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The Best Post-Rock Albums

The Best Post-Rock Albums

Post-rock, a captivating music genre that emerged in the late 80s and early 90s, is known for its experimental and instrumental nature. By skillfully blending elements of rock, jazz, and electronic music, post-rock creates a mesmerizing sonic landscape that transcends conventional boundaries. This genre has garnered a fervent global following, with numerous bands receiving well-deserved recognition and critical acclaim for their innovative soundscapes and evocative compositions. Whether it’s the ethereal melodies or the intricate layering of instruments, post-rock captivates listeners and takes them on a transformative musical journey.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven” (2000)

One of the most influential and revered post-rock albums of all time is Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven”. Released in 2000, this double album masterpiece consists of four epic tracks that showcase the band’s mastery in creating atmospheric soundscapes.

At its core, “Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven” is a hauntingly beautiful and emotionally charged album. The instrumentation, which includes guitars, strings, horns, and percussion, weaves together seamlessly to create an otherworldly experience. The use of field recordings and spoken word snippets adds another layer of depth to the album, making it a truly immersive listening experience.

The album’s title track is a 22-minute journey that builds up gradually, incorporating different musical themes and motifs before reaching its climactic finale. “Storm” is a brooding and intense track that evokes feelings of unease and impending chaos, while “Static” perfectly captures the feeling of being trapped in an endless cycle.

“Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven” is an album that demands attentive listening and rewards the listener with its intricate layers and emotional depth. It’s a testament to the power of post-rock in creating complex and evocative musical landscapes.

Other notable tracks on the album include “Sleep”, which features a hauntingly beautiful violin solo, and “Antennas to Heaven”, an ethereal track that leaves a lasting impact on the listener.[3]

Black Emperor

Explosions in the Sky – “The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place” (2003)

Another post-rock classic, “The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place” by Explosions in the Sky is a stunning album that showcases the band’s ability to create dynamic and emotionally charged instrumental music.

The album’s opening track, “First Breath After Coma”, sets the tone with its soaring guitars and powerful drumming. The use of crescendos and quiet interludes creates a sense of tension and release, making for a truly immersive listening experience.

The album’s standout track is the 8-minute epic “Your Hand in Mine”, which builds up gradually before reaching its explosive climax. The emotional intensity of this track is palpable, and it’s no wonder that it has become a fan favorite at live performances.

“The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place” is an album that showcases the beauty and power of instrumental music. It’s a testament to Explosions in the Sky’s ability to create captivating soundscapes and evoke strong emotions without the use of lyrics.[3]

Mogwai – “Young Team” (1997)

Mogwai’s “Young Team” is often cited as one of the first post-rock albums that revolutionized the music scene. Released in 1997, this groundbreaking album not only set the bar for future post-rock bands but also left an indelible mark on the genre itself.

With its ethereal blend of dreamy melodies, distorted guitars, and powerful crescendos, “Young Team” takes listeners on a sonic journey like no other. The album’s opening track, “Yes! I Am a Long Way from Home,” immediately captivates with its hypnotic guitar riffs and haunting piano melodies, drawing you in deeper with each note.

What truly sets “Young Team” apart is its masterful use of dynamics. Tracks like “Like Herod” and “Mogwai Fear Satan” exemplify this, gradually building up to explosive climaxes that leave a lasting impact. The ebb and flow of intensity throughout the album create an emotional rollercoaster, captivating the listener from start to finish.

Beyond its technical brilliance, “Young Team” serves as a testament to the potential of post-rock as a genre. Its complexity, raw emotion, and fearless experimentation set the standard for future albums in the genre, making it an absolute must-listen for any fan of post-rock music.[3]

So dive into the mesmerizing world of “Young Team” and experience the awe-inspiring beauty and innovation that solidified Mogwai’s place in music history.


Sigur Rós – “Ágætis byrjun” (1999)

Icelandic band Sigur Rós made waves in the post-rock scene with their sophomore album “Ágætis byrjun”. Known for their ethereal and otherworldly sound, this album solidified their place as one of the most influential bands in the genre.

