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Explosions In The Sky - A Guide - If you haven't heard of them, have a read.

Discussion in 'Music, Box Office, TV & Books' started by Carzy, 13 Jan 2006.

  1. Carzy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Nov 2002

    Posts: 8,313

    Location: a

    This is along the same lines as my Sigur Ros thread a while back (now in the archive). It's for anyone who wants to find out about this band, which is something I strongly recommend everyone does.

    Before I start, I should say, there are no vocals (apart from a few voice-over type things in a couple of their songs). For people that don't normally listen to non-vocal music, don't let this put you off, if you are put off by this, you are missing out on a lot of great music. Some of the most amazing, uplifting (or depressing) and superbly written music, is by bands that don't use vocals. If you think about it, that makes sense; they can concentrate on making music of the highest standard if they don't have to be thinking about vocals aswell.

    Explosions In The Sky make music that could be classified most easily as "post-rock". The same genre that includes bands such as Slint, Mogwai, Isis, Pelican, Red Sparowes and Sigur Ros all to varying degrees. It's incredibly powerful music that makes great use of stringed instruments, and uses the drums to full, astounding effect. There is lots of build-up in post-rock. Slow starting songs, which carefully build-up to a crescendo of utterly overwhelming and powerful music are common. In fact, for me, there is nothing more powerful than hearing songs like "Explosions In The Sky - Memorial" and "Sigur Ros - PopplagiĆ°" (or Untitled 8 as it is also known). These kind of songs just suck you in with the gently rising volumes and layered sounds, and then send a shiver down your spine with a heart-wrenching finish.

    Explosions In The Sky are utterly fantastic at making this kind of music, and they also put on a mindblowing live performance (if you get the chance to see them, go, without hesitation). They lean towards the slightly more "melodic" side of post-rock if you will. As Mohinder told me "you like all this twinkly guitar stuff don't you?" Which I guess is a pretty good description, because much of their guitar sound could be described as such.

    So without further ado, here are the Explosions In The Sky albums to check out:

    How Strange, Innocence

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    This is EITS's first album, and it has been recently re-released in a remastered format I believe. This is an album made by a band who haven't properly found their "sound" yet, it contains slightly shorter songs than the other two (not including their latest) albums, and is slightly more experimental in places. It's still a very very good album. I particularly like the first song, "A Song For Our Fathers" with the helicopter-esque sound at the beginning.

    Here's the Pitchfork review:

    http://pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/e/explosions-in-the-sky/how-strange-innocence.shtml

    Rating 7.9

    Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever

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    This is the best of the three in my opinion even though I tend not to listen to it as much, because it requires more attention, and works best when listened to all the way through. It's slightly heavier in places than quite a few of the previous EITS songs ("Greet Death") and also quite downbeat in others ("The Moon Is Down") to create a good variety of songs. I haven't listened to it properly in a while, so I don't have much more to say on it, other than that it's a fabulous album. It's an album by a band who have truly found their sound.

    As you can see from the rating, this is the album on which the band truly knows what it wants to do, and how it wants to sound. There's quite a lot of subtlety to it, not as apparent in the other albums.

    Here's the Pitchfork review:

    http://pitchforkmedia.com/record-re...-sky/those-who-tell-the-truth-shall-die.shtml

    Rating: 8.9

    The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

    [​IMG]

    While I don't think this is my favourite Explosions In The Sky album, when viewed as a whole, but it has two of the greatest Explosions In The Sky (and post-rock for that matter) songs: "Memorial" and "First Breathe After Coma". The drumming keeps it all together wonderfully, perfectly leading the "twinkly" guitars up and down, as they work upwards, exploring and climaxing. Explosions In The Sky have two guitarists, a bassist and the drummer, and it is these two guitarists that really create some wonderfully duel sounds, sometimes off-beat with each other, sometimes perfectly emphasising each other's sound. It's a truly wonderful thing to hear.

    Again, here is the Pitchfork review:

    http://pitchforkmedia.com/record-re...-the-sky/earth-is-not-a-cold-dead-place.shtml

    Rating: 7.7 (bare in mind, with both the albums I have mentioned I think Pitchfork underrated thems)

    The Rescue (Travels in Constants Vol. 21)

    [​IMG]

    This is EITS's latest release. It's an odd affair, as it was created in a strange way. Basically the band decided to spend eight days, writing a song on each day. If they didn't like the song, they started from the beginning again, re-writing all the previous songs (I think that's correct, but not 100%). As a result of this, it's a looser affair, with more random influences, and a slightly different sound to normal. They experiment with different instruments, and make use of vocals more than they have done. It's interesting, but I don't rate it as highly as their other releases. Nevertheless it is still a very good album. One which I think I will devote a bit more time to in the near future.

    Here's the Pitchfork review:

    http://pitchforkmedia.com/record-reviews/e/explosions-in-the-sky/rescue.shtml

    Rating: 7.2

    There are other assorted releases I believe, one written for the soundtrack to a movie I forget the name of, and they also did a Peel Session which I have, and that's also excellent.

    If you like fantastic music, give this band a try sometime.

