Music recommendations similar to Air, Explosions in the Sky
November 6, 2006 9:18 AM   Subscribe

I love music by Air and Explosions in the Sky. Can you recommend bands/songs that sound similar? Also, what is this type of music called? (Lounge, ambient?) TIA.
posted by catburger to Media & Arts (28 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
I too like those bands, and also dig Mogwai, Sea & Cake, and Sigur Ros.

Pandora is a good way to find similar sounding bands.

I believe the term for this type of music is post rock though I am horribly out of the loop when it comes to these types of things.
posted by suki at 9:26 AM on November 6, 2006

Explosions is definitely post-rock; Air is closer to electronica/ambient.

I like both though, and some other good stuff in the vein of Explosions is Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Sliver Mt. Zion, Fractal Pattern, Do Make Say Think and Tortoise.
posted by thisjax at 9:37 AM on November 6, 2006

Bands like Explosions in the Sky: Mono, Dilute, Hammock, and Southpacific.

Out of those I highly recommend Mono.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:38 AM on November 6, 2006

Back in '95, all the kids were calling this sort of thing "Trip Hop." More recently, that term has been replaced by things like "Downtempo," "Downbeat," "Nu Jazz/Nu Lounge," "Chill" or "Chillout," and endless variations on those and more.

Other bands who occupy this niche include Koop, Thievery Corporation, Zero 7, The Dining Rooms, B Tribe, Weekend Players... the good news is, there's a loooooong list.

Pandora is a great resource -- don't miss out. is also a great site for news and samples of this type of tunes.
posted by CMichaelCook at 9:41 AM on November 6, 2006

This Will Destroy You.
posted by god hates math at 9:50 AM on November 6, 2006

There was a band running around Portland for quite a while called Dahlia. Both of their CDs (Emotion Cycles and Vase(s)) are available on iTunes.
posted by SpecialK at 9:53 AM on November 6, 2006

Perhaps Lanterna or Boards of Canada. Hooverphonic is worth a listen too.
posted by symphonik at 9:55 AM on November 6, 2006

Yah, by my terminology explosions in the sky would be post rock, like
Do Make Say Think
Early Day Miners
while air would be more like electronica, where I'd suggest
Lali Puna
you can check my audioscrobbler page to get a sense of where I'm coming from, if you like...
posted by mdn at 10:07 AM on November 6, 2006

Great suggestions so far. You might also try Styrofoam and The Notwist. I'm glad you asked what to call this kind of music, because I've been wondering myself.
posted by vytae at 10:08 AM on November 6, 2006

Definitely get a hold of Do Make Say Think's 'Winter Hymn Country Hymn Secret Hym' - that and EITS's 'How Strange, Innocence' are two of my mega-favourite albums of the last couple of years.
You'd like anything on Constellation records, probably, all of the GYBE offshoots, but to jump in I'd recommend Godspeed You Black Emperor's 'Lift Your Skinny Fists (...)' - a manifesto/masterpiece.
posted by Flashman at 10:09 AM on November 6, 2006

I second the recommendation for Mono. They share a record label, Temporary Residence Limited, with EITS, and are just downright awesome. Their latest album, You Are There is fantastic, and available on iTunes if you're into that. They just released another album with World's End Girlfriend (a Tokyo-based experimental composer) called "Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain" which is nowhere near as scary as the title suggests; rather, it is a neoclassical symphony, for lack of a better description. It's just awesome.
posted by The Michael The at 10:30 AM on November 6, 2006

Along the lines of Air:
Blue States
Kruder & Dorfmeister
Dzihan & Kamien
Fila Brazillia (note the spelling--frequently misspelled)
Zero 7 (perhaps too obvious to mention, but still)
Everything but the Girl

What to call it? Good question. The people who are really into electronica seem to have an impossibly fine categorization system (caution: annoying flash intro, annoyinger network maps of styles).
posted by adamrice at 11:15 AM on November 6, 2006

I believe people have covered the post-rock (shoe-gazer) side pretty well, though there are some well-known variants with minimal lyrics: sigur ros and my bloody valentine.

