Top 10 Contemporary Post-Rock Instrumental Bands

Often misrepresented as a niche scene for instrumental-loyalists, Post-Rock Instrumental as a genre is incidentally, an expression as basic as music itself. While arresting lyrics have indeed sculpted the best of songs over the decades, the eventual incompetency of structured language is what is addressed by PR Instrumental. Post Rock Instrumental, if one allows the drama, is nothing but our most complex and convoluted emotions, galvanized into wet hot melody. Post-Rock in itself operates on alternative instrumentation and when it comes to the current crop of instrumental bands, lucid bursts of pattern-free melody is what one can safely expect. Carrying forward the onus of epic PR Instrumental outfits like Tortoise and Slint is a troupe of incredibly talented, sufficiently adventurous neo music-makers. The Top Ten contemporary representatives of PR Instrumental have been followed in this article.

10. Fourteen Nights at Sea

A PR Instrumental band based in Melbourne, Fourteen Nights at Sea is all about channelizing the un-captained vessel of tumultuous thoughts in you. With titles like ‘Glass Monster ‘and ‘Tired Hands’, their compositions are stirring, borderline-wrecking. Clearly, theirs isn’t the kind of music you can half-hear while lolling around in a weekend pair of Sponge-bob pajamas. Theirs is the sound of reflections, and you can expect the most peculiar encounters with the self in the process. This of course, remains a powerful comment on their soulful core.

9.  If These Trees Could Talk

Their name a wonderful giveaway to their musical temperament, this Ohio band is a keeper. If These Trees could talks is your hymn for reconnecting with that primordial earthiness of the self. If you listen closely to their pieces, it is almost as if they intend to emulate the unspoken, fluid language of the trees. Their languid compositions linger, gently breathing upon your sore sensitivity – washing you inside out in sudden sweeps of cloud-like melody. Their self-released second album ‘Red Forest’ would make for a fitting example.

8. Red Sparrows

With their origin in the LA Indie Scene, this PR Instrumental outfit is distinguished by its elaborate use of pedal steel guitar. Initially conceived as a music project, Red Sparrows went on to be known as a formidable force of neo-experimentalism in the PR breed. Their debut album, ‘At the Soundless Dawn’, remains one of the most beautiful works they’ve put together till date.

7. This Will Destroy You

Easily one of the more intense forms of PR Instrumental, this Texas band excavates the listener in effortless grace. Their winding atmospheric instrumental pieces tend to drift, an effect not lost on the tripped out-already audience. Their first self-recorded EP, titled ‘Young Mountain’, was released in 2005 to general critical appreciation.  Consistently brilliant with their response-winning tracks, they have since moved on to a more personal rendition of the genre in their latest release –‘Tunnel Blanket’ (2011) In all consideration, This Will Destroy You does destroy the mind blocks of an average instrumental-skeptic, marking itself as the space to watch.

6. The Calm Blue Sea

In case of this PR Instrumental group, you could actually go by the name and not be misled. Theirs is the kind of sound awash in therapeutic tranquility. Pushing the very premises of Post Rock, these guys are hardly just another American Post Rock offshoot. ‘We Happy Few’ and The ‘River That Runs Beneath This City’ stand as two of their best works. It is safe to say that almost all their other compositions bearing the markings of a gorgeous instrumental experience.

5. Do Make Say Think

This Canadian PR Instrumental group embodies their quirky, purposefully scattered nomenclature. Their sound is a vibrant implosion of distorted guitars, jazz style drums and subtle wind instruments. Formed as a youth project for a Canadian dramatic production in the mid 90s, they went on to cement their school of post rock in the playlists of not just the Canadian youth, but music lovers all over the globe. In spite of some mainstream collaborations, (Their song ‘Chinatown’ featured in the George Clooney starrer Syriana) their effort is to preserve the raw individuality of matter and manner. Their 2009 album ‘Other Truths’ vouch for Do Make Say Think’s essentially experimental inspirations.

4. Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Arguably one of the most popular live performers in the post rock instrumental scene, these Montreal Music-errs are widely known by the abbreviations of  Godspeed, GY!BE, and even the colloquial quirk of ‘God’s Pee’ . Recognized by music lovers as a sterling Post Rock outfit during their extensive tours of the late 90-s, GY! BE has since come a long way. Back after a hiatus of seven years in 2010, the band charted out their first official album ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend. Ascend!’ in October 2012. Their songs of fall, if one might call them so, are beautiful in ways resembling the rush of Natural forces.  Pieces like ‘Storm’ and ‘Sleep’ transcend the territories of the incommunicable, speaking volumes in well-designed silence. Godspeed’s increasing cult following only testifies their maturing music sensibilities over the years.

Instrumental Bands

3. Russian Circles

This Chicago outfit promises delicately discordant metal highs, soft sweeping interludes and everything in between. Known for their livewire performances, Russian Circles is often dubbed as a ‘genre’ in themselves. The band continues to generate unchained brilliance on account of its borderline-vague orientation, with pieces as divergent as ‘Station’ and ‘When the Mountains Come to Muhammad’.  This characteristic juxtaposition comes out beautifully in their piece ‘Fathom’.

2. God is an Astronaut

From the mouth of a decidedly partial fan, Irish post-rock Instrumental doesn’t get better than this. With their consistent history, one could even stretch that to a ‘Post Rock Instrumental doesn’t get better than this’ and be absolutely spot-on.  Seriously. With elements of Space Rock and Electronica  effortlessly fused into their Post Rock ethos, this is that dark room trip-trigger you had been waiting for. ‘All is Violent; All is Bright’, ‘Infinite Horizons’, ‘Suicide by Star’ take their art to a different league altogether.

1. Explosions in the Sky

Not to be biased or anything, but Explosions in the Sky could just occupy all the positions on this Top Ten list and make sense of it. Simply put, they are beyond beautiful. In terms of composition, in terms of song-naming, Explosions in the Sky is poetry-in-a-vinyl wrap. Their songs are like perfumed letters to the soul, catching you unawares in a whiff of nirvana, every single time. A master of delicate breaks and mood transitions mid-number, their ‘First Breath after Coma’ cradles the subconscious in ways incommunicable. ‘Your Hand in Mine’, ‘Post Cards from 1952’ , ‘With Tired Eyes, Tired Minds, Tired Souls We Slept’ , ‘Let Me Back In’ are each musical milestones in their own right.


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