The opening track, “Intro”, immediately sets the tone with its haunting vocals and atmospheric instrumentation. The album continues to build upon this dream-like quality, with tracks like “Svefn-g-englar” and “Viðrar vel til loftárása” showcasing the band’s ability to create a sense of beauty and melancholy through their music.

What sets “Ágætis byrjun” apart is its use of falsetto vocals in the Icelandic language, adding another layer of mystery and emotion to the already rich soundscapes. The album’s title track is a prime example of this, with lead singer Jónsi’s haunting vocals soaring over a backdrop of layered guitars and strings.

“Ágætis byrjun” is a transcendental experience that leaves a lasting impression on listeners. Its dreamy and ethereal nature transports you to another world, making it a truly unique and unforgettable post-rock album. So take a journey into the unknown with Sigur Rós and their masterpiece “Ágætis byrjun”.[3]

This Will Destroy You – “This Will Destroy You” (2008)

Closing out our list is the eponymous debut album by Texan post-rock band This Will Destroy You. While still relatively unknown in the mainstream music scene, this album has become a cult classic among post-rock fans.

The album’s opener, “A Three-Legged Workhorse”, sets the tone with its powerful drums and soaring guitar riffs. The album continues to build upon this energy, with tracks like “The Mighty Rio Grande” and “Villa Del Refugio” showcasing the band’s knack for creating intense and emotionally charged soundscapes.

What makes “This Will Destroy You” stand out is its ability to seamlessly blend post-rock with elements of ambient and shoegaze music. This fusion creates a dreamy and hypnotic atmosphere that draws listeners in and keeps them captivated until the very end.

While This Will Destroy You may not be as well-known as some of the other bands on this list, their debut album is a masterpiece that solidifies their place in the post-rock genre. It’s a must-listen for any fan of instrumental music and showcases the band’s immense talent and potential. So don’t sleep on “This Will Destroy You” – it’s a hidden gem that deserves to be discovered. So there you have it, a list of the best post-rock albums that are sure to captivate and inspire you. Whether you’re new to the genre or a longtime fan, these albums are essential listens that showcase the beauty and power of instrumental music[1]

This Will Destroy You

Caspian – “Waking Season” (2012)

Caspian’s “Waking Season” is a masterclass in post-rock, seamlessly blending elements of ambient and progressive rock to create an album that is both emotionally charged and technically impressive.

The opening track, “Waking Season”, immediately sets the tone with its haunting piano melodies and dreamy guitar riffs. The album continues to build upon this dream-like quality, with tracks like “Gone in Bloom and Bough” and “Halls of the Summer” showcasing the band’s ability to create a sense of beauty and melancholy through their music.

What sets “Waking Season” apart is its use of intricate guitar work, creating complex soundscapes that draw listeners in. This, combined with the emotional intensity of each track, makes for a truly immersive listening experience.

Overall, “Waking Season” is a testament to Caspian’s talent and their ability to push the boundaries of post-rock. It’s an album that demands to be listened to from start to finish and will leave you in awe of the band’s musical prowess.

So add “Waking Season” to your playlist and prepare to be transported to a world of emotion and beauty. With their expansive soundscapes and emotive compositions, post-rock bands have left an undeniable mark on the music industry. These albums are just a small taste of the incredible artistry and innovation within the genre, inspiring listeners with their unique blend of ambiance, rock, and instrumental mastery.[1]

Slint – “Spiderland” (1991)

Considered by many to be the blueprint for post-rock, Slint’s “Spiderland” is a groundbreaking album that paved the way for future bands in the genre. With its heavy use of spoken word, unconventional song structures, and hauntingly beautiful instrumentals, this album remains just as influential today as it was upon its release.

Tracks like “Breadcrumb Trail” and “Good Morning, Captain” showcase the band’s ability to create tension and atmosphere through their music. The spoken word segments add an eerie layer to each song, pulling listeners into the story being told.

“Spiderland” is a masterpiece that defies traditional genres and continues to inspire musicians to this day. It’s a must-listen for anyone interested in post-rock or experimental music and is a testament to the power of pushing boundaries and breaking musical norms.

