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Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Yr. Skinny Fist Like Antennas to Heaven


Post-rock is one of the most commonly discussed genres of music in the realm of /mu/. By definition, post-rock is essentially the use of standard "rock" instruments (Drums, guitar, bass, keyboard), utilized to create rhythms, textures, and timbre not associated with normal rock. Most post-rock lack vocals. Some believe that the only reason why post rock is popular amongst the indie crowd is due to its obscurity and its very apparent differences from contemporary music, therefore somehow gaining the listener more "indie cred." It's suggested that you ignore this crowd.


Most believe the term was coined by music critic Simon Reynolds, who had used the term whilst reviewing Hex by Bark Psychosis. He further elaborated on his new term by describing it as "using rock instrumentation for non-rock purposes, using guitars as facilitators of timbre and textures rather than riffs and power chords."

Most post rock is influenced by the drone/noise artist of the past, such as Sonic Youth and the Velvet Underground.

The "first wave" of post-rock was brought by Slint's Spiderland and Talk Talk's Spirit of Eden. Spiderland had more of a "hardcore" influence whilst Spirit of Eden was a bit more "art-rock" at its core. These two variables have influenced the genre, with bands such as Swans utilizing the hardcore aspect and other acts like Explosions in the Sky utilizing a more "art-rock" approach.

As the nineties went on, more and more post-rock bands emerged. The use of vocals had dropped in the middle of the second wave, with almost no bands singing except for Sigur Ros and Mogwai. Post rock was especially popular in Eastern Canada, which brought us some of the genre's most prominent bands in Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Do Make Say Think.

Despite the badmouthing by critics, post-rock still maintained popularity by the early 2000s, with such groundbreaking releases coming out such as Sigur Ros' Ágætis byrjun, GY!BE's Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, and other such albums. To this day, the musical genius masses on /mu/ still argue over the genre via pointless flow charts and yelling at each other. The "third wave" of post-rock inspired by Explosions in the Sky is a highly contentious subject.

Popular Post-Rock Acts[]

  • Cul de Sac - Hailing from Boston, in the words of leader Glenn Jones the sound is "closest to being the band I'd dreamed of forming. It allows me to combine my love of open-tuned guitar, played fingerstyle, with my love for electronics and noise, all placed within a rhythmic rock framework." Notable work includes China GateEcim, and collaborations with guitar legend John Fahey and with ex-Can vocalist Damo Suzuki.
  • Explosions in the Sky - Band from Texas, known through their elaborate guitar use and their songs which sound more like "mini symphonies." Most popular album is The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place.
  • Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Montreal band, one of the more influential post-rock acts, known for the 100% instrumental album Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven. Responsible for the later absent of vocals in post-rock albums.
  • Mogwai - This band typically compose lengthy guitar-based instrumental pieces that feature dynamic contrast, melodic bass guitar lines, and heavy use of distortion and effects. Known for Young Team.
  • Sigur Ros - Icelandic three-part band, probably the most popular out of all the other post-rock bands. Known for their angelic sound, the use of a cello bow on guitar, and Jón Þór Birgisson's falsetto vocals. Most famous for Ágætis byrjun.
  • Slint - One of the first post-rock bands to emerge. Known for their compound time signatures, hardcore influences, and being the most "metal" of the realm of post-rock. Known for Spiderland, one of the first post-rock albums.
  • Stereolab - While this Franco-English band touched upon many styles during a diverse twenty-year career, their approach remained consistently recognizable, characterized at all times by an affinity for various types of analog synthesizers, an integrated sound which drew as heavily from various "commercial" pop aesthetics as from the avant-garde, and a pronounced Marxist bent. Key albums: Emperor Tomato KetchupTransient Random-Noise Bursts With AnnouncementsSwitched On (singles/rarities anthology)
  • Swans - Back in the day they were post-punk, when the post-rock fad came, however, they jumped along. They're known for their droning vocals and strange instrumentation. Most popular release by them is Soundtracks for the Blind.
  • Talk Talk - One of the first post-rock bands. Before the transition they were synthpop. Known for their more art-rock core in their music. Most famous contributions by them were Spirits of Eden and Laughing Stock.
  • This Will Destroy You - Another Texas post-rock band. They typically compose lengthy atmospheric instrumental pieces, featuring layers of effects-laden guitar and a heavy usage of dynamics.