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March 7, 2005 7:36 PM   Subscribe

Postrock. A relatively new genre which continues to evolve in scope and definition, postrock is a treat to the ears. With bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Rós, Do Make Say Think, and Mogwai at the helm, it has slowly grown in recognition through movie soundtracks. Yes, there's quite a plethora of postrock bands, but is anything necessarily revolutionary, or just a rehash of past ideas brought into contemporary context?
posted by Mach3avelli (116 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
oh, for crying out loud.
posted by quonsar at 7:43 PM on March 7, 2005


hahahahaha
posted by nightchrome at 7:47 PM on March 7, 2005


What's interesting to me, at least, is the community in Quebec revolving around the Hotel2Tango (link dead at the moment, but Google confirms) and the way you see people who have rotated through Godspeed You! Black Emperor show up in all these other bands (scroll down to "b. other projects") that stem from the same community. Two of the members of GYBE are credited in the current good album that Pitchfork has decided to hail as the second coming, The Arcade Fire's "Funeral."
posted by Ryvar at 7:53 PM on March 7, 2005


The whole Montreal/Toronto scene is ridiculous. You have bands like A Silver Mt. Zion, Broken Social Scene, Stars, etc. and all their side-projects/collaborations. It's very intruguing to see how the bands have developed over the last few years.
posted by Mach3avelli at 8:03 PM on March 7, 2005


I'm a huge fan of gybe. I saw them in Milwaukee and it was one of the most hypnotic musical experiences I've ever had. There are live shows available for download on archive.org
posted by hupp at 8:20 PM on March 7, 2005


Rock Post Rock.
posted by gcbv at 8:21 PM on March 7, 2005


gybe is good, but there's so many tedious bands in this genre. oh well, guess it's better than indie rock.
posted by angry modem at 8:33 PM on March 7, 2005


and I have to say this is post tries way too hard to not be totally pulled out of one's ass
posted by angry modem at 8:34 PM on March 7, 2005


and I have to say this is post tries way too hard to not be totally pulled out of one's ass

Here's the explanation for that: I wanted to open up a discussion on the genre because I did a search and found nothing on it. Rather than opting to describe postrock and name-drop a couple of the leading contemporaries, I pulled out an argument I've heard a couple times to elevate it beyond a "look, postrock" thread.

Turns out it wasn't such a hot idea. Oh well, the music is great.
posted by Mach3avelli at 8:40 PM on March 7, 2005


i'll bite: isn't the term usually bandied about when discussing Tortoise et.al. that were on the drag city label out of chicago in the mid to late nineties? that's what I thought it was. I see the bands you mention as much more in the legacy of drone and minimalism a la Spacemen 3, flying saucer attack, and the like.
posted by grimley at 8:46 PM on March 7, 2005


Lets not forget Twine, Fennesz, and, of course, Animal Collective. Cue derisive (but comfortingly regular) jonmc remark in 3...2...1...

I won't even try to defend these acts as "good"-- they make me feel very good, in a pleasantly strange way, and I leave it at that.
posted by everichon at 8:48 PM on March 7, 2005


I have to agree with Mach3avelli, the music is great. I'm quite fond of Mogwai. Another good group to consider would be Trans Am. I've seen them live at Jackrabbits and it was an awesome show. Hypnotic and throbbing is the way I like my music.
posted by PROD_TPSL at 8:49 PM on March 7, 2005


Doh! I mean Fennesz.
posted by everichon at 8:51 PM on March 7, 2005


I saw Mogwai during the Curiosa music fest. I went to it to see Interpol and The Cure, but Mogwai was the band that really blew me away. They were loud as hell and drew a very big crowd for the rinky-dink "secondary stage" where they played. I'd love to see them on a headlining tour next time they make the rounds.
posted by kryptondog at 8:59 PM on March 7, 2005


Ev, is Animal Collective really safely within this genre? Not to say they're not great.

Mach, this post was good, but three years too late. I'm still glad it's getting out to some people, though. Also, you left out Tortoise, who practically pioneered the term.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 9:04 PM on March 7, 2005


by the way. the new mogwai record Government Commissions -all recorded live fo rthe BBC - is really good. though Trans Am and Fennesz don't seem to fit in with the P.R. p.r.
posted by grimley at 9:05 PM on March 7, 2005


Animal Collective is so not (IMHO) postrock. Mogwai, GYBE, Silver Mt. Zion, yes. And Tortoise, although I need to check out more of their stuff before I jump on that particular bandwagon.

The thing that I've always loved about these bands is how able they are. I saw GYBE a couple of years ago and they completely blew me away. I'm the sort of girl who basically requires interesting lyrics to keep me going and they managed to rank in my top ten shows of al time.
posted by amandaudoff at 9:16 PM on March 7, 2005


is Animal Collective really safely within this genre?

If I have to stuff them into a genre, I usually pick "post". It is more succinct than "A Pack of Crazy People With Talent and Sound Equipment Out In The Woods".

That said, I am open to suggestions. On preview, same for Fennesz-- I have no idea really what else to call it.
posted by everichon at 9:17 PM on March 7, 2005


Ultimately, post-rock (as a genre) leaves me wanting. Most of it is boring and really pretentious. That being said, I really like Mogwai (they are fuckin' loud mang!), and one GSYBE! song (Storm).
posted by Quartermass at 9:31 PM on March 7, 2005


Paul Newman, you ever listen to them. Also this soundtrack, um, Reach the Rock, I think. The Swords, once known as the Swords Project. Wait a second, how'd we end up in AxMe? Damn if I'm not drunk. Where's my keys?
posted by underer at 9:41 PM on March 7, 2005


Aberdeen City introduced me to post rock. They are small boston band that has been developing this sound for a few years. I helped my buddy, who is the drummer, recently as he was prepareing for a recording session for thier next cd. We were searching through his apartment building's basement for chains, light tubes to break, buckets to bang, and metal piping that made this whooping sound. searching for sound to process, squeeze, distort, and clarify.

