I don’t know if anyone reading this listens to “post-rock,” or even knows what post-rock music is? I for one really enjoy post-rock. Post-rock is often defined as pieces that employ rock music instruments, but have rhythms, harmonies, melodies, timbre, and chord progressions that are not usually found in rock tradition (at least that’s how wikipedia defines it, and it’s a pretty accurate definition in my mind). Of course “post-rock” is a wholly inadequate term, and you will rarely find anything filled under “post-rock,” or band’s who self-describe as post-rock. More often you will see bands that are considered post-rock grouped into other types of rock: experimental rock, instrumental rock, new age rock, ambient or ethereal, electronic, or just sometime alternative. Regardless, “post-rock” has become a term used commonly by those wishing to describe a genre of music that has been growing since the mid-90s.
I want to give you some examples of the post-rock bands that I have come across in my search. I first discovered post-rock in the summer of 2008 through pandora.com.
Pandora is an online radio station that allows you to continuously define what type of music you like to listen to. It’s really hard to explain how Pandora works without using an example. First, pandora is free, and all you need is an email address (and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten an email from them). Pandora is part of the Music Genome Project, which takes the characteristics of a song, band, and genre, and compares them to other songs, bands, and genre. So for example. I made a “Radiohead station.” What Pandora did was it took its encoded musical characteristics for the band Radiohead and put them in a radio station. What is really innovative is that while the station is playing songs that are similar in style to Radiohead, it allows you to “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” a song. What this does is it changes the profile of the station to fit what type of music you like. So if the station plays a song you like, you thumbs it up and it will play more song like that song. If you thumbs down a song, it will never play that song again and take into account that you do not like songs of that type. It’s a really innovative and astounding system, and as I said before, an excellent way to discover new music. I would strongly suggest Pandora to anyone, especially music enthusiasts.
Anyway, it was on that very Radiohead station that a song by a band called Sigur Ros showed up. I fell in love with that song, and immediately started researching this band. Soon enough I made a Sigur Ros station on Pandora and was being exposed to many different post-rock bands (many of who, including Sigur Ros, are from Europe).
Here are some songs that I really like and that I think should give you a good idea of what post-rock really sounds like. Is this the next evolution in rock n’ roll? Who knows? But I really enjoy it, and I hope you do to.
“I Thought I’d Find You Here” by Always the Runner
“You’re Jumping Across Mountains” by Always the Runner
“Með Blóðnasir” by Sigur Ros
“Glósóli” by Sigur Ros
“Gong” by Sigur Ros
“Snow and Lights” by Explosions in the Sky
“First Breath After Coma” by Explosions in the Sky
“Your Hand in Mine” by Explosions in the Sky
“Micro Melodies” by The Album Leaf
“Music for a Nurse” by Oceansize
“7:25” by Mogwai
This is only a small selection of post-rock bands. If you like what you hear, I encourage you to search out more post-rock bands (possibly using Pandora).