The Best Post Rock Bands Ever
Post rock is such a beautiful genre, whether heavy or mellow, delivering a message via instrumentals or vocals, the style resonates emotion.
Most of us have our favourite post rock bands, so this post is designed to help you find some more fantastic artists that deserve a listen! With that in mind throughout the article we’ll link you to various songs and albums to listen to for free on Youtube.
One of the pioneers of post rock as we know it today (along with the next band). One of the most recognised artists in the genre, well remembered for the outstanding album called Spiderland.
When people discuss the origins of post rock, especially in regards to instrumentals, Tortoise are usually one of the first artists to be mentioned. In fact the American post rock band are idols for many of the bands listed below.
They released their first single in 1993, which led to the release of their debut self titled album in 1994. What’s even more impressive is that they’re still going today.
17/ Flies are Spies from Hell
I wanted to give a shout out to these guys as they’re going about things the right way. Based in London, they’ve been playing gigs since back in 2004 and they’ve just recently begun recording their second album, which I’m sure will kick ass.
Probably the least mainstream band on this list, so here’s hoping we’ve turned you on to something new. Take a listen to Next Hour and let us know what you think below.
16/ Yndi Halda
The beautifully melodic and emotive elements that create Yndi Halda are created in the form of James Vella, Jack Lambert, Daniel Neal, Oliver Newton, Alexander Petersen. If you’ve not heard them, they sound a little bit like a mix of Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky and Mono.
Enjoy Eternal Bliss is still the only full EP to their name, but recently on their Facebook page they announced they are finalising their new album. Big times may be ahead in 2015 for Yndi Halda.
The first time I watched Maybeshewill they were supporting 65daysofstatic. At the time I had no idea who they were, but by the end of the gig the Leicester based ensemble would become one of my favourite post rock outfits. Red Paper Lanterns is possibly one of their most famous songs and definitely worth a listen.
In Amber is their newest track, which you can check out here.
14/ Do Make Say Think
Here we go! Post rock at its finest. Do Make Say Think are an outstanding Canadian post rock band. The inspiration for their name came from 4 words they saw on an empty elementary classroom wall which they rehearsed in: ‘Do’ ‘Make’ ‘Say’ ‘Think’. The band was born.
Do Make Say Think are currently six albums in, with a seventh on the way in 2015. This is a simply amazing song.
The band is named after their home town in Texas, with a population of just 500, and their music reflects the solitude that such a small town can create, whilst embedding a complex and yet concise texturised sound.
Take a listen to Truth, an outstanding piece of work.
After all of the comments below it seemed like Caspian were the main influencer in post rock that I had missed off the list. They’re new to me, but I love what I hear. I’m sure to others they would be further up this list but for now the American post rock band hailing from Beverly, Massachusetts are in at 12.
This track called Moksha really captivated me and I hope it will you too.
Travelling across to Australia we meet Sleepmakeswaves – one of my favourite post rock artists at this moment in time. The Love of Cartography is in my opinion the best post rock album of 2014.
They released their debut EP in 2008, followed by their first studio album in 2011. The Love of Cartography has received very positive feedback and manages to push post rock to the mainstream seamlessly.
10/ Your Ten Mofo
Originally suggested to me after a post rock list I wrote for The Music Mag, Your Ten Mofo may be slightly lesser known, but their music is definitely not of lesser quality. Why these guys have only 1,000 followers on Facebook is beyond me. To everyone who loves the genre, give these guys some support.
Austria based, the band are fairly new to the scene in comparison with some of the others on the list. They formed in 2006, and are slightly more focused towards easy listening than huge crescendos. Listen to the aptly named Are You Sleepy? here.
9/ If These Trees Could Talk
The 5-piece from Ohio float between post rock and a slightly heavier post metal style. Their sound encorporates a tougher edge with crunching metallic guitar riffs and dynamic crescendos. Going strong since 2006, they are one to watch out for in the future. This album is brilliant – it’s called Red Forest and is full of everything we love about the post rock genre.