The human condition is not new, but some techniques to communicate the human experience are new. I think of it as a global musical vocabulary that was (re) started with intro of the radio and basic rock (G major, C major, D major, repeat; cause thats what people would accept). Before the raio there where musical vocabularies, but they where restricted to the educated few. So using an ebow on a guitar to create a sweeping wave that sounds nothing like a guitar is just a new method of communication that has been accepted by the public as interpretable. /endrant
posted by Merik at 9:46 PM on March 7, 2005


Math Rock kicks Post-Rock's ASS. But the bands listed for Math Rock on Wiki mostly suck.
posted by papakwanz at 9:56 PM on March 7, 2005


just a rehash of past ideas brought into contemporary context?

Yep. Listen to Can's "Future Days" then get back to us.
posted by davebush at 10:20 PM on March 7, 2005


Uh... you say your search for Post-Rock turned up nothing?

Think I have to agree with angry modem on this one...
posted by basicchannel at 10:20 PM on March 7, 2005


I wanted to open up a discussion on the genre because I did a search and found nothing on it.

Now, I don't hate this thread, since I'm a fan of the bands listed (along with a few others), but the logic stated above is a bit worrisome to me as a rationale for posting. Are you saying then that any subject we wish to discuss that has not yet been discussed on MeFi should be given a FPP? I though it was about the 'best of the web' (to use that bothersome phrase) rather than simply 'I want to talk about X'.

Getting back on topic, I find the genre of post-rock to be very interesting, if very pretentious and occasionally dull. Combining elements of space-rock, jazz and classical music can make for a very engaging listen, or it can make for a 'put it on and I'm asleep in ten minutes' type of feeling. Out of the bands listed, I think only Sigur Ros and Mogwai are truly transcendent (and this comes from a huge GYBE! fan). Mogwai (along with Tortoise) pioneered the genre itself and still have the loud/soft thing down to perfection, while Sigur Ros creates soundscapes I've never imagined possible. EITS and GYBE! (why are all these band names so long?!) have incredible moments in their work (Quartermass mentioned 'Storm' from GYBE! and I would agree, along with a good portion of their F#A#infinity album, and EITS' 'First Breath After A Coma' off of the Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place album is extremely captivating and powerful). They all have something to offer, but sometimes I wonder if they're just a little too stoned out.

on preview: I thought the same thing basicchannel, but then realized that I think he meant a search on MetaFilter. But I don't that's right either.
posted by rooftop secrets at 10:25 PM on March 7, 2005


I think my ultimate point (had this whole business played itself out) would be that "Post-Rock" is actually past its freshness date as a "new sound". That doesn't mean I don't love Millions Now Living Will Never Die... but the nature of the post should've probably been something other than "HAY GUYZ LISTEN TO THIS AWESOME NEW 1996 SOUND!!!!"

I can appreciate one's enthusiasm for discovering a form of music (or art in general)... but I doubt that my discovering Dub would've made for an interesting FPP.
posted by basicchannel at 10:35 PM on March 7, 2005


One I don't quite understand is the love for Sigur Ros. In my opinion, they've fallen off, way off, since their debut LP. I haven't been able to listen to () once through without falling asleep. It's just that dull.

The three best recommendations I can give for more obscure bands in the genre:

The Appleseed Cast - a few years ago, they came out with a couple CDs by the name of Low Level Owl. In my opinion, the best experimental rock I've ever heard.

The Exploits of Elaine - unsigned 7-piece from Shorpshire, England. Think Explosions in the Sky minus the dull, boring bits. And with a synth to add another dimension.

65 Days of Static">65 Days of Static - The LP, The Fall of Math, is one of my favorites from 2004. Think old-school Mogwai with more drum, bass, synth, and speed.

And I just listened to Jaga Jazzist's latest offering. Damn good stuff.

Overall, this is already turning out to be a spectacular year in music.
posted by Mach3avelli at 10:35 PM on March 7, 2005


Math Rock kicks Post-Rock's ASS. But the bands listed for Math Rock on Wiki mostly suck.
posted by papakwanz at 10:56 PM MST on March 7 [!]


Ok, I've seen this term bandied around a few times.

What the fuck is "Math Rock"?
posted by vernondalhart at 10:41 PM on March 7, 2005


Math Rock, blends jazz, punk and prog with odd time signatures.

From Wikipedia:

Math rock is a style of avant-garde noise rock that emerged in the late 1980s. It is characterised by complex, atypical rhythmic structures, stop/start dynamics and angular, dissonant riffs seen by some as mathematical in their complexity.

The style grew out of the broader noise rock scene active in Chicago, Washington, DC, and Louisville, Kentucky. The Jesus Lizard, Polvo, Fugazi, and Big Black are key influences to this genre, and the Slint LP Spiderland was a catalyst in jumpstarting this genre. Bastro, however, predates this.

posted by black8 at 10:48 PM on March 7, 2005


Explosions In The Sky is awesome live. They just go up and say "We're Explosions In The Sky, we're from Texas," and rock the fuck out non-stop.

I blew my one opportunity to see GYBE live, and now they'll probably never tour again. Hopefully I'll get to see Silver Mt. Zion sometime though.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:49 PM on March 7, 2005


With regards to this FPP:

By search, yes, I did in fact mean metafilter. The point of my search was to find a discussion on postrock. I was amazed to discover no one had made a FPP about it. So I took the initiative (hey, better late than never).

As for the "worriesome" rationale for posting on such a topic, I don't really see it as any different as when someone makes some post on some scientific, historical, artistic, or biographical endavor.

