Iconic Texas instrumental post rockers from EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY are streaming most of their releases via bandcamp and below. Check out their transcendental and reflexive tunes and read the band’s official commentary below.
Stay tuned for some details on their new full length very soon! The band will be playing three shows with DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE later this year. The commented:
On September 11th we’ll be in Boston at the Blues Hill Bank Pavilion, on September 12th we’ll be in NYC at Madison Square Garden, and on September 13th we”ll be in Columbia, MD. at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Tickets for all three shows go on sale on Friday morning. We hope to see some of you there. In the meantime, we’ll be working on a new album. Wish us luck.
What takes us so long between albums? It’s a fair question.
One of us got married. One of us has had two kids since the last album. One of us has panic attacks.
One of us took classical guitar lessons. One of us restored a piano from 1888. One of us had a serious illness in the family (and a recovery). One of us attempted, but did not complete, the P90X program.
One of us was obsessed with this new album having 17 shorter songs. One was obsessed with the album sounding like a dream.
Two of us can’t get to sleep most nights. Two of us wake up early in the morning and can’t get back to sleep. No joke, it’s a challenge schedule-wise.
We had a weekend shut-in sleepover at one of our houses, in which we wrote music and watched movies and threw around ideas. It was productive and come to think of it, we should probably do that more often.
We made at least 50 demos, and that’s probably a conservative estimate. And ended up with six songs.
At one point during these four years we got pretty frustrated and took a hiatus from music. We called it a sabbatical. It lasted a couple months.
When 2010 showed up, with the sabbatical safely behind us, we looked around at all the demos, all the instruments, and tried to see some sort of sense, or theme, or anything in it all. And slowly, we found it was already there. One part became two parts, a new guitar line made one part come alive, an added tambourine made another sing. Things started to fit together in ways we couldn’t have planned. One song was finished, and less than a week or two later another song was finished. The rest followed over the next six months.
All of the songs came from the demos that we had worked on in the previous three years, demos that we had gone away from, and then come back to, and then expanded.
In september of 2010, we drove out to a studio called sonic ranch, 20 miles east of el paso. We spent almost two weeks out there with our friend John Congleton, who recorded the album. It is a pretty great place, with five studios and a pet raccoon on a huge pecan ranch. When that was finished, we went back home to Austin and mixed the album at a studio called public hi-fi. and finally we mastered the album in New York CIty with Greg Galbi. We are pretty ecstatic with how it turned out.
The album is called “Take Care, Take Care, Take Care.” And even though that title sounds like a sign-off from us, it is far from it.
This album was recorded in the woods of Minnesota, just outside the town of Cannon Falls. We recorded for ten days and we slept and ate and watched movies in a house about 100 yards away from the recording studio. It was a great place to make an album. Here are a few of the key ingredients:
Dilapidated swimming pool which held no water, a dangerous bonfire fueled by lighter fluid and tended by inexperienced outdoorsmen, a babbling brook, Trailer Park Boys seasons 1 – 5 (and the Christmas special), two hammocks, trails into the forest, wild turkeys, torrential downpours, elaborate breakfasts, the best backporch in the world, a dangerous snake on the loose inside the house, a trip to the Mall of America, a ghost, and a ride on a rollercoaster.
This album was the hardest for us to write. And also the hardest to record. But it’s the one that we’re most proud of. Thanks for listening.
In the summer of 2002, the four of us decided to temporarily relocate to Midland, Texas. We thought it would be good to get out of Austin and hole up somewhere so we could just focus on writing music for what would be our third album. We knew our way around Midland (three of us grew up there) and the rent was cheap. Also, there is not a whole lot to do there so there would be few distractions. Once there, we spent our days apart…Michael got a job at a video store, Munaf at a Thai restaurant, Mark did some freelance copy editing and Chris walked his dog through abandoned parking lots. Late in the evening we would get something to eat and then head to practice. We had a practice space in the basement of an old downtown office building (which was quite possibly haunted). We could be there from 9pm to 6am. We put up some Christmas lights and got to work. The first couple of weeks were pretty rough. We were having trouble coming up with anything that we liked. It was frustrating and we became rather discouraged. One night we decided to take a break and we drove out to the Monahans Sand Dunes, a few miles outside of Midland. This place is hard to describe. You’re just surrounded by weird, untouched desert. And you can see all the stars in the sky. Michael once described it as “like being on another planet.” We brought a boom box with us and we laid down on the sand and listened to music. For some reason this made us feel better about things. The next night we were back in the basement practice space working on new songs. We can’t remember if it got any easier or any less frustrating but somehow everything started to fall into place. A few weeks later we packed up and moved back to Austin.
