Texas instrumental quartet Explosions in the Sky are acclaimed for their cathartic, heavily dynamic instrumental rock songs and their extensive soundtrack work. With a reputation for scathingly intense live performances, the group were touted early on as the next phenomenon in moody, crescendo-heavy post-rock à la Mogwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. They gradually became one of the genre’s most commercially successful bands; they have been featured in numerous films, television series, and video games, and scored several motion pictures. Even without words, the group’s atmospheric guitar interplay is powerfully eloquent, and the interplay between guitars and drums gives even their simplest songs a keen sense of drama. Explosions in the Sky enjoyed their critical breakthrough with 2001′s Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever, 2011′s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care found them thoughtfully exploring musical and emotional space, and later studio albums like 2023′s End married grand melodies with electronic experimentation.
Explosions in the Sky — made up of Mark Smith and Munaf Rayani on guitars, Michael James on bass, and Christopher Hrasky on drums — were signed for their first release on Temporary Residence Limited after half-a-listen to the foursome’s 2000 CD-R How Strange, Innocence, which was submitted by the American Analog Set with a brief note saying, “This totally f*cking destroys.” From there, they released their first widely distributed album, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever, in the latter half of 2001.
After their third effort, 2003′s contemplative The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place, the group contributed to the 2004 film Friday Night Lights, creating a stirring soundtrack to the drama set in their home state of Texas. Due to popular demand, Temporary Residence gave How Strange, Innocence its first widely available release in 2005. That same year, EitS contributed mini-album The Rescue to the label’s Travels in Constants series of limited-edition EPs. The group’s fourth proper full-length, All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, appeared in 2007, and became their first album to chart in the Billboard Top 200 albums chart, peaking at number 76.
By the time they released their fifth album, 2011′s Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, their fan base had expanded enough to land the album in the Top 20. Two years later, they teamed up with fellow Austin resident David Wingo to do the score for David Gordon Green’s film Prince Avalanche. Explosions in the Sky continued to score films over the next few years with Lone Survivor and Manglehorn before releasing their sixth full-length effort, The Wilderness, in 2016. The group signed on to compose and perform the score for Big Bend, a PBS documentary about the Big Bend National Park, located in West Texas, and Temporary Residence released a soundtrack album in 2021. The band’s seventh studio album, End, appeared in 2023, with the title referring to the ending of a relationship or a death — it will not be the group’s final album. ~ Blake Butler & Mark Deming