Let's take it to MeTa if it's still an issue.
posted by Mach3avelli at 10:51 PM on March 7, 2005


Trans-Am were credited w/ helping to start post-rock. However they really evolved into something different. Tortise too.

Animal Collective have too many vocals to be considered post-rock.

The second explosions in the sky record is amazing.

To paraphrase Gerard Cosloy -The question is - are there any bands out there who would still describe themselves as post-rock, and if so, what's their problem?
posted by brevator at 10:59 PM on March 7, 2005


No mention of math rock can be made without a link to The War Against Silence treatment of confusion as to what that means:
The other term is "math rock". I used to think this meant "the kind of music that kids on the Math Team would listen to", which frankly never made sense, since, at least at my high school, three-quarters of the kids on the Math Team had no interest in music at all, and the other one was either the world's biggest Dokken fan or else the son of their merchandising manager. My next theory was that it referred to music whose virtues could be calculated, but not directly observed. This, too, is wrong.
posted by mzurer at 11:00 PM on March 7, 2005


I really love Mogwai. Any of you guys ever hear about starflyer 59 or slowdive?

Both very good. I'll have to check out GYBE. Didn't much care for Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
posted by nickerbocker at 11:00 PM on March 7, 2005


One I don't quite understand is the love for Sigur Ros. In my opinion, they've fallen off, way off, since their debut LP.

I thought the same thing, but ( ) snuck up on me like Radiohead's Kid A did after a while (although I don't think ( ) is as good as Kid A). It's slow-paced and damn pretentious, but I still love it all the same. Sometimes music just hits you right at a certain moment in your life.

Let's take it to MeTa if it's still an issue.

Agggghhh...anything but that. It is not that big an issue, and I fall pretty firmly into the 'if you don't like it - scroll past it' camp, despite what I said above. Fuck it, I'll take any excuse to pontificate about music. Lead on Mach3avelli.

on preview: I think there may be some confusion there nickerboxer...
posted by rooftop secrets at 11:09 PM on March 7, 2005


Starflyer 59 and Slowdive are considered more shoegaze than postrock. It's still great music, however (despite Starflyer 59's Christian undertones).

For more good shoegaze, check out Ride, Boo Radleys, My Bloody Valentine, and Cocteau Twins. Decent contemporary shoegaze bands include Ambulance Ltd and Bethany Curve.
posted by Mach3avelli at 11:11 PM on March 7, 2005


You guys heard that M83 album. I like it a lot. Oh, Ride^. Awesome.
posted by underer at 11:18 PM on March 7, 2005


Add [?] wherever you see fit.
posted by underer at 11:20 PM on March 7, 2005


Postrock? God, so mid-90s.

It's freak-folk now people. And Animal Collective is far closer to it or freak-pop/psych-pop than postrock.

And hey Mach... This topic isn't exactly new to us.
posted by drpynchon at 11:23 PM on March 7, 2005


Great timing. I've just been discovering this genre over the past few months (but god do I hate the name. Post-Rock? I just call it atmospheric).

Another band I absolutely love along the same lines as those mentioned in this thread is Rachel's, especially the album Systems/Layers. I don't have a very good grasp on genre labels, so they may not technically be 'Post-Rock'. What's the genre that means 'a few indie kids playing chamber music'? Anyway, it's incredible.
posted by TheCowGod at 11:25 PM on March 7, 2005


Which M83? Before the Dawn Heals Us (2005) or Dead Cities Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (2003)? The latter is absolutely breathtaking. It's too bad the duo split up, because you can feel something missing in the latest album (though it's still quite good). The guy who left has his own little side project, Montag, and it's also pretty good.
posted by Mach3avelli at 11:27 PM on March 7, 2005


Explosions In The Sky is awesome live. They just go up and say "We're Explosions In The Sky, we're from Texas," and rock the fuck out non-stop.
That's about as accurate a description as you're going to get. I doubt I've ever seen a more intense live show.
posted by kickingtheground at 11:30 PM on March 7, 2005


M83 are amazing. I really love that new album (more than the first). I went to buy it today (sold out - it was supposed to be in the "techno" section ha!), whereas most of the bands in the post heading tend to be more organic (correct me if I am wrong). Are they post-rock?

so hard to keep track!

I have to agree that Sigur Ros have fallen off quite a bit. I liked () enough, but it was nowhere near as good an album as Agaetis Byrjun. That album is really special, in a one of a kind sort of way, but one that I can't listen to anymore.

There was a time (1998 to 2001, give or take) when I really tried to like a lot of post rock, and I will concede that most of the albums released in that time stand up. But most of it just got re-hashed, or tried too hard to be "more arty" than their contemporaries, and I gave up on it.

drpynchon: It's freak-folk now people.
Was freak-folk. I think it is something new now. Or not. Seems that these vogue genre's go in and out of style soo quickly. see: dance punk.

Mach3avelli: Don't worry about it. If they can talk about Bush all day in a million different threads, we should be able to have threads like this once in a while. Fuck 'em. Good post.
posted by Quartermass at 11:37 PM on March 7, 2005


I can appreciate one's enthusiasm for discovering a form of music (or art in general)... but I doubt that my discovering Dub would've made for an interesting FPP.

Why not? I know nothing about dub, and if you found good links, I think it would be awesome.
posted by Quartermass at 11:44 PM on March 7, 2005


One of the best aspects of Explosions in the Sky is that they are really, really chill guys. When I asked them why they began doing instrumental music, the answer was simple, "None of us can sing." It's great to watch how deep into their music these guys get while they perform. (They had dinner at my friend's house, which was also pretty cool.)