Somehow, Jeremy deVine (self proclaimed Temporary Residence “overlord”) convinced us to leave the mild December climate of Austin, Texas and to drive northeast to Baltimore (where Temporary Residence was based at the time) and record what would be our second record and our first for TRL. This was in 2000 and our means of transportation was a barely functioning, deathtrap of a family van loaded with our equipment, our clothes, several bags of snacks and a massive boombox (there was not a working stereo in the van). The trip took us a few days and we think we played some shows on the way there, but the memories are a bit clouded. We found Jeremy’s house and knocked on the door. He answered and invited us inside. The place was in shambles. Boxes of records and CDs scattered about, art supplies crammed into every corner. The physical manifestation of our new record label was a shelf made of cinder blocks and a few planks. Also, it was freezing cold. Jeremy informed us that the house had no heat because nobody had paid the bill. We were concerned. We all slept that night in our parkas and hats and gloves. Then Jeremy woke us all up at seven in the morning (Jeremy doesn’t really sleep much and apparently doesn’t need to) and piled us all into the van. We would be driving to DC where we would be recording the album. Our first actual day of recording was discouraging. We couldn’t play any of the songs right and we were all really nervous. The four of us were convinced that we had made a terrible mistake thinking that we could record an album that a label would actually send to stores for people to buy. At the end of the day, we got back into the van and headed back to Jeremy’s house. None of us were feeling very good. We then stayed up all night talking with Jeremy. We told him how badly we thought the first day of recording went and how it might be best if we just packed up and went home. He didn’t seem concerned. He said he had faith and that he knew that it would turn out alright. Actually, he didn’t talk much about this horrible first day at all. Instead he talked about music and movies and art and food and growing up. He made us all laugh a lot. Eventually we fell asleep. Jeremy woke us at seven again and we drove to DC. And things went well. We recorded for the next few days, waking up early, driving to the studio, recording, eating at the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl, recording some more, driving back to Baltimore, talking, sleeping, dreaming. Less than a week later, we had a finished record and it was time to go home. We said our goodbyes to Jeremy. We were happy and sad. Happy that we had just recorded a record that we were all excited about. Sad because we had made a new, great friend and we weren’t sure when we would see him again. We left. (We scheduled some shows on the way home. One was in Syracuse. The show was in the basement of a house. The police came during our second song and made us stop. The next day our van wouldn’t start. We were stranded. We lived in the attic of some kind strangers. For eight full days we read books and watched blizzards and ate Chinese food and went sort of nuts. We almost missed Christmas. But eventually we made it home).
“How Strange, Innocence” was our first attempt at an album. We recorded it in January 2000 in Austin: recording took two days, mixing one day, mastering one day. Altogether we pressed 300 CD-R copies of this album…We had been a band about seven months when we recorded these songs. A lot of feelings (excitement/confusion/glimpses of visions/waking dreams/inability to play instruments) went into this record, but we didn’t quite know what to do with those feelings, none of us had even really been in a studio before, and it shows in the recording, the songs show it, too–it’s a young record. There are no tricks in it. There’s a lightness in a few of the songs that we probably won’t reach again. It sounds strange to say that instrumental songs are about something, but to us these songs were/are about such things as a couple walking through the park on a winter day, a child playing on 70’s shag carpet, the story of a boy hero leading a revolution against the tyranny of the coal mines. We’ve had a bit of a love/embarrassment relationship with the record. At certain points along the way several of us wanted to buy back all the copies and burn them. Listening now to this album, it almost seems like a different band composed of four different people. We finally feel okay in re-releasing it, probably because we’ve now made a couple of records that are recorded better and that are closer to our visions for them. Anyway, we truly appreciate anyone who is interested and listening. Thank you.
In 2012, our good friend David gathered a small crew of people and wandered out into the woods of Bastrop, Texas to make a movie called Prince Avalanche. He then asked us to team up with our other good friend who is also named David to write the musical score. So we set up a makeshift recording studio in Munaf’s living room and did just that. Over the course of a few weeks, we wrote and recorded a pretty good amount of new music, and we’re happy to be releasing it all as a soundtrack album. The movie itself has also been released, and we think you’ll like it. It’s funny and sad and odd and beautiful and we’re honored to be a part of it.