Four on the Floor: Instrumental Bands

Written by Rory Burbeck | Monday, Feb 3, 2014

On today's Four on the Floor, we're introducing you to four bands who let the musical instruments speak for them. With the exception of Paus, who occasionally use vocals without lyrics, these SXSW 2014 Showcasing Artists are purely instrumentalists, telling stories with electric guitars, keyboards, banjos, and even traditional Korean instruments.


Bringing together hard-hitting electric guitars and drums with traditional Korean instruments, Jambinai yields ferocious sonic landscapes that are equally unsettling and uplifting. The three instruments - known as piri, geomung, and haegeum - channel traditional Korean music as well as western post rock. All that said, the sounds on Jambinai’s 2012 album, Differance go beyond those influences.
RIYL: Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai

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Hedvig Mollestad Trio of Oslo, Norway really pushes the boundaries in terms of their style and technical proficiency - progressive guitar jazz fusion music is tough to play, no doubt. Led by the searing guitar of Hedvig Mollestad Thomassen, the trio’s second album, All of Them Witches, was issued in May 2013.
RIYL: Al Di Meola, Steve Vai

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Paus is a Portuguese band fueled by two drummers and a wicked combination of electronic and rock. The members use their vocals cords primarily as instruments (i.e. no lyrics) set against thick bass lines and an “arsenal” of keyboards to create explosive aural textures. Paus is preparing to release their second LP in 2014.
RIYL: El Ten Eleven, 65daysofstatic

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The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys are comprised of three brothers (ages 11, 14, and 15) who play bluegrass music. Oh, and they’re from New Jersey - not exactly the place you’d expect a young bluegrass trio to originate. Sleepy Man Banjo Boys have already landed a couple of shows at the Grand Ole Opry and released a pair of albums that broke the Top 10 on the Billboard Bluegrass Album chart.
RIYL: JD Crowe, Earl Scruggs

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Keep up with the list of showcasing artists here.

Photo credits:
Jambinai photo courtesy of the artist
Hedvig Mollestad Trio photo courtesy of the artist
Paus photo courtesy of the artist
Sleep Man Banjo Boys photo courtesy of the artist