
    Lineup includes 2 members of the National.
    The Clogs
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008 edited
    Best gig of my life.

    also, check out what's left of They have free stuff.
  6.  (618.10)
    Isn't "Post-rock" just one of those broad umbrella terms that just lumps hundreds of bands of varying degrees of similarity into a heap and says, "Sort it out yerself"? You start finding elements of drone, shoegaze, electronica, metal, jazz, etc. Murky waters.

    Anyway. Of the myriad Constellation acts, Do Make Say Think is my favourite, and Winter Hymn, Country Hymn, Secret Hymn is totally indespensible.
    • CommentAuthortulpa
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    I'm using wikipedia as a reference for what post rock is since I don't think it's a very valid genre.

    Looking at that list of bands, I suggest you give OOIOO a listen, since they sound nothing like what you describe and for some reason are labelled post rock.
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    Thanks all.
    I never thought of GodspeedYBE as post-rock until just now. They've just been around for so long that they seem to pre-date the classification. And i always thought of their stuff as soundtracks to silent propganda movies rather than *-rock. Guess that makes Justin Broadrick's other project Final post-rock as well.

    @tulpa : wikipedia is good for some things. The definition of post rock ain't one. Its list of post rock bands is a bit voluminous too, which is mostly why I asked on here to narrow the search down a bit.
    @nabakovsnose : I try and grab anything Seeqpod have got from a band before resorting to iTunes or Amazon snippets. Amazon are just the engine I use to recommend me some tunes. I'll be trying to seeq me some Swans, Do Make Say Think, Tortoise, Explosions in the Sky, Dirty Three and Bell Orchestre
  7.  (618.13)
    a lot of bands are on the isis/pelican bandwagon, 'cause to be fair, it's not that hard a sound to replicate... isis and pelican lean more towards the metal/post thingydoo side of things too. red sparowes get a lot of copy cattery too.

    best bands along the lines of isis etc for me include:

    Old Man Gloom
    They Don't Sleep

    my absolute favorite on the less heavy spectrum though include:
    A Silver Mt Zion (best live performaces from anything i've ever witnessed ever)
    Vic Chesnutt
    Do Make Say Think
    most bands on constellation records for that matter...
    red sparrowes

    and yeah, genres are poop.
  8.  (618.14)
    isis and pelican are reeally the logical extension of a scene of bands that combine hardcore, metal, math rock , and shoegazer type indie. post rock does seem to be an all encompassing term that doesnt really describe much...
  9.  (618.15)
    "I never thought of GodspeedYBE as post-rock until just now. They've just been around for so long that they seem to pre-date the classification."

    It's an old classification, though.
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    Nobody's mentioned Mogwai yet?
    Mogwai is THE greatest.
  10.  (618.17)
    i was gonna, but then i forgota, they are brilliant yes, amazing at ATP last may...

    aereogramme are (were) also excellent.
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    I have a rough time with genres - music conveys a feeling, and so when I try to label it, I tend towards words like "light", "dark", "evocative", "sexy"...

    That said, Godspeed... set my expectations for Canadian Post-Rock, and I haven't really had a burning desire to pursue it a lot more. I've been disappointed every time I've tried. I think the genre has the ability to achieve those swelling, chaotic crescendos that usually rock music isn't *allowed* to do. Emo has nothing on emotional. Anyone can play guitar, but not anyone can torque the spirit.

    And yeah, actually Mogwai predates Godspeed and is super excellent and also very layered and evocative. I remember listening to it in the office and someone saying on the office IRC, "Who is playing the funeral death music?" ... "Me..."

    Mew isn't post-rock as such, but they cause that same feeling for me.
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    Also, Sigur Ros. I mean, come on. I know it seems like they always go for the really obvious sentimental songs, but they do it so well. They're one of the few Post-Rock bands that doesn't sound like a soundtrack for a roadtrip through a nuclear wasteland. (not that that's a bad thing)

    If you're into the Do Make Say Think type, KC Accidental is another good one.
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2008
    although in the very metal end along with isis and some red sparrowes, neurosis are one of, if not the, best bands ever. also try pelican and i'd say some 65daysofstatic