Category Archives: Post Rock

Time to get excited

Back on  Friday Sigur Rós released some solid info about their upcoming album Kveikur. Not only did they tell us that Kveikur will be released on June 16, but they also released an EP entitled Brennisteinn and a music video to go along with the title track. So if you haven’t heard “Brennisteinn,” or seen the music video to it, here ya go.

So there is a definite new direction Sigur Rós is headed with this song, and that direction is 180 degrees from their last album Valtari. Instead of the very relaxing and borderline ambient stuff we heard, our ears are now blasted with a dark, intense, industrial influenced tune. Sigur Rós hasn’t been dark or brooding since their debut album Von, especially “Sigur Rós,” which is downright frightening at times. So I’m excited to see just how “Brennisteinn” feels in context of the new album. Is the whole album going to be a venture on the dark side? If not, how is Kveikur going to balance out? Only time will tell, so until then we’ll just have to listen to “Brennisteinn” a few dozen more times.


Weekly Dig 4/8 – 4/14

Godspeed You! Black Emperor- Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada

This week I’m upping the ante from one song to two, but these two songs span almost a half hour. Godspeed, for those of you unfamiliar, are a post-rock band (instrumental), although Godspeed like to augment their instrumentation with samples of all kinds of things from interviews with random people, to announcements from a gas station intercom. They tend to be a bit on the stranger side. The second track, “BBF3,” features some such sampling in the form of an interview filled with eccentric ramblings about the downfall of the US, and this interview really drives this whole EP. The opening track, “Moya,” is captivating with some fantastic chelo and violin work perfectly leading into “BBF3.” If you’ve never listened to, or heard of, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, this would be a prime starting point to see if you would enjoy them.

Weekly Dig 3/11 – 3/17

This Will Destroy You – Tunnel Blanket

“Who is the band?”

“This Will Destroy You.”

“Really, that’s there name?’

Every time this little scenario pops up I can’t help but get a smile on my face, it’s pretty awesome to drop this name, and for me it’s never gotten old. Unfortunately to some people their music does, which I can understand. It is pretty minimal and they incorporate a lot of ambient influence into their post-rock which ultimately leads to some people getting bored.  On Tunnel Blanket there is a new influence thrown in to spice things up a little more, and it hits full force just a couple minutes into the opening of the album. “Little Smoke” begins the album very quietly setting a very peaceful mood, and then a roaring distorted guitar comes pulsating in, as the rest of the band swells giving the song a very doom metal feel to it all. The song eventually calms back down giving us a beautiful calming end as things come full circle. Tunnel Blanket feels like a more focused release from this little band from Texas, and it came at a time when I thought they were losing their relevancy in the scene, but here they come to show us all their not done yet.

A peek in the Garden Window

   It was just over year and a half ago when I first discovered O’Brother. The Death of Day EP, which they will send you for free if you sign up on their mailing list, had me immediately hooked. O’Brother had put together a refreshing blend of post-rock, indie, and post-hardcore, and before too long the five songs off of that EP had become some of my favorite songs. Another thing that probably helped propel O’Brother forward among bands I love, was the chance to see them live. About a month after I discovered them they were opening for Manchester Orchestra. O’Brother kills it live, if you have the chance to see them do it. I’ve seen them live three times now and each time they get better and better. It was just a couple weeks ago when I last saw them opening for Thrice and Manchester Orchestra. Seeing some of these songs live was a real treat and helped stoked the fire of my excitement for this release.

The thing that stood out to me first and foremost upon listening to Garden Window was how much heavier this album is. “Malum,” the album’s opening track, establishes right from the get go that the next hour of your life is going to be a cryptic sludgy mess as a wall of of distorted guitars come crashing down on you followed up by Merritt’s haunting vocals. O’Brother has recorded a dark album, full of religious skepticism. On “Malum,” Merritt asks  “How great is my debt that my penance should be endless? Lo, my eager eyes will behold the truth”  amidst an almost Converge-esque chaos. The closing track “Last Breath” shows that the answers sought after only bring more questions to the surface, “So if God is an acronym, some giver of damnation, then why even bother with the concept of man?” The song also serves as the ‘anti’ “Malum.” While the opening track is arguably the heaviest track on the album, the closing track is by far one of the more calm songs, perfect counterparts to each other.

Musically O’Brother has expanded upon everything that was interesting on their EP, and made it better. Many songs lean more towards post-rock/metal, with “Cleanse Me” clocking in just short of fourteen minutes.  Listening to this album leaves you with the feeling that a lot of  time was spent working on the continuity of these eleven tracks to make one complete album as songs build off of one another. “Lo” takes the vocal melody that was introduced in “Malum” and rehashes it into a more standard rock song, “Poison” starts off with a more mellow, slower pace and then builds gradually to lead you into the epic track that is “Lay Down.” And Machines Parts I and II, which could very well have started out as one song, serve to crank up the intensity one last time before the last few tracks send you off. Tanner Merritt’s voice is now even more versatile, ranging from the soaring heights of his falsetto to a throaty growl and just about everything in between. Anton Dang is Attila the Hun of bassists, driving a lot of the music found here. At times he can be seen using a bow on his bass, much like Jonsi does in Sigur Ros on his guitar, to give a different tone every now and then. The drum work from Michael Martins has its moments as well. I really enjoy it when Aaron Wamack teams up and they both play a building rhythm like in “Poison,” or “Malum.”

The constant touring over the past couple years has helped O’Brother find their identity as a band, and it has led them to release Garden Window which seems like anything but a debut album. They’ve taken all of their many different influences and mixed them together to do what has become ever-increasingly difficult, break down the walls of genre’s and craft something original. If they can keep it up, at this pace it won’t be long until they will be the band that everyone is looking to for ideas.

