"classic rock that *really* rocks, with no vocals"
October 24, 2021 1:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for the name of a feel of music that I want to turn on in certain situations (mostly getting stoned and playing games, or getting stoned and watching a camp fire, or getting stoned and riding bikes). I have a few example songs linked inside, and I'm hoping my dreams will come true and will discover some great music!

In a single sentence, maybe something like: "Neil Young in a garage with a bass player and drum player, and they just play a ton of guitar solos and really groove together without singing." So, a real basic band - guitar, bass, drums. And maybe some others thrown in too, but no organ, orchestra, or choir, etc.

I really enjoy the raw energy of Jethro Tull, Stand Up, and would love to have it be all instrumental, and get rid of the flute and organ.

Pink Floyd, of course, really moves me and i love the vibe, but I'm hoping for something simpler and more raw.

Khruangbin is AMAZING but it also sounds more over-produced than what I'm looking for. If they could just JAM for a while, and be more raw and less compositional.

Have to mention the Eagles, as well. I'd love to have just their instrumental bits all jammed into a album.

I'm not so into prog rock or metal where it gets very technical, or with complicated instruments, or spacy-sounding stuff. I'm not so into jam bands where they're up on stage just jamming, I want stuff that ROCKS. I'm not so into funk or funky beats, that's great stuff but it doesn't ROCK. Not looking for stuff with much acoustic rhythm guitar.

I'd love to hear suggestions albums to work through, but I'd really love a brief explanation of what the sound is I'm looking for, too.I mostly listen to jazz and electronica so I'm not really well versed in the ways of the rock. If there's something really obvious I'm missing, please mention it!
posted by rebent to Media & Arts (47 answers total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
It might sound a little off from your target, but surf rock would be a good jumping off point to find music that might work. It can be decidedly non-heavy, too trebly perhaps, but a basic feature of surf bands is NO SINGING. Perhaps also too uptempo but again it's start -- there might be sub-genres of surf that zero in closer to what you want.

I'm sure Spotify and other streaming services have playlists.
posted by intermod at 1:50 PM on October 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

I think Explosions in the Sky would be right up your alley.
posted by General Malaise at 1:57 PM on October 24, 2021 [8 favorites]

If you want to like Khruangbin but don't, give Mdou Moctar a shot. bandcamp (presented with the caveat that there are vocals, but not in English)
posted by clockwork at 2:11 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

I would call that roughly “post-rock”, but that’s a pretty broad category.

It sounds kind of like you’re describing Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
posted by mekily at 2:14 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

You might like Alien Love Secrets by Steve Vai
posted by jordemort at 2:23 PM on October 24, 2021

Best answer: Neu!
posted by clockwork at 2:25 PM on October 24, 2021 [7 favorites]

In high school composition class, we were put in groups and had to create a piece on video illustrating some concept (my group was assign violence). Our teacher had as an example a piece done by a group a ,year or two ahead of me. Theirs was basically them jumping their bikes in slow motion to a Pink Floyd song. Never remember which one. That video was so cool.
posted by Fukiyama at 2:27 PM on October 24, 2021

I would call that roughly “post-rock”, but that’s a pretty broad category.
It sounds kind of like you’re describing Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

In some cases, yeah, but GY!BE has a prominent string section, for example.

The Warlocks:
Jam of the Witches
Tribute to Hawkwind

Yo La Tengo: I Heard You Looking
posted by LionIndex at 2:30 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

It sounds to me, from your description of both the music you're looking for and the activities you prefer, that you're looking for stoner rock. Might be a bit too metallic for your tastes and often has vocals, but maybe give it a try. Some examples:

Kyuss - Thumb

Monster Magnet - Negasonic Teenage Warhead and the 32-minute epic Tab

Sleep - Dragonaut

Fu Manchu - Saturn III and Laserbl'ast
posted by googly at 2:35 PM on October 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Sticking a bit more to the "real rock" / "basic band" description in your request - you might enjoy some older Allman Brothers live sets. Some of the solos do get a little bit jam-band-y, but they always come back to a recognizable Allman Bros. tune, and some of the solos are like, basically just that for 10 minutes. There are a few sets on Youtube, and many more available via torrent, depending on how you feel about that approach. (I won't comment on the technical legality of that, but I will say that the Allman Brothers have not in fact objected very much historically to the swapping of their sets online, or via cassette trading before that.)
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 2:38 PM on October 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

I used to know a guy who was in a band called Riding Shotgun. They were definitely all instrumental rock, though I don't know how closely it fits your tastes.
posted by gideonfrog at 2:42 PM on October 24, 2021

Might be heavier than what you're looking for, but you're describing Russian Circles to a T.

