Silian Rail wall photo

No Voices: A Collection of Bay Area Instrumental Rock (Podcast #283)

Instrumental songs sometimes get unfairly pegged as background music, but the best ones are exactly the opposite — captivating and hypnotic without a voice or voices dominating the work. The Bay Area is home to a number of artists who create alluring instrumentals, from the drones of Barn Owl and Date Palms to the post-rock compositions of The Drift and Silian Rail and the electronic works of Yalls, Tycho and Devonwho. Artists like Judgement Day and Al Lover & The Haters show that you don’t need vocals to establish a unique musical identity, but none of the bands here are simply novelties. And while technique plays a big part in making strong instrumental songs, it’s melody and feeling that are most prominent here.

Notably, a few of the songs included here come from new and recent albums. Judgement Day’s new album, Polar Shift, which includes the terrific “Forest Battle,” comes out on July 31st. Silian Rail’s “Young Moon” is on each/other, the band’s latest compelling collection. “Deep End” isn’t a new song per se, but it’s on Yalls’ Yalls II collection of recent singles, which is available now. Finally, Tussle‘s “Night of the Hunter” is several years old (making it a veritable classic by modern blog standards), but the band’s first album in four years comes out in September.


1. The Drift – “Luminous Friend”
2. Judgement Day – “Forest Battle”
3. Silian Rail – “Young Moon”
4. Sean Smith – “The Real”
5. Barn Owl – “Turiya”
6. Yalls – “Deep End”
7. Date Palms – “Honey Devash (Edit)”
8. Devonwho – “Cactus”
9. Al Lover & The Haters – “Ballin’ Chain”
10. Tussle – “Night of the Hunter”
11. Tycho – “Hours”