    Explosions In The Sky hail from Texas, and they are:

    Mark Smith = Guitar
    Michael James = Bass
    Munaf Rayani = Guitar
    Christopher Hrasky = Drums

    As I normally say: Please don't let this sink to page two after a couple of hours, it takes a long time to write a post like this, and I always appreciate comments/feedback, and if anyone also likes them, don't hesitate to confess your love for them too :D

    Edit: Swapped The Truth and The Earth around, after I was told the former was released before the latter, and slightly edited the reviews to follow this.
     
    Last edited: 16 Jan 2006
  2. Jampy

    Gangster

    Joined: 23 Oct 2002

    Posts: 291

    fantastic band, even if they lean slightly on the generic side of 'post-rock'.
    So see them live, they put on a good show!

    (and you got the albums in the wrong order! boo! :) )
     
  3. Big Chris

    Soldato

    Joined: 5 Apr 2004

    Posts: 5,383

    Location: Chipping Norton

    ^^ what Carzy said.
     
  4. Carzy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Nov 2002

    Posts: 8,313

    Location: a

    The Earth is Not... came after The Truth?
     
  5. Big Chris

    Soldato

    Joined: 5 Apr 2004

    Posts: 5,383

    Location: Chipping Norton

    It did actually yeah:

    2000 - How Strange, Innocence (limited to <1000 copies in USA)
    2001 - Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever
    2003 - The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place
    2005 - How Strange, Innocence (remastered and released worldwide)
     
  6. Carzy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Nov 2002

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    Ah right, in that case my comments about the band's different sound on The Earth and The Truth are slightly off. To me The Truth sounds like a more comfortable sound though, compared to The Earth :)
     
  7. Carzy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Nov 2002

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    Bumped tbh.
     
  8. Augmented

    Soldato

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 5,464

    Location: London Town

    Nice roundup :). I've never really got heavily into EITS myself; I've yet to hear Those Who Tell The Truth... or The Rescue, so I may well be missing the 'key' to EITS in the former if it's regarded as the better of their releases.

    I guess I just don't find them quite as engrossing in comparison to other artists doing the same thing. I do love the sound they create, and certainly rate them highly, but I simply don't often find myself aching to hear them after extended periods of silence/chart-music like I do with the others.
     
  9. Tunney

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Oct 2004

    Posts: 14,550

    Location: London

    For a new-comer to Explosions In The Sky, what do you think is the best album to listen to first? Which album is most likely to make someone want to listen to more of their work?
     
  10. Carzy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Nov 2002

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    How Strange, Innocence probably if you haven't heard too much post-rock in the past, as it has the shorter song lengths. The Truth if you have heard a lot of post-rock before.
     
  11. Arcade Fire

    Banned

    Joined: 26 Jan 2005

    Posts: 5,426

    Location: Cambridge

    'Greet Death' and 'First Breath After Coma' are two of my favourite songs ever. Just totally awesome, man. Yeah.
     
  12. Zero5

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 7 May 2003

    Posts: 1,654

    Location: On my own somewhere


    Those two are amazing, I have to say "The Moon Is Down" is one of my favourite songs also. The album itself is top of my chart.
     
  13. aphex

    Hitman

    Joined: 12 Oct 2005

    Posts: 504

    Have to say this band is amazing. Any other bands similar to this (apart from the ones mentioned in the first post)?

    I found a band called The Dead Texan a few months ago which also plays very nice music but its more piano based.
     
  14. Carzy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Nov 2002

    Posts: 8,313

    Location: a

    Isis
    Sigur Ros
    Red Sparowes
    [masse]
    Mono
    Do Make Say Think
    Old Man Gloom
    Mogwai
    Pelican
    Mouth Of The Architect
    65Daysofstatic
    Slint
    Tortoise
    My Bloody Valentine
    From Monument To Masses
    A Silver Mt. Zion
    Aereogramme
    Fridge

    Should keep you going.
     
  15. William

    Capodecina

    Joined: 26 Jul 2003

    Posts: 10,948

    Location: Derby

    I think Carzy is starting a conspiracy to part me from my wallet. :p
     
  16. Arcade Fire

    Banned

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    Posts: 5,426

    Location: Cambridge

    You should definitely be checking out 5ive. The sludge/stoner/post-metal band, rather than the insipid boy band form the mid 90s.
     
  17. Carzy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Nov 2002

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    In that case I'm conspiring against myself too, I'm going to be spending so much on music by the end of this week. I'm getting into seriously good post-rock bands at the moment. It's all I listen to.

    Will do! :)
     
  18. astralcars

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 2,014

    Location: Wolverhampton

    I've only got 'Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die', but I like the band a lot. As others have said, Greet Death is a powerful opener.

    I'd also second the recommendation of 65Daysofstatic; a nice mix of your typical loud-quiet post rock group and some glitchy electronic stuff.
     
  19. Sic

    Capodecina

    Joined: 9 Nov 2004

    Posts: 15,365

    Location: SO16

    i definitely wouldn't liken them to EITS
     
  20. Carzy

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 21 Nov 2002

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    I'd liken them to anyone interested in post-rock though.