Instrumental. Guitar, bass, drums and some loop pedals. "Post metal" is probably the best label. One of the best live shows I've ever seen.
posted by so fucking future at 2:58 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

You might like like ELO's Fire on High? Listen all the way through to the end- it has MOODS
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:01 PM on October 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

Sticking a bit more to the "real rock" / "basic band" description in your request - you might enjoy some older Allman Brothers live sets.

I think the fact that I was immediately going to suggest one Allman Brothers' song in particular is a good supporting vote for this.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:22 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

How about karaoke versions of your faves?
posted by a humble nudibranch at 4:05 PM on October 24, 2021

Best answer: Earthless is definitely what you're looking for. Check out the album "Rhythms from a Cosmic Sky - two 20-minute songs and one excellent 4-minute single. You can fast forward through the 3-minute intro if you want but it's a nice setup.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 4:05 PM on October 24, 2021

Best answer: Possibly Budos Band's later stuff, maybe starting from Burnt Offering onwards. They still have the horn section, but the kind of Sabbath-y vibes get heavier than in their earlier material.
posted by juv3nal at 4:06 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

No lyrics makes this harder, since a lot of the 'classic rock' genre formula at least has a chorus or two between the drum solo and the guitar solo, etc. For extended instrumentals, you have to go for the long songs.
From the 'classic rock' instrumentals canon:
No lyrics, guitar/bass/drums, plus conga drums and electric piano: Carlos Santana - Soul Sacrifice (try that riding your bike)
Some lyrics, but more for mood than content, g/d/b plus horn section and electric organ: Chicago - 25 or 6 to 4
No lyrics, g/d/b, sax solo, plus the birth of the 'key-tar' concept: Edgar Winter - Frankenstein
It's got ooh he's singing about drugs lyrics before each instrument takes their turn, but trust me, it's nine minutes of three dudes absolutely CRUSHING IT on g/d/b, don't let the name fool you: Grand Funk Railroad - Inside Looking Out
posted by bartleby at 4:21 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Try some of the suggestions named in Wikipedia's article on instrumental rock, especially Jeff Beck, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, and Eric Johnson.
posted by AndrewInDC at 4:35 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Are actual 70s instrumentals like “Eruption” or “Frankenstein” too obvious?
posted by kevinbelt at 4:41 PM on October 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Not too obvious!
posted by rebent at 5:05 PM on October 24, 2021

Best answer: Booker T. & the M.G.'s is worth a listen.
posted by eotvos at 5:15 PM on October 24, 2021 [4 favorites]

If it were me wanting to dig into this kind of music, I'd methodically work my way through the back catalog of the standard classic rock artists: Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, Yes, Genesis, etc. They all have instrumental tracks (not many, but some) and/or vocal-light tracks. You're looking for a very raw sound, though, so that might be tougher to find.

Songs I'd include on my personal version of this playlist:
  • "Moby Dick" by Led Zepplin seems to be exactly what you're after. Here's more LZ instrumentals.
  • "Home by the Sea" by Genesis (which has vocals), followed by "Second Home by the Sea" (which has no vocals). Both are probably over-produced for what you want. Also, "Los Endos" (which is a great song).
  • "The Launch/Countdown/Ignition" by Boston, which is WAY too produced for you. "Foreplay" might work, although it then segues into "Long Time", which has vocals.
  • "La Villa Strangiato" by Rush. Also, "The Main Monkey Business".
  • Does U2 count? They have some instrumental tracks in their early work (B sides, mostly), and I think it's the sort of sound you're after.
There are many, many classic rock songs that might not be purely instrumental, but which have long, extended instrumental sections. I'm a big fan of Styx, and I feel like many parts of "The Grand Illusion" would fit what you're after. Same with Journey, Paul McCartney,

Finally, here's a Spotify playlist that somebody has put together with music like this. I haven't listened to the playlist, so can't verify that it'll work perfectly for you. But it might. Here's another list. And another. And here's a megalist.

I have to stop now. I don't want to spend the evening making a new playlist, but I'm very close to doing so...
posted by jdroth at 5:18 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: If not too obvious, Jimi?
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 5:29 PM on October 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Hmmm... What do you think of metal guitar shredding?
posted by kschang at 5:46 PM on October 24, 2021

"Boogie rock" matches some of what you're looking for--longish blues-based rock with a swing beat & big guitar solos. Lots of great instrumentals by Canned Heat, Status Quo, Grand Funk Railroad.