M83 are amazing. I really love that new album (more than the first). I went to buy it today (sold out - it was supposed to be in the "techno" section ha!), whereas most of the bands in the post heading tend to be more organic (correct me if I am wrong). Are they post-rock?

M83 actually has a 3rd album, self-titled, came out in 2001. It's not all that great, but you can see the inner workings of what they would later become. I would classify M83 as shoegaze/electronica, personally.
posted by Mach3avelli at 11:44 PM on March 7, 2005


Shoegaze/electronica? I guess I've been listening wrong.

I think it is something new now. Or not. Seems that these vogue genre's go in and out of style soo quickly.

I'm into sex-metal.
posted by underer at 11:57 PM on March 7, 2005


Would the Monkey Power Trio (MP3) be post-rock?
posted by nonmyopicdave at 12:04 AM on March 8, 2005


Would the Monkey Power Trio (MP3) be post-rock?

From what it sounds like, sure (really, you can call it whatever you want). It actually reminds me of this awesome band by the (pretentious) name of Meanwhile, Back in Communist Russia. They split up last year, but they are your typical instrumental rock band fronted by spoken word poetry. It's really damn good stuff.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:12 AM on March 8, 2005


I was amazed to discover no one had made a FPP about it. So I took the initiative

Post Rock FPP from July 23, 2001.
posted by gluechunk at 2:20 AM on March 8, 2005


M83 are amazing. I really love that new album (more than the first).

Ditto. I kind of liken "Before The Dawn Heals Us" to something like is Air made out with Meatloaf in a dirty alley.

Are M83 "postrock?" Am I a PostRocker? There's an upcoming M83/Ulrich Schnauss show here in Boston (which I am thrilled to bits about)...but Schnauss, I guess, is decidedly NOT "postrocky."

What is postrock? Was there prerock?
posted by tpl1212 at 2:54 AM on March 8, 2005


i re-listened to a mogwai album (young team) recently whilst high and thought "wow, this is some really insipid crap". never got into this "genre" though jumped on the sigur ros bandwagon for a bit. but c'mon, this is a highly specialized, very limited genre. TWO sigur ros albums? already redundant.
posted by yedgar at 3:08 AM on March 8, 2005


Big Black and The Jesus Lizard are math rock!? What about Scratch Acid and the rest of Austins output? Rapeman? And there I was thinking they were US hardcore.
In fact they were filed under 'Hardcore' at the time.
I don't remember them having much in the way of a jazzy feel either, or punk for that matter.
Maybe they were educating us without our consent!

Aren't mogwai live very much like My Bloody Valentine live?
posted by asok at 3:15 AM on March 8, 2005


yedgar : "this is a highly specialized, very limited genre."

How so?
posted by Bugbread at 3:20 AM on March 8, 2005


I feel that most of the negative comments on this post sound very pretentious - OK you don't like this genre, move on. No need to spew vitriol or question the motives of the poster. Or tell us how passe it is when compared to what you are listening to now.

I personally would like to thank Mr. Mach3avelli for putting together a well researched set of links.

I didn't know much about post rock, Now I do. Much obliged.
posted by Dag Maggot at 3:55 AM on March 8, 2005


There always seems to be a dispute about the genre name when people are talking about post-rock. I don't like pigeon-holing music into genres, but everyone pretty much knows what you're talking about when you say "I like post-rock". And a lot of the bands generally considered post-rock are still around and making records. I don't buy the whole "it's not the 90's anymore, we can't talk about post-rock" line.

And I've got to agree with Quartermass, et al. These type of FPP's are consistently my favorite Mefi threads- I've discovered a lot of great new music from them. Give me a good Mefi music discussion over a Bush argument or some flash game any day of the week. I just wish there were a few less redundant attempts at moderation. There's flags for double posts and posts that break the guidelines, guys. They're your's to use if you have a problem with the FPP. But for the people who are enjoying the thread (and for the FPP poster, no doubt), all the derailing comments are a little rude for such an innocuous post.
posted by kryptondog at 4:09 AM on March 8, 2005


If you're looking for an unexpected but very satisfying contribution to "post-rock", you should check out Sam Prekop's first, self-titled solo album.

I kinda lost interest in the whole post-rock thing several years ago, but that album and Slint's Spiderland still sound very fresh and very different from a lot of the other stuff.
posted by rocketman at 4:34 AM on March 8, 2005



I feel that most of the negative comments on this post sound very pretentious - OK you don't like this genre, move on.


the endless genre-ization, categorization and silly presumptuous genre names are what i find pretentious. postrock indeed! what will one call the bands of 2525?

that said, this geezer discovers a lot of great music in these threads.
posted by quonsar at 4:48 AM on March 8, 2005


quonsar : "what will one call the bands of 2525?"

rytro-bl3rgh-cohre.

(Or, translated back into 500 year old turn-of-millenium classical English, "retro-blergh-core".

Personally, I'll be disattisfied if every genre of music by the year 2400 doesn't end in "core".

What I'm always curious about is: what genres do people use for their mp3s? I have Slint, Mogwai, GYBE, Rodan, and the like, and they're sorted into two categories: indie and indiecore (indie for less abrasive, indiecore for more abrasive). I can tell you the difference between Suomi Trance, Psychedelic Trance, Goa, Minimal Psy, Russian Trance, and Nitzohonot, but when it comes to mp3s, it all becomes "goa". How much do genre-folks actually use those genres in software, I wonder?
posted by Bugbread at 4:56 AM on March 8, 2005


Way back: Most of it is boring and really pretentious.

Maybe I'm shallow, and I don't mean to snark, but what makes music pretentious? Particularly instrumental music?
posted by NickDouglas at 5:00 AM on March 8, 2005


What makes music pretentious? Go read a few reviews over at PitchforkMedia and tell me you can't smelllllll the pretentiousness. Very serious "your favorite band/genre sucks" vibe.

