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Instrumentals by Non-Instrumental Bands

by Dan Weiss

Instrumentals by Non-Instrumental Bands

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The non-improvised instrumental is an art unto itself, especially when it's done by bands that are most identified with the verse/chorus/verse format. They're often used for fanfare, like F*cked Up's big takeoff overture "Let Her Rest" from their rock opera David Comes to Life, or Smashing Pumpkins' Elton John-like piano solo "Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness." But more and more of late, these instrumentals are starters all by themselves, from Torche's explosive "Sky Trials" to Deerhoof's needling "My Diamond Star Car" to Ass Ponys' noodly "Love Tractor" tribute to the band of the same name. They also make for genre pastiches, like R.E.M.'s Booker T-like "New Orleans Instrumental No. 1," Latin Playboys' ham radio blues track "Tormenta Blvd." and Green Day's spaghetti western-influenced "Last Ride In." But a track like Primal Scream's intense, ferocious "Blood Money" is a great reminder of how a non-vocal track can itself be a centerpiece, even on an album with plenty of sung competition.

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