Also, not classic rock but maybe of interest here: Wooden Shjips plays driving rock with minimal vocals and a psychedelic feel.
posted by miles per flower at 5:49 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

the mermen have a ton on archive.org
posted by j_curiouser at 5:50 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've marked as best answers the comments that lead me to music I liked, and did not mark the ones that did not. I've made a playlist with what I've found so far. I doubt it would be useful for me to list what I dislike about each suggestion not marked, but the majority would be summed up as "This is too showy, I want it more raw like Neil Young" or "This is too metal" or "this is a little too spacy."
posted by rebent at 6:08 PM on October 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: and! THANK YOU!!!!!!!
posted by rebent at 6:08 PM on October 24, 2021

Best answer: You might also enjoy exploring Every Noise At Once; you can find hyper-specific subgenres on there!
posted by Threeve at 8:26 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Maybe Freddie King? His career in the 60s seemed to have a fork, away from blues, where he performed, I guess you would say, instrumental rock and roll, which was more of a thing at the time. I don't know his actual discography, but it seems enough of his music fits the "instrumental rock n roll" category. And they generally fall in with the times, 2:30 songs, guitar based, mostly variations on 12 bar blues. The only one I can think of off the top of my head would be "San-Ho-Zay", but there are a good number out there mixed in with his blues/soul numbers where he provides a vocal.
posted by 2N2222 at 8:30 PM on October 24, 2021

Link Wray's Rumble might be original prototype for this.
posted by JonJacky at 10:02 PM on October 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

some more ideas:

My Sleeping Karma? My Sleeping Karma - Ephedra (live, 2019) .

Television's album Marquee Moon -- fails the "no vocals" requirement. There's a solid 5 minute instrumental section in Marquee Moon from 4:25 -- 9:30. The whole album is great.
posted by are-coral-made at 2:57 AM on October 25, 2021

Maybe Föllakzoid ? They have some vocals but they're in the back mostly.
posted by SageLeVoid at 3:40 AM on October 25, 2021

Joe Satriani is my go to for instrumental rock guitar. He's gone through a variety of styles with his older albums being more straight rock and his newer ones being a bit more prog-rock.

Steffen Schackinger is another instrumental rock guitar musician I'm fond of.
posted by Awfki at 4:53 AM on October 25, 2021

Best answer: Eddie Hazel - Lompoc Boogie
posted by cubeb at 6:13 AM on October 25, 2021

Outlaws - Greengrass and High Tides has some lyrics, but has like 5 minutes of rocking at the end. It's from the '70s - true classic rock jam.

Not classic rock, but rocking instrumentals: Most of his music has lyrics, but he does an instrumental or two every album:
Rev Horton Heat - Psychobilly Freakout

Rev Horton Heat - Slingshot

Rev Horton Heat - Big Sky

Rev Horton Heat - Beer
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:16 AM on October 25, 2021

Best answer: How has no one mentioned Bardo Pond yet?
posted by sjswitzer at 7:38 AM on October 25, 2021

Best answer: Colour Haze is super Hendrix-y/Zeppelin-y psych/stoner rock with minimal vocals and tons of ripping solos. If you liked the Earthless rec, which I am heartily seconding, you'll like this. It fits your "ROCKS" criteria for sure.
posted by windbox at 8:44 AM on October 25, 2021

You might also look into foreign-made psychedelic rock, like the Flower Travellin' Band (from Japan). Their album "Satori" is mostly instrumental jams (with a smattering of lyrics) in the Black Sabbath mold, with an emphasis on guitar and drum grooves.
posted by Strange Interlude at 9:42 AM on October 25, 2021

Maserati, also within the post-rock, instrumental genre - the feel I got when I first listened to them was "What if Pink Floyd, but with some Terminator OST?"
posted by mephisjo at 11:00 AM on October 25, 2021

ZZ Top are the kings of this sound.
posted by rollick at 1:20 PM on October 25, 2021

Ack, sorry wrong link above -- anyway there are some instrumental ZZ Top tracks on Youtube that you might like
posted by rollick at 1:39 PM on October 25, 2021

More psychedelic: Tame Impala and Jeff Buckley may have too many words and short songs, but Kevin is mixed low in the Tame Impala sound.
posted by k3ninho at 4:04 PM on October 25, 2021

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