The new Silver Mount Zion w/ Tra La La Orchestra EP is quite good.
posted by fet at 5:28 AM on March 8, 2005


NickDouglas : " Maybe I'm shallow, and I don't mean to snark, but what makes music pretentious? Particularly instrumental music?"

Perhaps band names and song titles? But that's not really part of the music.

Some people think long songs, intricate songs, non-happy songs, and instrumental songs are pretentious. I think that kind of opinion comes from overexposure to pop radio, and overexposure to a lot of the fans of this kind of music, who are, sad to say, often pretentious. I personally find some post-rock bands pretentious, but I think a person finding post-rock music itself pretentious says more about the person finding it pretentious than the music.

And I promise to say 50 hail mary's for using the expression "says more about the person saying it", but it's the most accurate phrase I can find.
It's like comparing someone to Hitler: you Godwin, even in the rare, rare, rare occassion when the comparison is actually valid.

Or finding your hamburger is missing the beef and asking "Where's the beef?"

10 A=1
20 WHILE A<50 LPRINT Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus Christ Holy Mary, mother of god pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our deaths, Amen
30 A=A+1
40 GOTO 20
posted by Bugbread at 5:32 AM on March 8, 2005


I am a huge fan of this genre. A lot of vocal rock just doesn't do much for me anymore, and the rather simplistic and repetitious rock that's made it's way into popularity again doesn't either.

It snuck up on me actually. I was going to a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club show, and I was way early. The opening band started to futz around with their instruments, and I thought that it was just them warming up. Turns out they were actually playing their music. The more I listened, the more entranced I got. It was so loud, so beautiful, and so intricate that I lost myself in it and didn't care that there were no microphones on the stage. Immediately after they were done, I went back and bought all of their CDs (something I never do). That band was Paik, and since I've been getting really into a French band called Ueh, Mogwai (who blew me away at the Curiosa show I went to, especially the song Like Herod), and Sigur Ros.

It's not pretension that makes me love these bands. I love these bands because the music that they make resonates with me on a near-spiritual level, especially live, and it is bar none the best music to listen to while intoxicated or while working (but not at the same time, of course).
posted by shawnj at 5:33 AM on March 8, 2005


what makes music pretentious? Particularly instrumental music

The listeners are the ones who do that, in my experience. Genre names can be useful for finding new stuff I want to hear, but these kinda conversations invariably corrode into to a knee-deep pile of microscopic subgenres. Still: fun FPP.
posted by everichon at 5:38 AM on March 8, 2005


it is bar none the best music to listen to while intoxicated or while working

Hell, yeah.
posted by everichon at 5:40 AM on March 8, 2005


Hehe, pitchfork is the web apex of indie snobbishness! I love it.

Why post-rock? I guess I would define it as "rock and roll without the structure". But that leaves so much of the Do Make Say Think jazz-inspired goodness out.
posted by anthill at 5:40 AM on March 8, 2005


rocketman:
If you're looking for an unexpected but very satisfying contribution to "post-rock", you should check out Sam Prekop's first, self-titled solo album.


That's a great record. I don't know if it's post rock though. In fact, quite a few of the bands listed above are more easily defined as indie pop than post rock (for me). For example, most of Jim O Rourke's stuff would be indie pop (barring his Sonic Youth excursion - and even some of their stuff could fit there). I guess I've always thought of stuff like Mogwai, Tortoise & TransAm as post rock. Sigur Ros, Animal Collective, Broken Social Scene would all be more indie pop.

I guess a large part of this discussion is semantics, who you hang out with, what certain types of music are called in your locality, where you buy your records (you do still buy records, right?). Can't we all just get along & enjoy our music. I'm only 29, but I can still remember when rock was "rock."

You got your post rock in my freak pop/acid pop! You got your indie pop in my post rock!
posted by password at 5:43 AM on March 8, 2005


My girlfriend and I always referred to it as Space Rock. I guess that doesn't fit anymore?
posted by shawnj at 5:45 AM on March 8, 2005


So is anybody here going to see Slint in New York this month?
posted by saladin at 6:04 AM on March 8, 2005


Someone asked about mathrock upstream and it reminded me of this thread (I stumbled across) where mefites unearth the genre. Cute. I'll be at Slint on Saturday.
posted by safetyfork at 6:24 AM on March 8, 2005


Cue derisive (but comfortingly regular) jonmc remark in 3...2...1...

Sorry to disappoint.

I don't know enough about the genre to really have an opinion. I do hate the name, though. Post-rock? What do they call themselves, post-rockers? Dosen't really roll off the tongue well.
posted by jonmc at 6:26 AM on March 8, 2005


I saw Slint and Mogwai last weekend at ATP and while I could recongize what they did as "good" I could not identify them as "stuff I like." Perhaps standing in a smokey hall full of British indie kids(1) was not a good way to first experience the bands. The music seemed much more suited for lounging about on couches talking with friends. From the way Banjo and the other folks I was with talked about some of these bands, I felt that if I didn't get them, then this genre was likely not for me (which is true; I prefer more alt-bluesy rock).

I much more enjoyed Spoon and The Melvins, who I also had never heard of. And Neil Hamburger, who's likely worth a FPP all his own.

(1) Who come in two main Gallagher flavours: The Guys From Oasis and The Guys Who Smash Watermelons.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:36 AM on March 8, 2005


Maybe I'm shallow, and I don't mean to snark, but what makes music pretentious? Particularly instrumental music?

There's a sliding scale for what's "pretentious" depending on your tolerance level for certain musical affectations. I personally think some music is overly twee because I can't stand the sugary sweet sentimentality, but others might have their twee-meters set higher.