So take a trip into the dark and mesmerizing world of “Spiderland” – you won’t regret it. As post-rock continues to evolve and push boundaries, these albums will always hold a special place in its history. They represent some of the best that the genre has to offer, showcasing the limitless possibilities of instrumental music.[1]


Tortoise – “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” (1996)

No list of the best post-rock albums is complete without mentioning Tortoise’s “Millions Now Living Will Never Die”. This album stands out from the rest with its infusion of electronic and jazz elements, creating a unique and dynamic sound.

The 21-minute epic “Djed” is a standout track on the album, showcasing the band’s experimental nature and their ability to seamlessly blend different genres. The use of electronic beats and samples adds an interesting layer to the already complex instrumentation.

“Millions Now Living Will Never Die” solidified Tortoise’s place in post-rock history and remains a fan favorite to this day. It’s a testament to the band’s innovative spirit and their ability to constantly evolve and push boundaries within the genre.

So add “Millions Now Living Will Never Die” to your playlist and experience the brilliant fusion of post-rock, electronic, and jazz music. As you dive into the world of post-rock and explore all it has to offer, remember that this list is just a small glimpse into the vastness of the genre. There are countless other albums waiting to be discovered, each with their own unique sound and story to tell.[1]

Talk Talk – “Laughing Stock” (1991)

While Talk Talk’s “Laughing Stock” may not fit neatly into the post-rock genre, its influence and impact cannot be denied. With its dreamy and atmospheric sound, this album served as a major influence for many post-rock bands that followed.

The opening track “Myrrhman” sets the tone for the rest of the album, with its ethereal vocals and haunting instrumentals. Each song on “Laughing Stock” is a journey in itself, with the band’s use of silence and subtlety creating an immersive listening experience.

Talk Talk pushed the boundaries of what was considered rock music with this album, incorporating elements of jazz, ambient, and even classical music into their sound. “Laughing Stock” remains a timeless masterpiece that continues to inspire and influence musicians across genres.

So take a listen to “Laughing Stock” and discover the beauty of Talk Talk’s experimental and groundbreaking sound. As you continue your journey into the world of post-rock, keep these albums in mind and be open to discovering new artists and sounds that will captivate and inspire you. The genre is constantly evolving, with new and innovative artists pushing the boundaries and creating music that will leave a lasting impact on listeners.[2]

Talk Talk

Swans – “The Seer” (2012)

“The Seer” is a perfect example of how post-rock can be both beautiful and intense at the same time. With its heavy use of repetition and drone-like instrumentation, Swans creates an atmosphere that is both hypnotic and unsettling.

The album’s title track, which spans over 30 minutes, takes listeners on a journey through layers of sound that build upon each other, creating a sense of tension and release. This album demands to be listened to in its entirety, with each track blending seamlessly into the next.

“The Seer” is an epic masterpiece that showcases Swans’ mastery of post-rock and their ability to create music that is both challenging and captivating. It’s an album that will leave you in awe of the band’s talent and leave a lasting impression on your musical journey.

So dive into the intense and mesmerizing world of “The Seer” and experience the power of post-rock in its purest form. These albums are just a small sample of the incredible music that has come out of the genre, each one offering something unique and special to listeners.[2]

The Album Leaf – “In a Safe Place” (2004)

The Album Leaf’s “In a Safe Place” is a perfect example of how post-rock can be both emotionally charged and tranquil at the same time. With its dreamy instrumentals, this album serves as a beautiful soundtrack for introspection and self-reflection.

Tracks like “On Your Way” and “Window” evoke a sense of nostalgia and melancholy, while songs like “Over the Pond” and “Thule” provide a sense of calm and serenity. This album is perfect for moments when you just need to escape and let your mind wander.

“In a Safe Place” is a testament to the power of instrumental music, with each track telling its own story without the use of words. It’s an album that will leave you feeling both comforted and captivated, making it a must-listen for any post-rock fan.

So add “In a Safe Place” to your playlist and let yourself get lost in the beautiful and introspective world of The Album Leaf. As you continue to explore the vastness of post-rock, keep these albums in mind as they represent some of the best that the genre has to offer. From the early pioneers to the current innovators, each one has left their mark on post-rock and shaped its evolution into what it is today.[2]

Do Make Say Think – “Goodbye Enemy Airship the Landlord Is Dead” (2000)

Do Make Say Think’s “Goodbye Enemy Airship the Landlord Is Dead” is a prime example of how post-rock can be both experimental and accessible. This album seamlessly blends elements of jazz, rock, and electronic music to create a sound that is uniquely their own.

