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United Kingdom

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Scottish band acclaimed for their dynamic, sonically adventurous post rock

Mogwai somehow managed to both define post-rock and expand on it, all the while running in the opposite direction from a genre with which they resisted association. Formed in Glasgow in 1995, the band set out to create serious guitar music; not serious in subject matter but music that reclaimed the instrument from gratuitous shredders, jammers and poseurs.

A series of promising singles and EPs paved the way for Mogwai’s stunning debut. Drawing on the work of six-string pioneers from Sonic Youth to Slint, Young Team approached the rock album as a series of movements more than songs, blending each together with the direction and deliberation of a classical composer.

Their second album Come On Die Young landed in the UK as further testament to the band’s sublime manipulation of dynamics, even though the US seemed somewhat nonplussed. If a swirl of hype diluted the album’s impact, the band rose above it, evolving continuously, even to the point of embracing electronic flourishes and the occasional guest vocalist (Gruff Rhys, Slint’s David Pajo) on 2001’s Rock Action.

Mogwai followed up with the My Father, My King EP, a single 20-minute track that had become something of a live favourite. June 2003’s Happy Songs For Happy People broadened their sound to near orchestral extremes. The band then took the logical step into soundtracks, working on Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain and the documentary Zidane. Mr Beast arrived in 2006 and contained the No.38 single Friend Of The Night.

By 2008, the band were back in pummelling rock territory with The Hawk Is Howling, their first album to be totally instrumental. In 2011, they reunited with the producer of their debut for Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will which achieved their highest UK chart position yet, peaking at No.25.

Following another soundtrack (this time for French series Les Revenants, shown in the UK as The Returned) and a tour performing their Zidane soundtrack live, the band delved further into electronica with the hugely successful Rave Tapes. In 2015, Mogwai contributed to the climate change documentary Before The Flood before returning with another studio album in 2017, the more guitar-based Every Country’s Sun.

During lockdown in 2020, the band worked remotely on a new record. As Love Continues came out in February 2021. Mogwai announced a Glasgow show for November 2021 as well as a huge Alexandra Palace show for February 2022.