Explosions in the Sky 7/14/2011 @ Pioneer Park

If any of you are near the Salt Lake area and haven’t heard about the Twilight Concert Series please, do yourself a favor and inform yourself about it. Free concerts. What more do I need to say. Okay, free concerts from fantastic bands. I’ve been able to see Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, Sonic Youth, Modest Mouse, Beirut, The Dodos and now Explosions in the Sky.  It’s a very cool thing that Salt Lake does for us. There are some other great bands on the lineup for this year like The Decemberists, Lupe Fiasco and more. So now that that is out of the way lets get to the show.

No Age was the opening band, and to be honest I missed most of their set but the bit I heard was enjoyable. They played noise-rock, garage rock kind of stuff. I would say there are bands out their doing what they do, but also doing it a bit better like Titus Andronicus or Japandroids. Then again it was kind of hard to get into missing most of their set.

Explosions were fantastic. I was a little disappointed before they came out because there was no piano to be seen on stage which ruled out hearing “What Do You Go Home To?” But I guess that is usually not one they play live very much anyway so it wasn’t that big of a letdown. I haven’t checked out their new album Take Care, Take Care, Take Care so there were a few songs they played that I didn’t recognize, but they played a good amount of songs that I knew pretty well and it was awesome. I’m pretty sure they opened the show playing “First Breath After Coma” and “The Only Moment We Were Alone” back to back. Later on they played ” The Birth and Death of the Day” and “Catastrophe and the Cure.” At the beginning of the show there was a harsh kind of metallic overtone to the guitars and it took them a little while for them to adjust whatever it is that needed adjusting. After that everything was pretty much smooth sailing and Explosions in the Sky gave the thousands in pioneer park a great show.

I want to throw in a little disclaimer. Because of the amount of people at the Twilight Concert Series, a little bit is lost in the experience. You don’t have the same intimacy with a band as you would in a smaller venue. Also because of the zero cost entrance fee there are a lot of people who come to these shows and you just know they have never heard of the bands playing and so you don’t get the same unity you would at a normal concert. Seriously there are a ton of people that come to these. last year featured Modest Mouse and the city guessed they had about thirty thousand people in attendance. That being said I think it’s awesome for the bands to come and play for us. It’s probably good for them to being able to expose their music to a lot of people and probably a lot of people who wouldn’t ever come across their music normally. So if you find yourself bored on a Thursday night in Salt Lake with nothing to do in the next month and a half head on down to pioneer park far a rocking good time.

This Will Destroy You 5/24 2011 @ Kilby Court

Alright, I’m just going to come out and say that this was the worst concert I’ve been to this year so  far. However, this blame lays solely at the feet of the opening bands Pure X and Sleep Over. That sounds kind of harsh, and to be honest overall it wasn’t a horrible concert, just the worst one I’ve been to in a while. The last few shows I’ve been to had really enjoyable opening bands, but the two here failed. Rest easy and know that This Will Destroy You Sounded Great.

You could lump those two opening bands into similar shoegazey genres. Heck, they even shared the same bass player, although they went about acheiving that shoegazey sound in totally opposite ways. Sleep Over were an odd bunch. They looked like the band geeks from high school, and I’m talking about the band geeks that weirded out the “normal” band geeks. The lineup consisted of two female vocalists, one of them playing the guitar and the other on keyboards. They had another guy on keyboards who also ran the drum machine, and then the common bass player. The music was chaotic to say the least, I never found much band harmony here as it just sounded like four people trying to play louder than the other guys. The singing ladies put their vocals through so many effects to sound spacey and echoey that you couldn’t understand any of it. I’m not just talking about the words they sang either, it was hard to tell if they were singing on pitch or anything, and they often sang overtop one another which also added to the confusion. I’m pretty sure they were going for a sound something like Beach House, but it came off as just a big clustercuss. I did enjoy the last song they played, it was a little more subdued and they actually sounded like a band playing together.

Pure X was just a guitarist/singer, a drummer, and that bass player. As these guy played it became harder and harder to distinguish between songs. Everything just sounded the same. There was a lot of effects on the vocals again, although not to the same extent. The singer didn’t really shake things up at all. he did a half talking half singing kind of thing that was pretty mellow and then occasionally he would jump up into his falsetto and throw down some oooh’s to awe us, but I wasn’t impressed. There was a lot of distortion on his guitar as well and he constantly strove for that fuzzy wall of sound from struming fast and hard. Nobody ever did anything to shake things up, and overall it was a pretty forgetable performance. I finally got to listen to some music that I enjoyed while This Will Destroy You set up. The venue put on The National’s High Violet in the background, which appeased me until the main attraction was ready.

This Will Destroy You lived up to their name. They released a new record this month, and so I’m assuming a lot of what they played was from that because there was plenty that I didn’t recognize. Their new stuff seemed to keep moving into the more ambient direction they’ve been slowly migrating to, but still had some powerful moments. It was fantastic when they did play a few of the songs I was familiar with. It was mesmerizing to get lost in the buildup to “There are some Remedies Worse than the Disease” and “Burial on the Presidio Banks” and then glory in the intense soaring heights of the climax’s. It was a real treat when for their encore they played “Quiet.” The guitar melody on that track is just breathtaking. They sounded amazing and were a lot of fun to watch, and it was as equally good to just close your eyes and get lost in the music. All the dissapointment from the opening bands was gone and you couldn’t help but leave feeling great.