Many people in the United States will say that post-rock has played itself out — but to just go ahead and label things as straight up post-rock is really the more played out aspect of the criticism, for what exactly makes post-rock? Generally speaking, it’s instrumental music prone to rising crescendos and plummeting musical valleys. The methodology of how various bands get there is often the same, but often times, despite a similar approach, you’ll get wildly different results.

Athens, Georgia-based Maserati and Boston, Massachusetts-based Caspian each passed through Seattle on different tickets, separated by a few days. The two bands, both instrumental and both hanging out with the post-rock cloud looming over their heads, are prime examples of how varied the genre can sound. It isn’t quite played out yet, and these two bands prove it.

 

Caspian

March 5th, 2013 @ Barboza, Seattle
The five members of Caspian huddled on the tiny stage of Barboza in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Caspian can very easily be referred to as a poor man’s version of Explosions in the Sky, but the bands excellent latest release Waking Season showcased the budding group standing on their own two legs. The quintet’s music is loud and abrasive; they haven’t quite mastered how to gently go from Point A to Point B, but they have downright mastered how to make a phenomenal rock riff to get the neck muscles loosened. The key with instrumental tunes is that without lyrics — and generally speaking, no real frontman — the music can only carry the emotional spectrum so far. The rest relies on the band bringing the energy, and Caspian does that better than most. Each member of the band spends time flying around on stage, swinging guitars around, and working on a drenching sweat as quickly as possible, and their music is perfectly suited for this sort of energy. The closing track off of Waking Season, “Fire Made Flesh”, would be the defining closing song of any band’s setlist if Caspian didn’t have the genius drum circle closing ceremony of “Sycamore” off of Tertia to perform.

 

Maserati

March 1st, 2013 @ Sunset Tavern, Seattle
Whereas Caspian might take a bit of time to brood before soaring high, Maserati hits the ground in a full-on sprint. Guitars ricocheted off each other and into the grooving hips of the listeners, the bass rattled lines worthy of notable dance-funk hits, and the drums wailed, wailed, wailed to bring the whole thing home. Mike Albanese filled Jerry Fuchs’ shoes admirably – not by attempting to out-do the late great psych-dance-rock drummer, but by giving the whole thing his own flair.

Albanese’s drumming, like Fuchs’ drumming on previous Maserati efforts, is what ties in the music off ofMaserati VII so well. He is restrained, yet completely drives the beat and focus of the song. When Albanese grooves, Maserati grooves; when Albanese crashes the cymbals, Maserati crashes the eardrums. The band showcases splendid restraint but knows perfectly how to build up and let it all fly out in a much more fun, less serious-sounding way then bands like Caspian know how to do.

Caspian are structured, planned out, and meticulous in their delivery. Maserati are a crash course in psychedelic-rock-grooves, like sitting in the passenger seat of a Maserati convertible, darting around the hills of Abruzzo with the wind flowing through your hair, the experience reminding you that life is generally best lived at high speeds and with loud noises.

 

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