Pretentiousness is a little harder to judge. Some people think
things like drones, fuzzy radio garbage, making up your own alien language, or even guitar solos are pretentious. I, for one, don't define it as anything this general. That one part of the new song, on the new album, where they hold the note just that much longer before launching into the garbled noises? That's pretentious. Finding these points is like deciding when something jumped the shark; it's all relative.
posted by mikeh at 6:37 AM on March 8, 2005


U.S. Maple, bitch.
posted by bardic at 7:11 AM on March 8, 2005


shawnj - "Space rock" tends to be a little less grandiose and neo-classical, a little more psychedelic/aimed at stoners. Think Acid Mothers Temple, Hawkwind, Kinski, Tarantula Hawk, Subarachnoid Space, Farflung, Bardo Pond, Vocokesh, F/i, etc. Aural Innovations is probably the most comprehensive space rock review site. The sound does overlap with post-rock or instrumental metal, of course - Kinski at times is very reminiscent of Mogwai, or of Pelican or Mastodon for that matter - but mostly space rock tends in a slightly different direction. Fewer heartbreaking 20 minute songs about Coney Island Beach, more 20 minute effects-pedal-heavy jams.

Of course, genres are in general confusing, badly named, inadequate to describe a given band, etc. But there is a genre frequently referred to as space rock, and it isn't post-rock.
posted by ubersturm at 7:33 AM on March 8, 2005


jonmc : "What do they call themselves, post-rockers?"

I dunno what they call themselves, but us folks who listen to post-rock generally refer to the people who make post-rock as "musicians", and folks who like post-rock as "folks who like post-rock". Not very flashy, but extremely versatile and effective naming convention.
posted by Bugbread at 8:01 AM on March 8, 2005


what makes music pretentious? Particularly instrumental music

Well my band is apparently an official post rock band, and we've got pretention by the bucketload. Stupidly long name (it's a Californinan law apparently, the name that is, not post rock bands having long names, though that would be a cool law) overly long and complicated song titles, we really do have the lot.

So what makes the music pretentious? Idiots like us I guess.
posted by ciderwoman at 8:08 AM on March 8, 2005


shawnj: Just now after listening to the samples from their website, I ordered Paik's Black Satin album. That sounds pretty damn cool.

And judging from some of the live songs I've heard here, I'll probably be buying Explosions In The Sky's latest album. "First Breath After Coma" is sublime. This is just what I needed- there hasn't been a time in at least a few weeks when there was something in my car besides Bowie or Morrissey. Suddenly I'm inspired to change that.

Back before I didn't have an account, I remember coming across this thread about a band called Tulsa Drone. They're quite good, and would probably fall under post-rock.
posted by kryptondog at 8:12 AM on March 8, 2005


it's a Californinan law apparently...

Californinia, that borders Nevadada, right?
posted by jonmc at 8:16 AM on March 8, 2005


Shout-out for Dirty Three here... also for Marianas, which is almostcool's band.
posted by kindall at 8:59 AM on March 8, 2005


jonmc: no more jokes, ok? Post-rocking is a serious business.
posted by dydecker at 9:01 AM on March 8, 2005


Californinia is in Wales actually. I think.
posted by ciderwoman at 9:05 AM on March 8, 2005


Post-rocking is a serious business.

*finds a post. rocks it, with a solemn expression*
posted by jonmc at 9:07 AM on March 8, 2005


I'll second the Tulsa Drone...good stuff.
IMHO, Breadwinner (whose amazing guitar player is now in Loincloth) was the beginning and end of math rock. Everything else is post-math rock, IMHO.

While I'm creating sub-genres, I remember the term "out-rock" getting kicked around with bands like LaBradford before they figured out what to call this stuff.

Can I name a band not from Richmond? Apparently no, not at the moment.
posted by hellbient at 9:19 AM on March 8, 2005


Metafilter: Find a post. Rock it, with a solemn expression.
posted by Igor XA at 9:26 AM on March 8, 2005


I love how threads about music are really always about semantics and taxonomy.
posted by rocketman at 9:37 AM on March 8, 2005


rocketman wins.
posted by everichon at 9:45 AM on March 8, 2005


Two bands i would consider required reading for this genre would be Doug Scharin's HiM (they add a lot of Jazz and Dub to the mix), Mercury Program (their recent stuff is probably my favorite out of the genre)

I also would put in a word for bands like Mice Parade, Four Tet, Out Hud's Street Dad album.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 9:48 AM on March 8, 2005


Rocketman - i think listening to music requires no classification (or at least it should), but when talking about it, it's near essential.
posted by hellbient at 9:52 AM on March 8, 2005


Mice Parade is awesome. They take a little bit more time to get into, but it's well worth it.

One of the more innovative groups is an improvisational post-rock band by the name of Jackie-O Motherfucker.

It's definitely a genre that transcends international barriers. For instance, Mono are from Japan. And they kick major ass.

Sam Prekop's latest 2005 offering is also pretty good.
posted by Mach3avelli at 10:13 AM on March 8, 2005


In this thread we talk about music.
posted by basicchannel at 10:37 AM on March 8, 2005


Are post rock bands just jam bands? Discussion at ILM.
posted by dydecker at 10:44 AM on March 8, 2005


Krytondog: You will not be dissappointed. If you like it, I'd also highly recommend picking up Orson Fader wherever you can find it.
posted by shawnj at 10:45 AM on March 8, 2005


That link to ILM
posted by dydecker at 10:47 AM on March 8, 2005


my only experience of so-called post-rock has been mogwai and sigur ros (i'm only going by the names people are throwing out here). judging by those two alone, i can understand the hype and novelty up to a point, but listening to the mogwai (or any music) after the passage of time and the waning of the hype, is revealing. i'm not trying to be pretentious or nasty, but sometimes you gotta wonder why people like the music they claim to like.

pitchfork is the worst. judge the music for yourself. don't take some fucking conceited indie hipster geek's word for it. swallow that vitriol.
posted by yedgar at 10:48 AM on March 8, 2005


pitchfork is the worst. judge the music for yourself. don't take some fucking conceited indie hipster geek's word for it. swallow that vitriol.

