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February 10, 2010

The Cerebral Pop Field Guide: Post-Rock

The Cerebral Pop Field Guides are an ongoing attempt to help introduce you to our favorite things within a respective category. It strikes at the very heart of what Cerebral Pop has set out to do, and will hopefully help increase awareness of things that are awesome and help define the new and better pop culture.

This is the new age of popular culture. Although still common, gone are the days of only receiving your new favorites from chart topping hits and MTV music video countdowns. More than ever before you now have the power to really decide what you want to listen to.

That is the essence of Cerebral Pop. Intelligent culture of the masses. This sounds contradicting at first, but I assure you it can make sense. If something is popular both because it is of high quality and noticed for that quality by many, then it follows that free choice can become popular. High quality is up to the artist; aware by many is up to us.

Usually you hear from a friend, "have you heard this, oh it's so great." Many times, depending on the friend, this gives you a bias going into a new music scene.

We are compiling some of our favorite music scenes for you. We're going to be that friend of yours that says, "hey check out these bands." But we're not going to tell you they're awesome. You have a brain for a reason.

Sigur Ròs

The most well known of the post-rock genre, Sigur Ròs has almost evolved out of it. Their last CD, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, was a pretty big departure for them -- featuring many songs only 5 or so minutes in length.

While they do sing -- something a lot of post-rock bands don't do -- it is typically in Icelandic or "Hopelandic", a sort of language that the band made up, with no real meaning or distinct words.

Godspeed! You Black Emperor

Three things summarize Godspeed for me.

1. Really long songs. At least 20 minutes on average.

2. Slow build-ups to exploding climaxes.

3. Sound-bytes.

I love all three of these things. Therefore, I love Godspeed.

Explosions in the Sky

Often a first-heard of the post-rock genre, the albums by explosions in the sky have a deep impact on the new listener. With instrumental tracks (aside from samples of calm voices) that tell you a story every time you listen you can almost give each album a theme or a story.

A soundtrack to your imagination; this group fills your head with strength against anything, and the will to use it. This group will accompany you on voyages of the mind, and each listen after will remind you of the feats of those voyages. And thestrum of the electric guitar will sooth your woes and let you finally fall asleep and enter slumberland.

And because of the latter, it quickly becomes the soundtrack to your dreams.

The newest album shows great growth in the band, while the older albums show they they haven't strayed too far from their original sound.


Probably the most wildly diverse of the post-rock bands. Matthew Cooper uses the project as a sounding board for his imagination. The release, An Accidental Memory in the Case of Death, was simply solo piano pieces that he recorded in one continuous take.

Still, his other releases would fit better in this category. It is much more ambient then most of the other bands on this list, but it is wonderful music to put on when you want your mind to wander. Especially late at night.


Certainly the most distortion heavy post-rock band I've heard. Most of the time, their sound is made entirely from thick distortion and drawn-out, haunting vocals. It makes an atmosphere that, not only transports you to another place, but dictates your emotions as well.

I usually love listening to this genre of music in the middle of the night when I'm delivering papers and no one else is awake, because it takes me completely out of the menial task.Jesu makes me imagine post-apocalyptic worlds for some reason. Not the monster infested kinds, but the sad and somber, reflective kinds.


This is probably the most unknown band in the guide. Paucity hails from Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The slow build-up of bands like Godspeed or Explosions is no where to be found here. Instead, Paucity songs tend to keep the same energy throughout. Still, they come up with some really creative sounds. And for some reason I still haven't seen them live.


undergroundspectre said...

Great article! Hopefully, more people will become interested in post-rock because of it.

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