Friday, June 10th, 2005
Six Days At The Bottom Of The Ocean
To whoever described Austin’s Explosions In The Sky to me as a Mogwai clone: I have a bone to pick with you. Thanks to you, I didn’t bother discovering this band earlier and thus missed their show at the Horseshoe last Fall. I mean, I like Mogwai but the way you said it seemed so dismissive, like they were some cut-rate loud-quiet-loud-quiet, second-law-of-thermodynamics-inferior copy, that I didn’t think they’d be worth my time.
I was finally exposed to EITS a couple months ago when a friend lent me a copy of The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place and it’s still blowing my mind. I actually had to force myself to return the album as quickly as possible and buy my own so as to not wear it out. Yes, they’re an instrumental “post-rock” guitar band but while the aforementioned surly Scots prefer the more visceral, “kick you in the head and bludgeon you while you’re down” dynamic to get their musical point across, I find Explosions to be more compelling and involving, musically – it’s more orchestrated, refined and overall sophisticated. Different bands for different moods, see? They even got a thumbs up from Austin symphony composer Peter Bay for their modern classicist leanings. It boggles my mind that this music comes from just four individuals. It’s just beautiful.
There won’t be a new full-length anytime soon, at least not before 2006, but they have recorded an EP for the Travels In Constants subscription CD series that should be out sometime this Summer. In the meantime, I have to get my hands on a copy of their first proper album, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever, as well as the soundtrack to the 2004 smalltown football flick, Friday Night Lights, for which they composed the score. I don’t care much for football films in general, but I hear this one is good and I’d see it just to see how this sort of music is incorporated into the film.
Here’s a track from their latest album. It’s a six-and-a-half minute edit (the album version clocks in at just under nine), but it gives an idea of what they’re about.
For your further EITS media needs, check out this fansite which is actually easier to navigate than the official one and has more content, including videos of live shows and a link to the band’s section at The Live Music Archive, where you can download more than a dozen live recordings, all guilt-free. There’s also scads of content at these German and French fansites – check out the Peel Sessions tracks at the latter site. Amazing. Finally, check out this radio session they did for KVRX.
Thanks to 2Fives for pointing out that even though they’ve disbanded, Sea Ray are still updating their website, this time with an update on all members’ post-Sea Ray activities. Man, they were so good.
NME has the entirety of The Tears’ Here Come The Tears available to stream, but if you don’t feel like giving them your personal information and probably signing up for a lifetime of Babyshambles spam, Torr has the tracks directly linked.
I did make it out to see Catlow at the Cameron House last night. It was good. It was also late. I will write it up tomorrow.
np – Mogwai / Government Commissions: BBC Sessions 1996-2003