Mood Music: Instrumental Rock For The Drinking An

The last time indie hipsters decided to drop the singer and go instrumental, it meant resurrecting cheesy lounge music and culture: vibraphone, tiki lamps and rash-inducing polyester slacks. Itch no more, as the new instrumental underground offers an array of bands that prefer artful moodiness to quirky kitsch. Godspeed You Black Emperor is at the forefront of the heady-music pack, offering dreamy then belligerent melodies with complex instrumentation--violins, horns, bells, etc. Japancakes specializes in melancholy slide guitar over woozy tunes, while Tortoise melds guitar reverb with synthesizer acrobatics. Then, of course, there's Drums & Tuba (as bizarre as the name suggests). Singers, beware: you're as passe as a soggy drink umbrella.