Mondays = Post Rock

For the last couple of years Monday has been a locked-in work from home day for me. Aside from resolving a child care issue it also helps the start of the working week feel a little less of a kick in the nads.

It also means that along with access to good coffee, I have the opportunity to indulge in a post-rock soundtrack for my working day without the usual (‘it’s been ten minutes, how is this the same song?’ or ‘has it even started yet?’) commentary or need to stick headphones on.

For the uninitiated, the term itself came from a discussion of Talk Talk and Bark Psychosis – both bands that helped shape the genre from an early point. I’ll borrow from a couple of definitions here to explain it (dancing about architecture springs to mind at this point) as a “form of experimental rock characterised by a focus on exploring textures and timbre over traditional rock song structures, chords, or riffs” performed by a group of musicians leaning on the traditional ‘rock’ instruments / lineup: two guitars, a bass, drums, keys etc and, occasionally, vocals but applied to “nontraditional rhythms, melodies, and chord progressions.”

There’s a lot of beard-stroking.

Of the many things I love about it is the sheer scope and variety found within what can so easily be perceived as a narrow genre (with offshoots into math-rock, post-metal) and the universality of it – as occasionally pointed at in my Out of Europe series.

Anyway, without going too deep into a history or explanation of, I thought this a good moment to drop some of what I’ve been enjoying today:

Mogwai – The Sun Smells Too Loud

Mogwai, from Glasgow Scotland, are one of the titans of the genre. They got in early in ’97 and have been consistently belting out great albums (and soundtracks) since. The Hawk Is Howling is one of my favourite Mogwai albums – it’s their sixth – and recently added to my record shelves completing their discography on wax.

Explosions In The Sky – Logic of a Dream

Texans EITS are another pillar of the genre who have currently got their fans in a bit of worry: having ditched all other content on their social channels and announcing ‘The End’ Tour without any explanation as to what ‘The End’ is – curtains for the band or new album? We all hope for the latter – it’s been some time since The Wilderness – but touring and making money from music is becoming increasingly hard if your name isn’t Taylor Swift these days.

Pray for Sound – Julia

A band familiar to at least one reader – ‘Julia’ and Waves hits all the right spots.

Astodan – Sagdid

Astodan hail from Belgium. They’ve added a vocalist to their lineup recently but I’ve yet to check that out as I’m still stuck spinning their 2018 album Ameretat – few bands manage that dynamic of melodic, piano-driven calm to pulverising FUCK YES and back as brilliantly as they do across the album (or even one five minute song).

Thursday now, that’s such a crazy, lazy day…. current spins

A whole month between posts…. this is getting pretty sporadic to say the best.

Thursday is a pretty good day really – the weekend is just a nad hair away and it’s time to load up on caffeine and hit up Mr Fyfe’s weekly quiz. It also feels like a good moment to cast an eye / ear over what I’ve been enjoying of late.

Pearl Jam – In My Tree (Live at Melbourne Park)

Record Store Day this year was a bit of a non-starter for me. I spent a couple of weeks of this last month barely able to walk thanks to severe knee pain – caused by what turned out to be something called a Baker’s Cyst* – so the notion of getting up at a dirty time of the morning and standing for hours was ruled out. Thankfully the one thing I had my eye on wasn’t this year’s big draw – seems like Pearl Jam aren’t as popular with RSD crowds as Taylor Swift or The 1975 – and I was able to wander down at a much more human time of 11am and find plenty of them left.

Give Way – the sign used in place of Yield in most places outside of the States especially Australia – is a live album that’s long been sought after. It was originally prepped for CD release as a freebie for early purchases of their ‘Single Video Theory’ but minds were changed at the last minute and 55,000 copies were ordered destroyed. Some escaped the cull and became massively valuable. Twenty five years later as part of Yield‘s anniversary (one of their finest and ranked fourth in my list way back when) and the concert – recorded March 5th in Melbourne Park – was unleashed for RSD.

A live Pearl Jam album is always worth wrapping your ears around and this one is another brilliant addition to their already strong selection – it’s a real showcase for Jack Irons’ drumming and the vibe his looser drumming style bought to the band. Sadly the run in Australia would be Jack’s last as he was battling a lot of mental health issues behind the scenes and would soon announce his decision to part ways with the band following the tour – he’d be replaced on the Yield tour by Matt Cameron, documented on Live on Two Legs.

Paul Westerberg – Mannequin Shop

My son is building up a Spotify list of his ‘favourites’ – though this is more any song that takes his fancy. We recently caught ‘Waiting for Somebody’ in the car and it made me dig out Westerberg’s 14 Songs for a spin – it’s still a solid listen but it’s the delightful take on the plastic surgery of the early ’90s that has been stuck in my head since. Much in the same way as I wonder how the writer of ‘Answering Machine’ would feel about today’s lack of real communication I’d have to wonder how Mr Westerberg would feel about the state of enhanced vanity in 2023. Unfortunately though, Paul seems to have gone to ground again.

Adé – Insomnies

I popped over the channel again this weekend past for a couple of days and have been keeping an ear to RTL2 since both to assist with the language learning and the variety of music – it seems hard to find a station here that plays as genuine a variety (though their obsession with Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran gets annoying) . Last summer I heard Adé’s ‘Tout Savoir’ a lot and, this trip, it seems that her song ‘Insomnies’ is the current radio player and another I’ve been enjoying.

Daughter – Be On Your Way

Daughter’s new album Stereo Mind Game is bloody good. Gorgeous sounds and arrangements with Elena Tonra’s vocals breathing through an album of lush shoegaze / moody indie-rock vibe.

Slowdive – When the Sun Hits

Speaking of lush shoegaze… I picked up Slowdive’s Souvlaki recently and have spent many a glorious spin lost in the warm blanket of sound it generates.

Silver Moth – The Eternal

One of those albums I hit pre-order on as soon as it was announced – Silver Moth are a band formed out of a few online conversations during the pandemic. Only members Stuart Braithwiate (of Mogwai) and his wife Elizabeth Elektra had met before they hit the studio on a remote Scottish island and recorded Black Bay in just eight days. It’s a bloody strong album – a multilayered beast of slow-burning yet immediate songs that combine its members’ shoegaze** and post-rock dynamics with two vocalists who’s vocals find a place between Kate Bush and Elizabeth Fraser.

Faith No More – Epic

Another one of those ‘hey, if you like this one, check this out’ conversations with the cub after picking up a 7″ of ‘Easy / Be Aggressive’ recently. There’s very little like this and it remains a fucking awesome tune some (gulp) thirty four years later.

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Texas Flood

Texas Flood is forty years old this year, which is as little a reason as I need to have been giving this one some attention.

*whether this is something first experience by a chap called Baker or those spend their time kneading dough develop the issue I don’t know.

**third and final mention.