pass it on {04.10.08}

indefinite hiatus, thank you to all that have been reading the blog, please stay safe & sound.

Love, team cameracrowd

Monday, November 13, 2006

Why you should listen to Explosions in the Sky

*latest update on 11/22*

At first, I was going to make a post titled: The Music Lover's Guide to the {good} Instrumental/Post-Rock Bands and I even typed up intro paragraphs to a brief history of instrumental/post-rock bands, but once I started typing about my favorite instrumental band, Explosions in the Sky, I couldn't stop.

It became a bit too long to add on four or five more bands, considering that would probably turn the reader into a zombie, who will then proceed to drool on the keyboard over the text-heavy entry. So I will take this one instrumental band at a time. Although, I will confess right now that I don't know any other instrumental bands as thoroughly as I know of Explosions.

Explosions in the Sky
Munaf Rayani (guitar)
Mark Smith (guitar)
Michael James (bass)
Chris Hrasky (drums)

Oh, Explosions in the Sky my first instrumental band and one of my favorite bands ever. Somehow Austin bands are drop dead amazing. Their first album, How Strange Innocence was recorded in 2000 with only 300 copies made. It was released on the label Sad Loud America and now they are signed onto Temporary Residence Limited and molding the modern instrumental movement(if there were a movement, they would be the forerunners, promise). From the evolution of a span of six rewarding years: three full-length albums to one EP and two compilations; it is safe to say they have earned their place in the ever-growing/changing instrumental genre-land.

Who is this Explosions you talk of?...
If you are new to Explosions, you should start with their latest album, The Earth is not a Cold Dead Place, go backwards discography-wise. Don't worry, I will have a discography chart at the end of the entry. You may have heard Explosions and not even know it, they were pretty much the whole soundtrack in the movie, Friday Night Lights. They wrote new songs for the movie and yes, the {good taste in} music supervisor was Brian Reitzell(Marie Antoinette/Stranger Than Fiction). There is also a recent Cadillac commercial with "Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean"and "Your Hand in Mine". By the way, the TV series Friday Night Lights is nothing like the movie. So watch the movie and immerse yourself in a good plot/acting and music!

Something cool...
Their whole The Rescue: Travel in Constants Vol. 21 EP is available for download here(click on the album with the Lassie look-a-like and there will be a popup with mp3s), since there were limited copies to this Temporary Residence EP series. This was the first time they recorded something themselves and every song on there was made up on the spot! It took them two weeks to finish it, with eight days for improv and rest for mixing and messing round with tracks. This E.P. also shows Explosions in a different light, recording by themselves in Michael's house, the shorter songs, improvisation and using different instruments. There is a sense of hope on this E.P., a lightness that was on their 2000 debut album.

What they're doing now...
They recently finished up recording their fourth album in Minnesota and it should come out either in late February or early March. *on February 20th in the US and on the 19th for the UK and rest of Europe. The album is called All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone and clocks in at 44 minutes long with six songs on tracklist.* It was produced by John Congleton who also produced The Earth is Not A Cold Dead Place. They're playing at the Drift in Los Angeles tomorrow night and have just announced new tour dates for, Brooklyn, New York City, London, Brussels and hinted a future North American tour. Get tour dates here or scroll towards bottom for the dates. They also have a pre-sale to avoid the crazy surcharges for the Brooklyn show at Warsaw and the Wordless Music Series in New York City, hurry before the public gets their hands on them on Nov. 15th.

*I found some more info on Explosion's new album, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone from a Pitchfork news entry. The album will have a limited edition and deluxe versions bundled up with six remixes from Four Tet, Eluvium, Adem, Jesu, Mountains and John Congleton's own Paper Chase. You can hear what will be the second track, "Welcome, Ghosts" of their new album here. Here is the tracklisting...