The album’s opener “When Day Chokes the Night” sets the tone for the rest of the album, with its blend of smooth saxophone melodies and distorted guitars. Each track flows into the next, creating a cohesive listening experience that will keep you hooked from start to finish.

“Goodbye Enemy Airship the Landlord Is Dead” is a journey through different soundscapes, with each song offering something new and unexpected. It’s an album that showcases Do Make Say Think’s ability to push the boundaries of post-rock while still creating music that is accessible and enjoyable for all.

So give this album a listen and discover the experimental side of post-rock with Do Make Say Think. As you continue to explore the genre, keep an open mind and be ready to discover new sounds and artists that will amaze and inspire you. Post-rock is a genre that continues to evolve and surprise listeners, and these albums are just a few examples of its limitless potential.[2]

Do Make Say Think


Is Radiohead post-rock?

While Radiohead’s music has been described as having elements of post-rock, they are not considered a post-rock band. Their sound incorporates various genres and influences, including alternative rock and electronic music.

What was the first post-rock album?

The first album to be labeled as post-rock was “Laughing Stock” by Talk Talk, released in 1991. However, some argue that the genre’s roots can be traced back to earlier albums such as “Spirit of Eden” (1988) by Talk Talk and “Daydream Nation” (1988) by Sonic Youth.

Is Sonic Youth post-rock?

Sonic Youth is considered a pioneer of post-rock, but they are not fully classified as a post-rock band. Their music combines elements of alternative rock, noise rock, and experimental music, among others.

What band started post-rock?

While there is no definitive answer, many credit Talk Talk as the band that started post-rock with their experimental and atmospheric albums in the late 80s and early 90s. However, other bands such as Sonic Youth, Slint, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor also played a significant role in shaping the genre.

Is post-rock postmodern?

Post-rock’s emphasis on experimentation and innovation can be seen as reflective of postmodernism in music. However, not all post-rock bands or albums can be categorized as postmodern, as the genre is constantly evolving and incorporating different influences. Overall, it can be considered a part of the larger movement of postmodernism in music. So keep exploring and discovering new post-rock albums, and see how they fit into the ever-changing landscape of music genres. Keep an open mind and immerse yourself in the atmospheric and mesmerizing world of post-rock. Your musical journey awaits.

Is Tolkien a postmodernist?

While J.R.R. Tolkien’s works have been studied for their postmodern elements, he is not generally considered a postmodernist writer. His writing style and themes are more in line with traditional epic fantasy than the experimental and self-referential nature of postmodern literature. However, his influence on modern fantasy and literature as a whole cannot be denied.

Is Harry Potter postmodern?

The Harry Potter series has been analyzed for its postmodern elements, such as its metafictional aspects and subversion of traditional fantasy tropes. However, it is not fully considered a postmodern work. Its core themes and narrative structure align more with the conventions of classic children’s literature.



Post-rock is a genre that continues to captivate and inspire listeners with its dreamy soundscapes and experimental nature. From its early beginnings in the 80s to its current state, post-rock has evolved and expanded, crossing over into other genres and pushing the boundaries of what music can be.

Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just discovering this genre, these albums are essential listens that showcase the best post-rock has to offer. So take a journey through time and space with these albums, and let yourself get lost in the atmospheric world of post-rock. Who knows what new sounds and experiences you’ll discover along the way? Keep exploring, keep listening, and keep expanding your musical horizons. The possibilities are endless in the ever-evolving world of post-rock. So let the journey continue, and enjoy the beauty and complexity of this unique and mesmerizing genre. Have a great musical adventure! Happy listening!

  1. https://rateyourmusic.com/charts/top/album/all-time/g:post-rock/
  2. https://www.factmag.com/2016/04/20/best-post-rock-albums/
  3. https://www.kerrang.com/sixteen-post-rock-masterpieces-you-need-in-your-life