The Seven Best Instrumental Bands of the Last 20 Years

Categories: DC9 at Night

Mogwai. Courtesy of Sub Pop.
With Los Angeles' El Ten Eleven at Dada on Saturday, we at DC9 thought it would be a good time to roll out a list of the best instrumental acts. As a caveat, for my money, the best instrumental album ever is not even by a conventional instrumental band: Soul Pride: The Instrumentals 1960-1969 by James Brown. But the Godfather of Soul is no longer with us, and it's time to turn to a new generation of vocal-less musical acts.

7. Pelican
This four-piece from Chicago blew us away a few years ago opening for Opeth. Amazingly, the crowd was not in the mood for the atmospheric post-rock of Pelican. But these guys are the real instrumental deal, creating music with both power and finesse.

6. Jasper Tx
The project of Swedish multi-instrumentalist Dag Rosenqvist, Jasper Tx is, sadly, a retired moniker. Rosenqvist continues with other projects, but his efforts as Jasper Tx are simply mesmerizing. 2003's I'll Be Long Gone Before My Light Reaches You is the best recording of hisses and blips you'll ever stumble across.

5. Man or Astro-man?
Surf rock from Alabama? Why not? They have a coast line there, don't they? Whatever the case, any band featuring members named Birdstuff and Coco the Electronic Monkey can do whatever they want, including forgoing the vocals. The band may have peaked with its 1993 debut, but all of the efforts forge ahead with a truly unique and inspired sound.

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