Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Post-rock Takes Hold

January 18, 2005

Post-rock Takes Hold

This month’s three best tracks, oddly enough, all come from the world of ambient post-rock. The long songs, gentle movement, and sorrowful dirges of post-rock never really were in style, so they can never really fall out of style either. And even if they had fallen out of style, the IC wouldn’t care. Enjoy!

Song: You Still Playing…
Band: Industries of the Blind
Genre: Ambient
Album: Demo
Label: N/A
Website: www.myspace.com/industriesoftheblind
Bottom Line: You can’t not be blown away by this.

While bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor! and Mogwai seem to have a firm hold at the top of the instrumental ambient band charts, they can’t help but turn around to see Industries of the Blind quickly gaining ground. In “You Still Playing…” the band explores a healthy number of musical possibilities, a result of the diverse tastes of its seven members. During the nearly 11-minute long song, the listener is carried along on a journey. As the trip begins, soft violin and a mellow drum beat ease the song into an increasingly distorted, tense mixture of string and guitars. After a brief gap, held together by a lengthy fermata in the violin, the band is back, working off another melody. All the while, voices can be heard in the distance. While I’m doing my best to paint a picture of the song, my recommendation is to listen for yourself and experience it. Definitely do check out Industries of the Blind.

Song: When Morning Comes
Band: Trapnel
Genre: Rock/Ambient
Album: Morose Code
Label: N/A
Website: www.purevolume.com/Trapnel
Bottom Line: Trapnel will lull you into dreamland, but in a very good way.

Hailing from Puerto Rico, Trapnel presents us with “When Morning Comes,” a very gentle and hypnotic tune. As the songs opens with chords from the synthesizer, the listener may not be sure where the song is going, but the guitar line that follows assures the listener that the song means no harm. With vocals as equally tender as the music, you will find yourself drifting off in the music, possibly unable to move. After the first 5 minutes, the band kicks in more, but with the same mesmerizing effect. For fans of bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor!, Trapnel will be right up your alley. With strong production and originality, they just might have what it takes.

Song: Sleepwalk
Band: Darling at Sea
Genre: Indie/Ambient
Album: Demo
Label: N/A
Website: www.purevolume.com/DarlingAtSea
Bottom Line: Less is more.

Darling at Sea prove that you don’t need solos and whatnot to be powerful. With “Sleepwalk,” the band paints a beautiful image of being in a dreamlike state with their gentle song. With seemingly two guitar melodies and a bass line that could be argued is following the left foot- right foot action of sleepwalking, the song appears to have gained more promise though its limited parts. Any additions would impede on the simplicity of the song. “Sleepwalk” would fit perfectly in numerous movie soundtracks with pictures that it conjures. Feeling stressed? Need to relax? Check out Darling at Sea!

Song: The Sky Retreats
Band: The Crash Engine
Genre: Rock
Album: Demo
Label: N/A
Website: www.purevolume.com/TheCrashEngine
Bottom Line: Listen, then see them live

Sounding much in the genre of Sparta, “The Sky Retreats” rocks hard with its addicting funky riff and driving rhythms. The raw vocals match the music well, substantiating its status as “above the rest”. The strong production and overall talent of all the band members seem to take the song a step up from its peers. After my first listen, I had the craving to see The Crash Engine play live. While some bands may be good for a listen in the car, this band is one with such intensity that a live show would seem to let the band display their strengths.
Song: Dead Ends and Cracks in the Pavement
Band: Brookside
Genre: Rock/Emo
Album: This Means Goodbye EP
Label: Unsigned
Website: www.purevolume.com/brookside
Bottom Line: Long Island has churned out at least one more.

Just down the road from Long Island giants Brand New and Taking Back Sunday comes Brookside. After the first beat of “Dead Ends and Cracks in the Pavement,” the listener is immediately thrust into the high energy of the song. From the mid-tempo verse to the sing-along chorus, there is no denying that the band has written a gem. With the lyrical content based around looking back at a past relationship, it’s a song that anyone can relate to.

“We saw the world crash around our feet

We saw the world ignite above my street

You were the girl sitting next to me

You were the girl that made it all complete.”

Song: My Nightmare

Band: September Falling

Genre: Alternative/Metal/Rock
Album: Demo
Label: 9 Down Productions
Website: www.purevolume.com/SeptemberFalling
Bottom Line: Think Three Doors Down, but heavier.

Yes, such is D.C. band September Falling with their song “My Nightmare.” Opening with chorus-soaked guitars in the verse, it sounds almost like a Metallica song. In the chorus, the rock element of the band comes in, fueling the song. Singer Brian Reese’s voice compliments the contrasting verse and chorus, starting gentle and then finding itself more aggresive. Halfway through the song comes the breakdown, one of the heaviest I’ve heard in awhile. I can only imagine how crowds are reacting at this section, being as that I felt the need to rock back and forth in my chair upon listening to it. Overall, September Falling is definitely worth checking out.

Song: Christine

Band: Yes, Virginia

Genre: Rock/Indie
Album: We Will Never Be the Same
Label: Unsigned
Website: www.purevolume.com/yesvirginia

Bottom Line: You’re going to like this song.

While bands seem to be popping up by the thousands, it can be difficult for everyone to get the recognition they deserve. In that case, this is me giving Yes, Virginia my seal of approval. With “Christine,” they’ve produced an aggressive, up-tempo song about a struggling, lost soul of a girl. While many songs that play with great intensity seem to lose a sense of production, “Christine” still retains its sense of unity. The instincts of the band members clearly have led to a quality product. From the vocals to guitar tone to drum beat and everything in between, this song is refreshing piece of ear candy worthy of a listen.

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Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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