Or read pitchfork for what it is: the greatest example of editorial conceit in all of music writing.

But oh man... postrock? Are you kidding me?
posted by aGreatNotion at 11:01 AM on March 8, 2005


No love for Bark Psychosis, the band that Simon Reynolds originally coined the term “post-rock” to describe in 1993? They returned from a ten-year hiatus in 2004 with Codename: Dustsucker, an excellent album that continues to grow on me, even if it’s not as great as their debut, Hex, or their masterpiece “Scum.”
posted by hilker at 11:18 AM on March 8, 2005


M83 isn't postrock, SORRY. Nothing but electronica all fancied up with "talent." I think Fennesz is glitch, personally, but not sure.

Godspeed had some great moments early one, but they've ironed out all the rushing peaks in their music recently. Sad. The point of sitting through 15 minutes of droning use to be that something awesome was gonna happen at the end. I loved them live, though, the drummers played that carousel song from the end of Dead Flag Blues on everyone's beer glasses.

I've been listening to new Bark Psychosis and I've been moderately impressed. I'll have to look for Scum. Thanks, hilker.
posted by dougunderscorenelso at 11:43 AM on March 8, 2005


People who slag Pitchfork are the same people posting about Post-Rock in 2005. If you'd ever had more than a passing interest in music you'd probably have figured out that there's probably a more thoughtful way to approach said music and that Pitchfork is supposed to be subjective, ridiculous hyperbole... that's how you have to approach Art, with humor and a bent intensity.

This well thought-out FPP alleges to be about Post-Rock and hastily includes Fennesz, Sigur Ros and Slowdive?! Folks, your 5-minute romance with a KCRW sampler does not give you nearly enough legitimacy to deride Pitchfork for THEIR pretentions.

Honestly now...
posted by basicchannel at 11:43 AM on March 8, 2005


Mach3avelli- I saw Jackie O-Motherfucker open for GYBE a couple of years ago. I absolutely hated them (and I love many of the bands mentioned in this thread). Have they recently become better? Maybe I'm just getting old...

Anyway, this has been a fun FPP to read, and makes me feel all warm & squishy remembering the amazing Slint show at ATP last week.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 12:05 PM on March 8, 2005


No, they still blow. But I know lots of people who really dig them, so I figure giving people options to branch out with different styles of postrock might expand the discussion.
posted by Mach3avelli at 12:34 PM on March 8, 2005


Do any of you realize that the bands you're talking about are laughing at you right now (if they even know you exist). What is the point of this thread?? Who cares whether you throw music into this or that arbitrary genre. I might use a genre to try to describe a band to a friend in less than 5 minutes, but we're not going to argue for an hour about whether or not the band is post-rock or not. Or whether or not "post-rock" music is "good." Could you people be any more base or vague? Every band is different (even if they're derivative) and should be judged on it's own merits (or lack thereof). Not lumped into a category with 300 other bands and written off. I don't fault Mach3avelli for the post. But the responses are mostly shite!

Oh, and Pitchfork is pretentious as hell, and don't even get me started on the numbered ratings (of course, I still check it every day).
posted by dr. strangelove at 1:03 PM on March 8, 2005


Do any of you realize that the bands you're talking about are laughing at you right now (if they even know you exist).

I'd hope that the musicians I like would be mature enough to not get worked up over what some music fans are casually discussing over the net. Wouldn't you agree?

Labeling a band with a genre doesn't change their music in any way. Personally, I love music of all types. And if I want to learn more about bands in the same musical vein as Mogwai and Sigur Ros, I'm not going to waste my time concocting some obliquely-written paragraph to describe what they sound like when I can just as easily say "post-rock" and have everyone know (pretty much) what I'm talking about- especially if it's just to prove to some snobby music fans that I know my shit. Hell, I don't even like the way "post-rock" sounds, but I don't care, because it's really not that big a deal.

Through this thread I discovered some bands that I really like. And they were *gasp* post-rock bands! Post-rock post-rock post-rock. Poooooooooooost-rooooooooooooooock omfg post-rock.
posted by kryptondog at 1:57 PM on March 8, 2005


basicchannel said " People who slag Pitchfork are the same people posting about Post-Rock in 2005. If you'd ever had more than a passing interest in music you'd probably have figured out that there's probably a more thoughtful way to approach said music and that Pitchfork is supposed to be subjective, ridiculous hyperbole... that's how you have to approach Art, with humor and a bent intensity.

"This well thought-out FPP alleges to be about Post-Rock and hastily includes Fennesz, Sigur Ros and Slowdive?! Folks, your 5-minute romance with a KCRW sampler does not give you nearly enough legitimacy to deride Pitchfork for
THEIR pretentions."

and we have a winner. well put, sir.
posted by mr.marx at 2:11 PM on March 8, 2005


I second. Almost every band/artist I've ever loved has been called "pretentious" at some time. I guess I love pretentious music. Fine by me.
posted by hellbient at 2:27 PM on March 8, 2005


OK kryptondog, I'm all for brevity. As I wrote in my post, I use genre classifications to describe bands quickly, especially to people who might not have been exposed to anything like these bands before. And I think that it's great that people are finding out about these bands through this thread.

Howver, it's posts like this...

M83 isn't postrock, SORRY. Nothing but electronica all fancied up with "talent." I think Fennesz is glitch, personally, but not sure.