As for the air/ambient side--Brian Eno is a mainstay. But also try to find Death Cube K, which provides a real depth in the guitar-ambient world.
posted by cmorris at 11:43 AM on November 6, 2006

Here are some more you might like... Tristeza, the Album Leaf, Fridge, Nightmares on Wax, destroy all dreamers, Four Tet, M83, Ulrich Schnauss, and others on Temporary Residence such as Sonna, Parlour, Sybarite, or Tarentel.
posted by Xelf at 11:56 AM on November 6, 2006

Four Tet
The American Analog Set
Boards of Canada
Broken Social Scene
The Album Leaf
The Books
posted by monsterhero at 2:12 PM on November 6, 2006

There's a great song by Kinski called "Semaphore" that also fits this description quite nicely.
posted by saladin at 2:34 PM on November 6, 2006

posted by chimaera at 2:51 PM on November 6, 2006

While I too adore GYBE, EITS, and Mogwai, this list would not be complete without Part Chimp. They are the blistering smackdown of which we've all been dreaming.
posted by rudster at 4:00 PM on November 6, 2006

Hella (
Lightning Bolt (
The Dining Rooms
Velma (sample track on my site)
Someone is Flying (do make... offshoot)
Sybarite (sample track on my site and another here)
Mefi's own Fake (sample track on my site)
Caribou (aka Manitoba; sample)
Polmo Polpo (sample)

Some ambient I dig:

Dead Texan
Stars of the Lid
Tim Hecker
Kammerflimmer Kollectief (especially cicadidea)

Note: all tracks shared with permission of artists.
posted by dobbs at 4:35 PM on November 6, 2006

I'll add Bonobo to the in-the-vein of Air list, and third Pandora as an excellent way to find "sounds like" music.
posted by SampleSize at 6:40 PM on November 6, 2006

For bands that are similar to Explosions in the Sky, I'd definitely start with Godspeed You Black Emperor. Both Explosions in the Sky and Mono (whom I'd also recommend) have been accused of being GYBE imitators. I think that's an unfair accusation, but it does show that there's a distinct similarity. I'll also second the recommendations for Tarentel, Mogwai, and the various GYBE-related bands (Silver Mount Zion, Do Make Say Think, Esmerine, etc.).
posted by klausness at 3:13 AM on November 7, 2006

I second our own Fake, and I forgot Red Sparowes, but mostly I wanted to pop in & say thanks to dobbs & advise everyone else to check out that page - top notch stuff.
posted by mdn at 2:45 PM on November 7, 2006

You're welcome, mdn.

klausness, how is Do Make Say Think GYBE-related? They don't have crossover members that I'm aware of--yeah, they're both Canadian and instrumental and have records on Constellation but I don't think they're really related.

One Do Make-related band not mentioned yet is Lullabye Arkestra (Justin Small's in both bands). They don't fit the OP's criteria but readers of the thread may like them. Sample of them covering Gershwin here (again, with permission).
posted by dobbs at 3:11 PM on November 7, 2006

Hmmm, I thought they had some overlap in personell, but I guess it's just that they're both on Constellation....

But as long as I'm here, let me also second the recommendation for Labradford.
posted by klausness at 4:34 PM on November 7, 2006

Oh, and speaking of GYBE-related bands, I'd also recommend Set Fire To Flames (who really do have personell overlap with GYBE), if you like somewhat more experimental stuff.
posted by klausness at 5:32 AM on November 8, 2006

Another recommendation (in a vaguely post-rockish/experimental vein): Larsen.
posted by klausness at 11:56 AM on November 8, 2006

The Cafe Ibeza and Waiting For Koop albums fit into this genre--while there are various variations, I just call it ambient electronica. Excellent suggstions above: Lanterna, Boards of Canada, The Album Leaf, Zero7, Dzihan & Kamien, Sigur Ros, Vangelis, Ulrich Schnauss, Marconi Union, William Orbit, Junkie XL, John Beltran ...and I've been listening a lot to some new artists--Jed & Lucia...and Gooding.
posted by DudeAsInCool at 10:08 PM on November 12, 2006

saxon shore, windsor for the derby, labradford, maybe pell mell.

i continue to be in a weird camp where i love, love, love explosions in the sky, and could never really get into the hype of gybe. they're a more accessible sort, i guess, at least for me...
posted by ifjuly at 1:41 PM on November 19, 2006

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