This was my first time seeing El Ten Eleven. The LA-based post rock (even though they hate being categorized) duo recently released its fifth full-length album Transitions, a fast-paced hypnotically layered ten-track.
Kristian Dunn plays a Wal fretless bass and a guitar/bass doubleneck, using multiple loop and effects pedals to create full sounds. Tim Fogarty has his drum kit fed into some of the pedals, giving Kristian the ability to control loops on that as well. By the way — this is all done live. No samples, no pre-recorded loops. They made it a point to make sure the audience knew this. Without dropping names, they were able to subtly bash artist who essentially just hit the play button on their Mac.
As a matter of fact, when a mic went out on stage they decided to do an improv song. Kristian asked the audience for a key to play in, and major or minor. This led into an album-worthy rendition he dubbed “Raleigh in F minor.” This equated to the best stage banter I’ve heard, and compensated for when he tried to say something generic like “so how about that local sports team?” to the audience. Usually this wouldn’t have stricken a nerve, but he got booed for that comment. Apparently only NC State fans were at the show. (Our football team unfortunately lost to UNC for the first time in six years, and it was also their first in-state win of the season.) I forgive you, Kristian.
I couldn’t stop smiling or dancing the entire show. Seeing how the songs came together was incredible and added a lot to the experience of listening to them, live or at home. The projection panels behind them intensified the beats. Plus, being surrounded by zombies, mimes and a Bob Ross was great.
A little after 1:00AM, Kristian announced that they would be playing their final song — they’re “real” final song. He called other artists out for “faking” the encore, the say goodbye but let’s still leave our instruments on stage and walk back out after we let the audience tell us how much they love us for approximately 75 seconds. From the opener “Thanks Bill” (my favorite) to the last note of the last song, the band was on point and engaging. I’m looking forward to catching them again sometime.
Other Truths dares you not to hum along
by DJ Matticus Rex
Do. Make. Say. Think. A list of instructions; suggestions, perhaps. Sound strange to you? Well, welcome to
post-rock, where the music is almost as strange as the band names. For a genre this obscure, an introduction is in order; most people have never heard of it, and many who have still have no clue what it is, so don’t feel bad if it takes a bit of explanation.
Post-rock is, according to Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge) “the use of ‘rock instrumentation’ for non-rock purposes.” There are rarely any words. Post-rock is what you listen to when you want music, but you also need to be able to think about other things, or when you don’t want to think at all. It lacks the aggressive demand for attention of most popular music, and that can be a welcome change for many.
Toronto natives Do Make Say Think, whose sixth album “Other Truths” came out October 6th, are considered forefathers of the genre, alongside bands such as Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky. I’ll be honest; I’d listened to them quite a bit, but I had never quite “clicked” with their music until this release. They’ve often been criticized for being minimalistic, boring, and repetitive, and until now I would have agreed wholeheartedly. This album, however, is something different. I can no longer step away from my iPod. My personal relationships have suffered because of this album, and strangely, I don’t mind. It’s just that good, and I hope I can explain these four tracks that stretch about 43 minutes well enough that you’ll understand why.
Perfumes are described as having sets of “notes,” which unfold slowly and work together to make a (hopefully) pleasing blend. Many of DMST’s songs could be described using the same metaphor (though, incidentally, more literally). Track one, aptly named “Do,” begins with a lone, undistorted electric guitar picking out an achingly beautiful melody. One by one, more instruments are added as both volume and anticipation build to a climax, as is common in post-rock. Several of these climaxes come in quick succession, and then the track begins to devolve in an orderly fashion to a serene, ambient electronic melody, eventually fading to a close.
“Make” begins (gradually, as usual) with a pseudo-European tribal feeling that is realized several minutes into the piece with a low chanting. The track continues its journey with a growing “rock” vibe and builds to the album’s climax (which, as in life, comes in the center), but just when you think you’ve caught on, the track changes direction and slows down, ending in a slow dirge of horns and quiet guitars.
Twin pieces “Say” and “Think” depict a much more pensive and haunting scene, and while they more often slip into repetition, they never truly become a bore (even to my wife, whose idea of being driven to insanity involves being forced to listen to old Do Make Say Think on repeat). These tracks are mellow, but still lend themselves to further inspection for their complexities if one has the time. “Think” draws to a close at a haunting whisper, providing a perfect end to an album that accomplishes the goal of all cerebral music: to portray life as it is, in all of its raw comedy and tragedy.
Give this album a try. Who knows, you might be able to add a new genre to that “Music” block on your Facebook.
Be sure to check out our new speciality show, the Post-Rock Block. As you can probably guess our speciality will be Post Rock, we’ll also play related genres like Krautrock and Shoegaze, the direct descendents of post rock. Many of you probably have no idea just what “post-rock” is exactly. According to the all-knowing Wikipedia, post-rock is:
…a genre of alternative rock characterized by the use of musical instruments commonly associated with rock music, but using rhythms, harmonies, melodies, timbre, and chord progressions that are not found in rock tradition. It is the use of ‘rock instrumentation’ for non-rock purposes.
On the Post-Rock Block you can expect to hear more of the longer, stranger, more experimental tracks that you won’t hear during regular rock programming.
Listen, it’s gonna be great!
by Noobhammer on Dec.11, 2008, under Chainsaw
Pelican is a band from Chicago on the amazing Hydra Head Label run and founded by Aaron Turner, founder of ISIS. Other bands on the label roster include Boris, Jesu, Kayo Dot, Lustmord, Merzbow, Zozobra, and Cave In. Past bands include Cult of Luna, Sunn O))), and Neurosis. Many of these bands are ambient drone bands or post-rock bands. Other bands which are similar to these artists are ISIS, Explosions In The Sky, Mogwai, Anathema, The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, Adai, Red Sparowes, Russian Circles, The Angelic Process, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, North, Godflesh, and Mountains Became Machines. All these bands are pretty heavy, when it comes to emotional and moving music, and have toured with metal bands. Many metal heads listen to these bands and enjoy them. So is Post-Rock really Indie Music? Or is it just another offshoot of Heavy Metal. I’m going to say Metal, due to the sheer fact that most of these bands have metal roots. ISIS was a doom band as well as Anathema. Justin Broadrick, founder of Jesu and Godflesh, was the original guitarist on Napalm Death’s “Scum”. It just seems to me that Post-Rock should have it’s name changed. In this author’s humble opinion, to Ambient Metal. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go work on my Instrumental Ambient Metal Avant Garde band, Renob Sinep.