Post-Rocktoberfest: US Post-Rock Still Doesn’t Suck as Much as You’d Think!

October 9, 2009 at 9:00 am 8 comments

There’s a thread on the UK Post-Rock Group’s forum called Newer Bands in the Spirit of Early UK Post-Rock. One of the most interesting facts to have emerged from this discussion is that, today, it’s American bands who most successfully encompass the essence of UKPR. Two such bands have recently released absolutely stunning albums.

Nudge - As Good as Gone

Nudge - As Good as Gone

Nudge is an ongoing collaboration between Portland musicians Paul Dickow (aka Strategy), Brian Foote (who runs the Audra Glint label) and Honey Owens (a survivor of Jackie-O Motherfucker). These fellows have released a bunch of albums but their new record for Kranky – As Good as Gone – seems to have brought them to a whole new level of prominence. And with good reason – As Good as Gone is an impressively confident resolution of opposing tendencies towards abstraction and song-craft. Folding in elements of glitchy electronica, dub, shoegaze and even the blues, tracks like “Two Hands” and “Aurolac” (which sounds remarkably like Papa Sprain’s “I Got Stop”) are utterly convincing in their effortless eclecticism and stark moodiness.

Buy it from Kranky.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Ashes Grammar

A Sunny Day in Glasgow - Ashes Grammar

Philadelphia’s A Sunny Day  in Glasgow may have a lighter, bouncier sound  but it’s a sound that shares Nudge’s emphasis on digital electronics, sinuous grooves and soaring, atmospheric guitars. On Ashes Grammar, the band explicitly declares a diffidence (with song titles like “Shy” and “Passionate Introverts (Dinosaurs)” ) that is somewhat perplexing given the musical confidence on display. This another beautiful and highly accomplished piece of work.

Buy it from Mis Ojos Discos.

Over the last few of years, the emergence of bands like Gang Gang Dance and The Dirty Projectors has shown us that there’s a surprising amount of life left in America’s indie rock scene. These two albums suggest that the spirit of UK post-rock is likely to play an important role in the continued development of this welcome trend.

Entry filed under: avant rock, MP3s, post-rock, Post-Rocktoberfest 2009. Tags: , , , .

Post-Rocktoberfest: This Papa Sprain Thing is Getting Ridiculous! Post-Rocktoberfest: Terminal Cheesecake – King of All Spaceheads (Jackass) 2LP

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cregan  |  October 11, 2009 at 8:29 pm

    oh….. U.S. Post Rock Couldn’t POSSIBLY Suck As Much As I Think.

  • 2. Biggie Samuels  |  October 11, 2009 at 8:55 pm

    Papa Sprain must have the snarkiest ex-members of any musical group that ever was. “Snarkiest” is a word, right?

    Seriously, though: (a) Since writing the previous U.S. post-rock post, I’ve been in awe of how beautiful Labradford’s A Stable Reference still sounds and (b) I honestly think Nudge’s record might be the album of the year – certainly it’s the one I’ve listened to most compulsively.

    Admittedly, I’m probably the only person who’s ever described the Nudge record as”post-rock” but the similarities with Papa Sprain are really quite striking – especially Brian Foote’s vocals. This has too be a coincidence, doesn’t it? He couldn’t possibly have heard of Papa Sprain, could he?

  • […] 5, 2009 Valet (Honey Owens of Nudge) at Little Mountain, with Sinoia […]

  • […] Records puts out a lot of decent stuff but this is something else altogether. Like As Good as Gone by Nudge, Alphabet 1968 is an unassuming record that – in it’s own quiet way – has the […]

  • 5. Albums of the Year 2009 « Bubblegum Cage III  |  December 24, 2009 at 9:11 am

    […] Originally reviewed in October. […]

  • 6. Grandpa Chris  |  January 17, 2010 at 11:09 am

    The Nudge cover uses the same picture as Explosions in the Sky’s “Travels in Constants (Vol. 21): The Rescue”, part of the Travels in Constants series, subsequently given as a free download on the Explosions in the Sky website. If their covers are that unoriginal, I’m not inclined to download the music. Sorry for the late response – I only just discovered this blog.

  • 7. Biggie Samuels  |  January 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    I don’t imagine the Nudge folks are trying to copy Explosions in the Sky’s artwork ideas. Seems unlikely they would have seen the EitS cover. Most likely, both bands just stumbled across the same stock image/weird, cheesy painting and thought it would make a good album cover. In any case, I’d personally take two bars from Nudge over EitS’s entire recorded output. As Good as Gone was the best album of 2009 and it demands to be purchased – on vinyl.

  • […] be seen as being part of indie rock’s minor creative renaissance, which has been noted on this here blog and elsewhere. Truth be told though, Phil Elverum – aka The Microphones aka Mount Eerie […]


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