In a sense, trying to get my meaning across with these opening paragraphs is more akin to post rock than I'd thought. And that's what I'd like to leave you with before we dive into this month's picks: we don't make this list just to showcase our taste or highlight great bands (although the latter is a big part of it, for sure). We also do it because we feel like post rock is an important genre with important things to say, things which relate to the basic human condition, our hopes, dreams, failures and expectations of the world us. So as you go deeper into this post, try asking yourself what emotions, modes of thoughts and perspectives is this mostly instrumental music trying to get across to me? What is being communicated by and underneath the music I am listening to?
Below A Silent Sky is a fantastic example of great desert rock. Hailing from Germany, they add to the ever-increasing number of great bands from western Europe (Stone From the Sky and Hubris. to name just two) who are working in the spaces between post metal, post rock and desert rock. Their March release, A View From Afar, weaves these influences into a heady elixir which moves between heavy hitting chords, spaced out meditations and prolonged sojourns in tremolo-picked leads. The opening track, "The Highest Shrine", contains all that and more; the beating heart of the arrangements, the dynamo behind the vehicle that is Below A Silent Sky is, unsurprisingly, a great groove section. Both the drums and the bass are groovy as all hell, adding a certain slickness to the fuzzed out chords and poignant guitar leads.
There are musical moments in your life which change it immediately; you're thunderstruck as an album which you just know will accompany you for years plays for the first time. This happened to me this week when a good friend recommended what he called "one of the most well kept secrets of post rock". Now, I'm a simple man: if I see a title based on a science fiction book (The Years of Rice and Salt is an alternate history novel written by science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson), I click. And goddamn, am I happy I did. Years of Rice & Salt haven't released a lot of music but what's there is simply masterful and none is more masterful than "Nothing Of Cities", their 2011 release. It's a moving piece of cinematic post rock which, somehow, manages to be small, moving, grandiose and epic at the same time. It's crescendo based post rock that still has a heart and direction. It's simply wonderful.
These French delay aficionados certainly deal with the intimacies of build up and crescendos but do so in a way that is infected with a kind of cheery optimism that's hard to resist. The main comparison point has to be Alcest. Fūjon is almost like a dirtier Shelter, doing much to better the formula of that album by injecting the production and composition with a bit more life and meat.