Mono, formed in 1999, are a Japanese rock band who create some of the longest, most expressive crescendo’s ever created. Sometimes their tracks are piano led, leading to a classical edge, whereas other times the riff-age offered is just off the chart. A sublime band, who prove that post rock transcends the language barrier.
The band actually went on to influence Fightstar’s track called Mono. It’s not quite their claim to fame, but an interesting tidbit none the less. Mono themselves have received great recognition as one of the most sublime artists in the genre. The minimalist beginnings in Where We Begin is a great place to start.
Having moved more in to a dance-rock area as of late, 65daysofstatic are arguably England’s most recognised post rock band (Mogwai being from Scotland & God is an Astronaut from Ireland). They regularly perform at the largest rock festivals in the UK. I saw them at Download Festival a couple of years back in a random tent and the hooks were like nothing I’d ever heard.
Their latest album We Were Exploding Anyway is fantastic, but a bit more dance orientated. Take a listen to The Fall of Math, which is a breakbeat lead post rock album, which separates itself from any other band on this list.
6/ Godspeed You! Black Emperor
The band that actually hooked me in to the genre. GYBE differentiate themselves at the forefront of post rock with their political and powerful messages delivered through spoken word. A great example is a track called The Dead Flag Blues and here’s a snapshot of the lyrics:
“The government is corrupt, and we’re on so many drugs, with the radio on and the curtains drawn. We’re trapped in the belly of this horrible machine and the machine is bleeding to death.”
5/ This Will Destroy You
Above GYBE? Yes, due to personal preference. The list was easy to assemble, but very hard to think who to put in what position and after a lot of deliberation I went with This Will Destroy You as number 5.
A band I love to shout about, the four piece are another post rock band from Texas. Quiet is one of the most beautiful and moving pieces I’ve ever heard. Their new album titled Another Language was released just a month or so ago.
Despite their recent rift with Metallica, which perhaps isolated a few of their fans, Mogwai have been going from strength to strength, culminating with the release of their 8th studio album called Rave Tapes and a memorable performance at Glastonbury.
The Glaswegian five piece are well known for their tranquil and bleakly beautiful soundscapes culminating in brain scrambling white noise and sledgehammer riffing – sometimes using just two chords and building for minutes at a time. They are perhaps the most similar to Slint on this list.
3/ Explosions in the Sky
And we’re down to our top 3. The four band members formed back in 1999 and are originally from (you guessed it) Texas! Their sound includes elaborately developed guitar riffs, narratively styled instrumentals and something you might not know is that they used to be called Breaker Morant – not quite a catchy name as to the one they perform under today.
The band reached critical acclaim straight from the get go, with their debut album in 2000 How Strange, Innocence. For a band to start so strong and to only grow stronger is a real accomplishment in itself. They have been used in television adverts, movie scores, but unfortunately they haven’t reached anything since their album in 2011 titled Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.
2/ Sigur Ros
Music created by Sigur Ros is an art-form all to itself. How the Icelandic band create a sound so distinctive, whilst retaining the beauty of the genre is exquisite. The songs that are not in Icelandic or English have lyrics formed from the invented language which they’ve called “Hopelandic”. The language is based on Icelandic, but the invention has a more heavenly, mysterious streak.
Since the mid 1990s, Sigur Ros have been making music that no else could have made. The album ( ) is quite frankly one of the most beautiful pieces of art I have ever experienced. Some of the untitled songs from the untitled album still resonate with me years after last listening to them.
1/ God is an Astronaut
After a closely fought contest God is an Astronaut have taken the number 1 spot, potentially with a slight British bias on my side. The Irish band from County Wicklow arguably create the most powerful, energetic and melodic tracks in the genre. Their live shows are a must-see, with fantastic light shows mixed with heavy riffs, intense build up and insane crescendos. Even non-fans of the genre should give All is Violent, All is Bright a listen – it’s one of the best entries in the world of post rock.
Disagree with any of these? Did I miss someone out? Or on the off-chance do you actually like the list? Let me know below!
The owner of The Culture Mag. I love alternative music, films that make me think, oh and anything to do with food!