No bubblegum inside

As four titans of post-rock prepare to hit town, TONY queries them about the oft-maligned, ill-defined genre.

  • Mogwai; Photograph: Steve Gullick

  • Mono; Photograph: Teppei

  • Tortoise; Photograph: Whitney Bradshaw

  • Explosions in the Sky; Photograph: Dianne Jones

Mogwai; Photograph: Steve Gullick

MOGWAI
Hometown: Glasgow
Stats: Since releasing its seminal debut, Young Team (see "Hall of fame," right) in 1997, the not-to-be-fed-after-midnight crew has put out record after record of intense, soaring, sometimes deafening guitar rock.
Upcoming season: Touring behind The Hawk Is Howling, the quintet plays the Music Hall of Williamsburg Monday 27--Wednesday 29.
Sound bite: "Post-rock is a term dreamt up and persisted with by the feebleminded. It displays a stunning lack of imagination as well as gargantuan levels of pretension. I love and play rock & roll music."—Stuart Braithwaite

MONO
Hometown: Tokyo
Stats: Formed in 2000, Mono specializes in massive, sweeping arcs of metallic guitar, arranged with an almost classical sense of space and scale.
Upcoming season: The group comes to the New York Society for Ethical Culture on May 8 and (Le) Poisson Rouge on May 9 to re-create Hymn to the Immortal Wind, a moody new CD with a full orchestra.
Sound bite: "Music is communicating the incommunicable; that means a term like post-rock doesn't mean much to us, as the music needs to transcend genre to be meaningful."—Takaakira "Taka" Goto

TORTOISE
Hometown: Chicago
Stats: Formed in 1994, this versatile veteran combo is the longtime standard-bearer for American eclectic cool.
Upcoming season: Heralding the funky Beacons of Ancestorship (due June 23), Tortoise hits the Bell House May 30, and plays the Bang on a Can Marathon May 31.
Sound bite: "Tortoise has never had any love or use for the term post-rock because from its very definition, it could include everyone from Chuck Berry to Roxy Music to Merzbow. We don't like being pigeonholed."—Jeff Parker

EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY
Hometown: Austin
Stats: EITS has long stood out for the epic quality of its long, cresting tunes. Though it has produced five excellent records—the strongest is 2001's Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever—the quartet is now best known for soundtracking the film and television series Friday Night Lights.
Upcoming season: To celebrate its tenth anniversary, Explosions in the Sky has scheduled a select run of shows, including a stop at Central Park SummerStage June 30.
Sound bite: EITS declined to comment on the term post-rock—which is so very post-rock.

Mogwai cover

Hall of fame
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