IMHO, Breadwinner (whose amazing guitar player is now in Loincloth) was the beginning and end of math rock. Everything else is post-math rock, IMHO.

...that make want to vomit. I just think people get a little too caught up in genres sometimes. Yes, it's an effective tool to quickly define a band's general sound. No, it shouldn't be the focus of a discussion about said bands. Unless someone had listed oh i dunno...Creed as a post-rock band. Then I would have to pipe in.

And as far as musicians laughing at us, I'm just trying to make the point that the people in these bands (myself included) usually tend to have a disdain for these categorizations in the first place and would probably think that it was ridiculous for people to spend so much time arguing over trivial shit like how post-rock or un post-rock a band is.

And Explosions In The Sky are amazing. The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place is one of my favorite albums, and you've gotta see em' live.
posted by dr. strangelove at 2:43 PM on March 8, 2005


I am gonna second the Dirty Three recommendation (if that is what a shout-out is...?) - way moody Aussie 3-piece featuring the brilliant Warren Ellis playing psychotic gypsy violin...he may be familiar to some as a sometime member of Nick Cave's Bad Seeds...?

Not really gonna buy into the debate over whether this is a good FPP or not, coz i lurve most of the bands mentioned, and it's good to find a few new tips to follow up :D
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:56 PM on March 8, 2005


But the responses are mostly shite!

Pot? Meet Kettle.
posted by amandaudoff at 3:53 PM on March 8, 2005


dr. strangelove: Though my post wasn't directed 100% at you, after re-reading it I feel like I should apologize- I could've worded it a bit nicer than that.

I do have to say that I agree with you to a large extent. Arguing about what genre best describes Band X and heaven-forbid-you-listen-to-Genre-Y bore me, too. But I think it's harmless for the most part. There's so much music out there- realistically, we can't listen to every single band out there and form solid, learned opinions on them. Categorizing music is just a shortcut we take to find new tunes, for better or worse.

Oh yeah: I live about 4 hour's away from Explosion In The Sky's hometown. Hopefully next time they tour I'll get a chance to see them live.
posted by kryptondog at 3:57 PM on March 8, 2005


Everything else is post-math rock, IMHO.

...that make want to vomit.


dr. strangelove - you need to take a class in pretension (or excuse yourself from it)...and you should smoke a joint. you're not the only musician here, and I'm sure you're not the only musician here that doesn't give a fuck about genres. But whatever you say, they are useful tools people use in conversation/literature. How would you quickly describe, say, Black Sabbath to someone?? Would you say "heavy metal" or would you go on and on until the person walked away? When it comes time to play yer guitar - yeah, forget about genres.

Not to mention this is an incredibly boring, cliched and predictable argument - you said Not lumped into a category with 300 other bands and written off. Are you 15? If you give categories that much power, you probably deserve to be written off. It's your job as an artist to keep people's ears pricked-up. Post-rock, and just about any other genre/sub-genre has a million imitators, many of which I'm sure I'm glad to have never heard.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must praque with my post-math-rock-electronicore outfit...
posted by hellbient at 3:59 PM on March 8, 2005


WOW! Sorry, didn't mean to offend anybody. Maybe I got a little carried away comparing posts to fesces and mentioning vomit. I was just trying to make a point. Sorry if anyone got their feelings hurt. Don't mind me, I'll be over here getting baked.

For the record, I love 90% of the music that's been mentioned by all. And I DID SAY THAT GENRES ARE USEFUL TOOLS sometimes.

Jeez
posted by dr. strangelove at 4:12 PM on March 8, 2005


Oh...and thanks kryptondog, at leat you actually read my entire post. I think a couple of other people could benefit from a little mary jane around here.

peace my brothers
posted by dr. strangelove at 4:16 PM on March 8, 2005


I'm a little late to this thread, but wanted to throw this out about genres. I was in a Can-, TFUL 282-, Captain Beefheart-influenced band that nobody heard of from the early 90s to about 2001. We played shows with some of the people listed here (Trans Am, Dirty Three) and had a great time. But we were labeled as Math Rock in the early 90s and Emo by '01 with a bit of Post-Rock in the middle. I never understood it since we didn't really change our approach at all. Whatever, if labels are useful for people to find new music, then great.

Besides, I live near post rock country, and that was always confusing as hell.
posted by sleepy pete at 4:43 PM on March 8, 2005


strangelove - yeah, i was probably reacting to your failure to see my [pretension] tags (or lack thereof) that I must've done a poor reading of the rest of your post (or read your quote-reaction so much that I forgot the rest of your words). I think I'm usually better about that. Not to mention end of workday, ready to leave, tired and kranky, blah blah...sorry, if i could undo that first paragraph i would. and note that "you" is in general terms, and not directed at you personally.
wow, I think that's the most excited I've ever gotten over post-rock. e-mail me if you wish to respond directly to save everyone else from this lovefest.

now I shall indulge you in your reverse-advice...
posted by hellbient at 5:51 PM on March 8, 2005


this is already dead. welcome to 5 years ago
posted by Satapher at 7:32 PM on March 8, 2005


robocop is bleeding, I was at ATP too and thought Mogwai played a blinder. Although post-rock is often accused of being background music my amp doesn't go that loud and being surround by other stoned, swaying people is a pretty good way to experience the music. Slint I could take or leave (they could have done without 15 minutes gaps between there songs) but Spoon and The Melvins I liked. The weekend belonged to Mum though.

I've not seen them mentioned in the thread so I'll throw in a plug for another Godspeed off shoot: Esmerine.
posted by ninebelow at 12:22 AM on March 9, 2005


this is already dead. welcome to 5 years ago

yes, bulimia is so '87, heather.
posted by jonmc at 7:02 AM on March 9, 2005


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