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By Jared Rigsby

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, meaning all the little details, sights and feelings embodied in a single photo or visual work of art can communicate so much more than a few paragraphs written out.  We are visceral creatures who live for experience, whether it's visual, auditory or tangible.  So one wonders if we could express just as much feeling and information through other art forms, such as music, without a single word spoken...

The short answer is yes! Sometimes, the poetry of lyrics isn't needed to communicate a deeply felt mood to an audience.  As the old adage goes, phenomenal guitar players can really make a guitar talk.  There is just something about these patterns that speak to us all on their own. To prove this, we at Dish have compiled the best in music without lyrics from vastly different genres.  Because sometimes, music just doesn't need any words to say what it wants to say.

Explosions In The Sky

Explosions in the Sky
Explosions in the Sky takes rock music to a beautiful and atmospheric, yet experimental, level that some like to call post-rock. This Texas quartet is made up of drummer Chris Hrasky, bassist Michael James, and guitarists Munaf Rayani and Mark Smith, who started playing together in 1999.  “I mean, I think we discussed singing for half a second, and then it just kinda, we just dropped it,” said Rayani in a post-show interview on Austin City Limits. “We just didn't go back to it because we were comfortable enough.”

As if they needed a front man.  Explosions in the Sky's moody and atmospheric rock instrumentals take the song-listening experience to another level. Their songs build up into crescendos while captivating the
Explosions In The Sky Liveaudience along the way with singing guitars.  This kind of music tells a wordless story, as is apparent in the names of their songs such as First Breath After Coma and Six Days at the Bottom of the Ocean. Over the past 15 years, they have released song after song for movies like The Kite Runner, Lunopolis, and Last Night, as well as television shows like Friday Night Lights and even Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways.  Though they are artisans of beautiful music, most of their craft may sadly go by our ears without claim though these mediums, which is why they are first on this list: we want to give them the respect they deserve.



Angel VivaldiAngel Vivaldi
On the opposite end of the rock spectrum, we have heavy metal guitarist Angel Vivaldi and his brand of metalcore.  Though most people view this particular genre as “that screaming kind of music,” Angel Vivaldi highlights the sweeping arpeggios and fast-picking guitar styles that come along with the genre.  In fact, he highlights some of the better aspects of melodic deathmetal Angel Vivaldi playand metalcore, the more technical and moving elements of the genre.  Angel (his real name) picked up a guitar at the tender age of 10, citing bands like Nirvana, Metallica and Chevelle as his teachers, and shredded his way into his first record in 2008’s Revelations.  After album names such as 2011’s Universal Language, Vivaldi continues to prove that, even in metal, there truly is no need for a lead singer.


This refreshing music project is written, performed and composed by producer Scott Hansen and is the perfect vibe to set a relaxed mood.  Tycho has a sound that incorporates a combination of traditional instruments like electric guitars an
Tychod drums with atmospheric synthesizers and ambient noise. His music captures the sound of retro analog media with a progressive and digital touch for the modern era.  With descriptive album titles like Dive (2011) and Awake (2014), Tycho expresses a deep, West Coast attitude toward the music he makes. These songs are designed to welcome the listener into their ambient flow and take that person far away.

The Dirty ThreeThe Dirty Three
Take a three-piece rock band from Australia, add elements of Western rock influence and improvisation, and you get the wild dynamic of The Dirty Three.  Comprised of Warren Ellis (violin and bass guitar), Mick Turner (electric and base gui
The Dirty Threetar) and Jim White (drums), these Aussies perform rustic inspired rock with a pure kind of energy and moxy.  In 1996, Rolling Stone voted their album Horse Stories as one of the best of the year, yet watching these guys perform live is truly one of the best aspects about them.  Between the raw charisma of the violin-playing Warren Ellis and the impressive ability to improvise their own unique style of rock, The Dirty Three are proven veterans of the post rock sound and certainly need no lead singer to make it into the annals of rock and roll. / Issue 178 - September 2018
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