Category Archives: Post-rock

Beck: Odelay

Beck – Odelay (1996)

Glenn: Odelay‘s stylistic diversity, junkyard-dada sampling aesthetic, and anticipation of the mash-up have been justly praised. However, what strikes me 14 years out is the sheer range of moods Beck’s masterwork strikes. Is there any other record with this much emotional variety? From the goofball hick-hop of “Sissyneck” to the monster-movie drone of “Derelict” to the melancholy sigh of “Jack-ass” (a personal favorite) to the sheer fun of “Hotwax,” Odelay makes you feel joy, fear, sadness, confusion, and flashdance-ass-pants dance lunacy all in equal measure, sometimes in the same song.

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Filed under 1990s, Hip-Hop, Post-rock, Rock

“In-dee-pen-dent. In-dee-pen-dent.”

The Books – “That Right Ain’t Shit” from The Lemon of Pink (2003)

I think I can speak for my fellow SWR-ians by saying that the Books fucking rule. I heard them live once on a wintry night in Chicago; I was shushed during the boring-ass opening act by an overweight beardo hipster; the Books killed; in a blissed-out stupor I talked with one of the Books afterward. The cellist. His accent was too thick to understand. I tried to shake his hand and he wouldn’t have it. (Later, Jordy asked me, “Is that what you call him? Is he a Book?) Their live set, to be sure, was fantastic. The kind of show where time disappears.

At any rate, our pal Rob tipped me off to the fact that the Books are working on a new album, to be released in the next year. In the mean time, they’re touring. I missed ’em in NC; don’t make the same mistake.

Buy the Books (or just any old book, I recommend Wolf Whistle by Lewis Nordan)

Posted by Glenn

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Filed under 2000s, Experimental, Folk, Instrumental, Post-rock

Two songs I adore



There’s no theme or commentary to today’s post other than it’s Friday and I adore these two songs.

Can – “Mushroom” from Tago Mago (1971)
Califone – “Sawtooth Sung A Cheater’s Song” from Heron King Blues (2004)

What sounds good to you this Friday?

More Califone on SWR

More Can on SWR

Buy the ‘fone

Buy the ‘an

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1970s, 2000s, Acoustic, Experimental, Folk, Post-rock, Prog Rock, Psychedelic, Rock, Roots rock, Space rock

“Barracking, blundering, pillaging, plundering”

imagine that its standing on top of a radio.

imagine that it's standing on top of a radio.

TV on the Radio – “Dreams” from Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes (2004) & “Shout Me Out” from Dear Science (2008)

TV on the Radio are one of those bands that people 25 years from now will listen to and say that’s what the ’00s were like. TVotR’s “life-during-wartime bellow that nailed our post-post-9/11 ennui” has been well-documented, not least because the band formed just after 9/11, but the epoch-defining quality of this band goes further than their evocation of dread, suspicion, ambivalence, and boredom. They are the first (pop) band I know of to use inorganic sounds (that is, electronic sounds meant to sound like they emanate from no instrument played with hands; possibily the buzz and hum in the foreground of so many TVotR songs is the White Noise of Don DeLillo) to do some other than evoke dread, suspicion, etc. They use the growl and hiss and chatter of dial-up modems and dead phone lines and blown tube amps and on-the-fritz iPods and overheated laptops and interrupted cell phone service to call forth, sometimes, joy, pleasure, regret — the big-time sweaty heavy-breath emotions. The ones that wear you out. No coincidence that “Wear You Out” is the final track on their first full-length.

And, in world where more and more pop music seems to be defined solely by what influences it has combined (as if making worthwhile art were as easy as mixing up a batch of frozen margaritas in a blender; would that that were true), TVotR seem like their own men. It is curious when you can spot the influence, where TVotR seem to pull from an alternative canon: David Bowie, Talking Heads, Peter Gabriel, Pixies, Talk Talk, barbershop quartets, Brooklyn noise (am I the only one picking up heavy TVotR vibes on the new Animal Collective record?), even Tom Petty (listen closely to the verse on “Shout Me Out”). Plus, what they do just sounds so right. At their best (these tunes, “Staring At The Sun,” “Blind,” “Wolf Like Me,” “I Was A Lover,” “A Method,” “Tonight,” “Golden Age”), it’s hard to believe that these songs haven’t always existed.

In conclusion: TV on the Radio fucking rules.

TV on the Radio on the Colbert Report

Interview with lead singer Tunde Adebimpe (includes the money quote: “Or these scientists who are working on making a self-contained black hole—how short is that victory party going to be? And how quickly is someone going to turn that to the worst application? It’s like, “We made a black hole!” “Oh cool, can we watch sex on it?” “No, not really.” “Can we kill someone with it?” “Probably.””)

Buy it here (uh, and how come when I search for “tv on the radio” on amazon, the first thing that pops up is Steve Harvey’s relationship advice book?)

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 2000s, Experimental, Post-rock, Rock

Harmonica Favorites, Pt. 3

Yes.  Yes, please.

Yes. Yes, please.

Talk Talk – “The Rainbow” from Spirit of Eden [1988]

Talk Talk used to be another Duran Duran until they holed up in a church and refused to let EMI hear anything from their fourth LP (Spirit of Eden).  Imagine, if you will, a horrified record executive listening to this commercially unpalatable nonsense, flabbergasted at a lack of anything resembling a single and no way to put on a successful world tour.

In any case, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock (their final LP) are important records, the products of fertile and talented musical imaginations (most notably that of Mark Hollis), records that transcend genre and time.  If someone put out this record last year, it would be hailed as a triumph.  If they had put this album out in the seventies, it would be a hidden gem.

But this is a post about harmonicas, and I have never heard a harmonica sound like this.  All distorted and anguished and writhing, a beast of a thing, a perfect introduction to this brilliant “fuck you” of an album.  I mean seriously, harmonicas from a band that used to be just another new wave band?  Brilliant.

Buy it here

Posted by Phil


Filed under 1980s, Experimental, Jazz, Post-rock, Prog Rock

Harriet Beecher Stowe – The May EP

Jeff always played sideways.

Harriet Beecher Stowe – “Waltz” from The May EP [2004]
Harriet Beecher Stowe – “Firebird One” from The May EP [2004]
Harriet Beecher Stowe – “Oceansandsky” from The May EP [2004]

Under the advisement of other SWR personnel, I am making available to the world the unreleased three-song EP by Harriet Beecher Stowe, my band from college.  Featuring the inimitable Jeff Wheeler on the Bass git-box, the irrepressible Mike Kopchick on the drum boxes, and the incontovertible myself on the git-fiddle, these songs are a decent representation of where the band might have gone if we hadn’t split up to do whatever people do after college.  Many thanks due to Ryan Wert for being awesome at putting sounds onto computers.

“Firebird One” also contains the most lyrics HBS ever had in a song, sung through a telephone.

Hope you enjoy.

It’s free you don’t have to buy it.

Posted by Phil


Filed under 2000s, Instrumental, Post-rock, Rock

Horse Story

Dirty Three – “Sue’s Last Ride” from Horse Stories (1996)

I listened to this on the walk to work the other day and didn’t know whether to fall to the grass weeping or jump up in the air and raise my skinny fists like antennas to heaven. Thanks to the estimable Phil J. for turning me on to the Dirty Three.

Adam B. will be interested in Dirty Three’s collaboration with Chan “Cat Power” Marshall.

More Dirty Three at SWR

Buy the Stories

Posted by Glenn


Filed under 1990s, Instrumental, Post-rock