Thursday, April 27, 2006

Band of the Week: Explosions in the Sky

About a year ago, I was at a show describing the Swedish band Jeniferever to some friends as being in the same post rock musical sub-category as Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, when one of them piped up, "Are you really talking about Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky in the same sentence?!" And to me, yeah, I do. In fact, there are few bands whose music I feel as passionately about as that of the Austin-based act.

There’s no doubting that Scotland's Mogwai is an incredibly influential and talented group, but their songs can often be dirge-like and almost depressing to me, while Explosions in the Sky have the opposite effect... Listening to their music will always, without fail, pull me out of a bad mood. There’s something just pretty and uplifting about the way that Explosions in the Sky begin playing the quietest, whispering guitar chords before slowly building and crashing into huge, epic waves of sound.

The band’s first and second albums How Strange, Innocence and The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place are my favorite works from them. Both are equally incredible and lack any bad track, and it’s easy to play through either entirely and simply let start them up again. After listening to both cds for a few years now, I’m surprised that they still have the same effect on me as when I first heard them.

Somehow seeing the band live has always eluded me however, either due to their shows quickly selling out or Ticketmonster screwing up my order. At one point it was rumored that they were set to appear at this year’s Coachella – which I would’ve bought tickets for just on the strength of them and Wolf Parade being on the bill – but it ended up not being true, as the group is currently hiding away to work on a new album and not playing out.

I guess there’s something funny about citing a group that’s been around for years in a "Band of the Week" entry, but they’re such an essential building block of any music collection to me that if you haven’t been listening to them already, I needed to share.


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