Do you ever wonder what music in the future might sound like? Do you ever find yourself wishing that the rock n’ roll genre would evolve into something that hasn’t been done a thousand times before? Then welcome to the world of post rock. Post rock is a genre of music that has been around only a short while so you might not know very much about it. However it could be a gateway or, at the very least, an influence on what you will be listening to 10 years from now. The definition of post rock is that it takes traditional rock instruments, such as the electric guitar, and uses them to create textures rather than riffs and power chords. One of the main identifiers in the genre is the long length of songs. For example, most songs are much longer than the conventional 3 to 4 minute songs with many reaching past the 10 minute mark. “Wall of sound” is a term that is used quite a bit in post rock music. It involves a lot of layering, reverb and delay in the instruments to blend them together into one massive sound. As a result, the songs tend to have an epic feel to them. There are a few bands in the genre that stand out as being more accessible and easy to listen to than others. If you are new to the genre, Explosions In The Sky, Sigur Ros and This Will Destroy You are some good post rock bands that would be a good starting point
Explosions In The Sky are a post rock band from Texas. Most of the time their live set consists of 3 or 4 electric guitars, drums and an occasional bass guitar. Because of this, their songs have lots of light delicate places, but also a few of the hard “wall of sound” type moments. They are also one of the more poppy post rock groups out there. They do not have any lyrics or vocals in their songs. However, there are guitar parts that get stuck in your head after you hear them being repeated throughout a song. “Your Hand In Mine” is probably their most popular song. Some fans of the song praise it as being just as well composed, if not better than, some classical songs. My personal favorite by them is “The Birth And Death Of The Day”. They do a good job of relating the sound of the song to it’s title even without any lyrics. I can imagine each part of the song representing different times of the day. There is a place in the song where the drums really kick in (about the 4:38 point through the 6:18 mark) that is some of the most intense and inspiring music I have ever heard.
Probably the most well known band in the post rock genre is Sigur Ros. They have world-wide critical acclaim and hail from the tiny island country of Iceland. Sigur Ros (which means “Victory Rose” in English) have a very organic sound. They use a wide variety of string and brass instruments to achieve this sound. They are also one of the few post rock bands who use lyrics and vocals in their songs. Although, on most of their albums, the lyrics are in Icelandic and the vocals are used almost like another instrument. They are very famous for the “wall of sound” sound. However, their style is very diverse from album to album. The “wall of sound” side of them is most apparent on the album “Takk”. The album has one of my favorite song by them titled “Glosoli”. I’m a sucker for an epic song and “Glosoli” has one of the best build-ups, and then explosion of sound near the end.
This Will Destroy You are another band from the very large state of Texas. Like Explosions In The Sky, they use mostly guitars and drums, but with electronic elements thrown in. Unlike Explosions, however, they like to layer guitar parts more often. As a result, they create a much heavier type of music than Explosions. They have only one full length album out, with another one scheduled to be released later in 2010. But even as a young band they have a maturity to their sound and a nice sense of melody in their songs. My favorite song of theirs would have to be “A Three Legged Workhorse”. I once saw a video of people in wing suites soaring off cliffs and along beautiful mountain sides, set to this song. Ever since then, I have had those images set in my mind every time I listen to the song.
So, whether you are looking for the poppy accessibility of Explosions In The Sky, the organic epic-ness of Sigur Ros, or the heavy electronics of This Will Destroy You, there is probably something for you in the post rock genre. We’ll have to see what road these three bands (and others like them) take us on as they make their mark on the future of music.