On the Radio

Post Rock Night on KSVR

Post Rock Radio Night on KSVR

A few weeks ago, I decided to do a post-rock night on KSVR, deviating from my typical Friday playlist of current garage-pop and psych-pop. I have a hankering like this every so often: tonight’s show, in fact, I have dubbed as “Out West” and it’ll feature predominantly countrified indie folk-rock. What ensued was a set of only ten songs, played over two hours on air — a show that was likely the first ever of its sort in the Skagit Valley.

Today I present to you the playlist from that evening. And don’t forget to tune in tonight at KSVR.org from 10pm to midnight PST.

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Explosions in the Sky

“First Breath After Coma”
The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place

In my opinion, no post-rock set is complete without Explosions in the Sky. Likewise, Explosions in the Sky is perhaps the best way to begin such as set. EITS has always been on the more accessible side of the sub-genre. “First Breath After Coma” is the opening track off the band’s 2003 LP The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place.

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Efterklang

“Polygyne”
Parades

I quickly became obsessed with Efterklang’s tracks “Caravan” and “Cutting Ice to Snow” off their 2007 LP Parades. The Danish experimental pop meets post-rock collective embodies one core element I love about post-rock-ish bands: their penchant for nontraditional rock instruments. On “Polygyne”, Efterklang highlights clarinet and flute, along with the more frequently comment violins and monstrous percussion.

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MONO & World’s End Girlfriend

“Part Five”
Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain

When you run a music blog and have a life outside of it that includes upkeep on a home, a fat little cat that demands your attention, a beautiful wife, an intense career, and countless other personal projects, it becomes difficult to listen to everything. I picked up Palmless Prayer / Mass Murder Refrain years ago, but I have never given it a full front-to-back listen. Until now. “Part Five” begins softly and minimally with emotive strings and piano. At over 19-minutes in full, the song takes a while to build and grow, slowly morphing into a powerful masterpiece.

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Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band

“Black Waters Blowed / Engine Broke Blues”
13 Blues for Thirteen Moons

Thee Silver Mt. Zion collective of band names (you’ll hear Reveries attached to the name shortly) may be my favorite post-rock group. I tend to prefer their more recent recordings, post 2003’s This is Our Punk Rock, when Efrim Menuck began expanding on his lyrical capabilities. What I like about “Black Waters Blowed / Engine Broke Blues” is the forays into a seemingly improvised bursts of noise.

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Oneida

“The River”
Rated O

Just when you think you’ve pinned down Oneida’s sound, or once the band appears to settle into some semblance of consistency, they go and release an album like 2009’s Rated O. It is this genius that allows them to ever remain at the cutting edge of indie music.

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The Black Heart Procession

“When You Finish Me”
Six

Where most post-rock bands on this list truly focus on instrumentation to craft their sound, none emphasize lyrical content as strongly nor make it such a centerpiece of each song as that of The Black Heart Procession. Their songs are dark, supremely emotional, and just as haunting as anything by Thee Silver Mt. Zion or Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

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Tadzio

“Lying in the Grass”
Queen Of The Invisible

Tadzio is a new band. In fact, Queen of the Invisible doesn’t even come out until October 1. Plush with orchestration and centered around the lyrics/vocals of Mandy Katz and the piano compositions of Ross Lipton, Tadzio’s music isn’t quite as dark as most songs on this playlist. You can grab the album over at Tadzio’s label Edible Onion.

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Thee Silver Mountain Reveries

“Pretty Little Lightning Paw”
Pretty Little Lightning Paw

For the Pretty Little Lightning Paw EP, Thee Silver Mt. Zion renames themselves Thee Silver Mountain Reveries but continues to produce equally as amazing tunes. On Post Rock Night, I played the title track — a ten-plus minute melodic tune with a chorus of overlapping vocals: There is a valley all swimming in light / There is a wonder in worry in life / There is a reason and there is a light / There is a valley all buried in light. Written, it doesn’t look like much, but this band knows how to put lyrics to work. Listen below:

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor

“Mladic”
Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

“Mladic” is the song that led me to create this playlist and compile this show. The week before Post Rock Night, I played all 20 minutes of this song as my show neared midnight. Godspeed You! Black Emperor is made up of some of the members of Thee Silver Mt. Zion, so that gives you an idea of what to expect. But where Zion incorporates lyrical and vocal prowess, Godspeed is centered around dark, classical-influenced instrumentals thick with experimental rock.

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Tyrannosaurus Rex

“Prelude” & “A Day Laye”
A Beard of Stars

Alright, so Tyrannosaurus Rex isn’t a post rock band. Hell, post rock wasn’t even around in their heyday, especially in the pre-shorted name days of A Beard of Stars. But I couldn’t help playing a couple tracks off the album as time permitted. I like including both “Prelude” and “A Day Laye” as they go so well together:

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