By Ben Westhoff and Sarah Purkrabek
By Steve Brennan
By Joseph Hess
By Allsion Babka
By Kelsey McClure
By RFT Music
By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
Blah, blah, blah. Do you really care what most bands have to say? Do you parse the lyrics when you're listening to them at a bar? Of course not; you're drunk again. But even if you were sober, you'd find that many, many rockers are much better musicians than they are lyricists. They can't all be Stephin Merritt and Morrissey.
And Del Rey doesn't even try. Part of that Chicago school of choppy instrumental rock bands that might be called post-rock or maybe space-rock (I've misplaced my Hipster's Dictionary), Del Rey lets its fingers do the talking, and brother, those digits talk loud. DR's new disk, Darkness and Distance, is full of staccato bursts of guitar, double-drum kit rhythms and ambient noises that move you from peak to valley to peak faster than a skateboarder on a vert ramp. But the music's not very playful; in fact it's downright somber. That's yet another reason to be thankful for the lack of singing. The lyrics would probably be about the death of God and the eternal torment of a soul stranded alone in a cold universe, and you're trying to have a drink here.
There are other bands, like Athens, Georgia's Maserati, who do what Del Rey does with a little more melody and style, but DR will still be a wicked soundtrack for those shady types at the Rocket Bar who crave a little postmodern atmosphere. And if the lack of lyrics gets to you, you can always make up your own. Be sure to keep 'em somber.