Mogwai is without a doubt my favorite band of all time.
I remember picking up Come On Die Young at Media Play one night. I popped the CD into my car and drove home. I had never heard music like this before; it was so slow, so brooding, so powerful. Mogwai start you out with a couple familiar elements from pop music, or “music as you used to think of it”: the second track “Cody” has verses and choruses, lyrics and even a sad little guitar solo. But after that song, there are no more vocals, and the tracks stretch out to the 9-minute mark, and even thinking of the tracks as ‘songs’ is dumb because the whole album is clearly just building up to “Xmas Steps”, which to me is the most epic and satisfying moment in post-rock history.
When I think about that album, I realize how much it’s affected my taste in music even to this day. Also, in college I named my pet Betta fish “Cody.”
None of Mogwai’s other albums are nearly as depressing. I haven’t been as impressed with their newer albums — they’ve been hit-or-miss — but each album brings a few noisy, epic songs that end up sounding great live. Mogwai put on an incredible show, and these days they seem to be writing with their live show in mind. Their new track “Rano Pano” is a mess of overdriven, fuzzy guitar riffs. I like it because it reminds me of seeing them at 9:30 Club last year, and I can already feel myself being buried in static, feel my clothes vibrating with the bass.
Their new album Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will comes out around Valentine’s Day next year, and they return to 9:30 Club on April 19th.