Listening to Explosions in the Sky's music evokes several moods. Each subtle drone builds to a raw, almost deafening crescendo and winds up back in another valley of mellow, guitar-based melodies. A single song can leave listeners amped up or tranquil, depending on what they're looking for in the music. Most call this brand of instrumental music post-rock, and plenty of musicians are co-opting the sound these days. Pioneered for today's youth by bands like Slint and Maserati, this music typically follows a sort of quiet-loud-quiet formula. (Remember Pink Floyd's "Echoes"? It's a lot like that song.)
Austin's Explosions in the Sky may not be the originators of the sound, but they've done their best in the past few years to hone it into a near-art form. Their shows are legendary -- and loud -- and their albums, 2001's Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever and 2003's The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place, both showcase the band's talents well, and their debut, How Strange, Innocence -- which was reissued last year -- was rumored to have fetched $300 on eBay. Most post-rock acts fly under the radar throughout their careers, yet Explosions in the Sky scored the big-budget Hollywood film Friday Night Lights and last year played sold-out shows in Europe, New York City and Los Angeles. Now they're recording new music for their next album (probably due in early 2007), but Houston music fans have one last chance to catch them before they hole up for the year.
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The Octopus Project's recent One Ten Hundred Thousand Million CD (Peek-a-Boo Industries) is rife with atmospheric, electronic instrumental tracks that bring to mind a less adventurous younger sibling to mid-period Tortoise. Okay, "Six Feet Up" is pretty rockin' techno-flavored surf 'n' spy metal on a Foetus tip, but otherwise, whatever. Might be fun live, though.