All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
| Explosions in the Sky

  1. The Birth and Death of the Day
  2. Welcome, Ghosts
  3. It's Natural to Be Afraid
  4. What Do You Go Home To?
  5. Catastrophe and the Cure
  6. So Long, Lonesome

The bonus disc (sweet!)
  1. The Birth and Death of the Day (Jesu remix)
  2. Welcome, Ghosts (Adem remix)
  3. It's Natural to Be Afraid (The Paper Chase remix)
  4. What Do You Go Home To? (Mountains remix)
  5. Catastrophe and the Cure (Four Tet remix)
  6. So Long, Lonesome (Eluvium remix)
More Cowbell has an entry on Explosion's new album and has a larger photo of the album's art cover!

About them live...
I have seen them twice live. Their sets are usually about an hour long and they play without stopping. No small talk on stage, these guys play straight through. Adjusting pedals and strings inbetween songs, but its hardly noticeable with the distortion and just single-note strumming leading into the next song. They don't just stand there and play, they jump, their hands crash against the strings, they crawl on stage, they nurse the sounds and release them into the air, they come alive. It is the most awful thing to miss an Explosions show, and it is the most beautiful thing to attend one.


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Sad Loud America/Temporary Residence Ltd.
How Strange, Innocence

Explosions with a heap of distortion and then some. But it has this "lightness" as they mention on the liner notes. Sounds as if it's underwater, the distortion if anything highlights the lighter parts and those moments of clarity is the beauty of the album. It really does remind me of the ocean,
like the new artwork by Esteban Rey interprets it: the see/sea-saw turbulence and then the calmness of the ocean after a storm. Best song on there, "Look Into the Air" hands down, the beginning is ineffable.

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Temporary Residence Ltd.
Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever

A metamorphosis, no lightness, just dark. Complete pitch black dark and confusion, what an album. At times, they sound like a noisy Mogwai and pull a complete switchup to minimal Godspeed You! Black Emperor feel. There are also clips inserted in "Have You Passed Through This Night?", a voice-over, sound of a gunshot, a line taken from the movie The Thin Red Line". Even unfolding the sleeve there is a drawing of a plane that says, "This plane will crash tomorrow". A lot of cymbal riding and resonating even after songs have ended. The drums are incredibly important in Explosions, not just to keep rhythm or be background noise. The distortion here is well-placed! This album...when it's loud, it's LOUD and then its so quiet you feel like you're in a church.
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Temporary Residence Ltd.
The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

Like a white wall from far away, but close up with so many subtle nuances. Their sound has evolved so much, but we can still hear ten seconds of it and say its an Explosions album. It is an extremely minimalistic stripped down, bare-bones album, hardly any distortion. Their most accessible and popular album. Their well known songs like "First Breath After Coma" and "Your Hand in Mine" are on here. I love "Six Days At the Bottom of the Ocean" and "Memorial" along with the rest. This is a long album with each song over the 8 minute mark. It is truly so epic and heart-clenching. If this isn't beautiful, I don't know what is.

Current Tour dates:

02-19 Brooklyn, NY - Warsaw
02-20 New York, NY - Society for Ethical Culture Concert Hall (Wordless Music Series)
02-26 Brussels, BEL - AB Box/Ancienne Belgique
03-01 London, UK - KoKo's
03-11 Sunrise, FL - Langerado Music Festival - Markham Park


...from How Strange, Innocence
Look Into The Air | Explosions in the Sky

...from Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever
A Poor Man's Memory | Explosions in the Sky

...from The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place

Memorial | Explosions in the Sky


>>> Explosions in the Sky's Official Site
<<< Download The Rescue EP (click on bottom left album for mp3s)
>>> Buy Explosions in the Sky's albums
<<< I live in New York, where's the pre-sale?
>>> Read synopsis on Friday Night Lights
<<< Hear new song, "Welcome, Ghosts"!



Anthony said...

Ahhhh Explosions in the Sky!

Can never get enough of the first two discs and yet they don't like playing that stuff much. :/

a camera in the crowd said...

Yeah, they tend to play more from This Earth is Not A Cold Dead Place, but who can blame them? It's their latest album. But I know what you mean, I am still waiting for to hear "Look Into the Air" live someday.


Wayne said...

just came to your blog, i agree explosions in the sky are really quite special, i have all their stuff, just havent seen them live yet, look forward to reading more in the future