According to Wikipedia: "Mogwai are a Scottish post-rock band, formed in 1995 in Glasgow. The band typically compose lengthy guitar-based instrumental pieces that feature dynamic contrast, melodic bass guitar lines, and heavy use of distortion and effects. The band is named after the creatures from the film Gremlins, although guitarist Stuart Braithwaite comments that 'it has no significant meaning and we always intended on getting a better one, but like a lot of other things we never got round to it'. 'Mogwai' means 'evil spirit' or 'devil' in Cantonese." <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mogwai> I started listening to Mogwai after reading that the band was similar in style to Sigur Rós (featured in an earlier rough guide). Mogwai's music ranges from slow, majestic pieces to harder-edged, rock-out tracks. The band's album and track titles may appear morbid, but I think this is largely tongue-in-cheek. The band's official website: <http://www.mogwai.co.uk/> The links in the guide below are to YouTube movies. If the links are blocked, try searching for tracks on SoundCloud: <http://soundcloud.com/search?q%5bfulltext%5d=mogwai> Now, the "rough guide" ... 1. "Summer" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dj9ckk-Wxls> This is one of the band's early singles. It was later re-recorded for the band's first studio album. A notable difference between this and the album version is the use of a glockenspiel to play the melody line. This makes for a more dynamic contrast with the heavily distorted guitars that crash in at various points in the song. The original version is available on a compilation of early singles and b-sides, called "Ten Rapid". 2. "Tracy" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Opn8riUNygM> After a couple of singles and EPs, the band's debut album "Mogwai Young Team" was released in 1997. It gained many favourable reviews. "Tracy" is a great example of a dreamy instrumental soundscape that is typical of the band's repertoire. It starts softly, gradually building in intensity towards the middle, before receding back into the distance. The song is bookended with excerpts from phone conversations between band members. This is not an official video. Other highlights from the debut album include the short piano piece "Radar Maker", and the sprawling epics "Like Herod" and "Mogwai Fear Satan". The band's second album, "Come On Die Young" was released in 1999. It wasn't that well received by critics. I haven't listened to the whole album, so I can't comment. Interestingly, one track, "Cody", actually has normal-sounding lyrics. 3. "Sine Wave" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CxkB_SMPFkY> In 2001 the band's third studio album, "Rock Action" was released. This is the opening track. Various instruments are used, including a spacey synth, glockenspiel, heavily distorted percussion (I think) and vocals. Lots of weird and wonderful sonic textures. 4. "Dial: Revenge" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efUTCMd9Do8> This track has Welsh vocals, written and sung by Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals. This is a video of a live version. Possibly in response to the "play by numbers" criticism of the previous album, the overall sound was more experimental on "Rock Action". Other highlights include "Take Me Somewhere Nice" and "2 Rights Make 1 Wrong", which both feature lush string and horn arrangements. 5. "Hunted By A Freak" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgIp5gqo40s> The band's fourth album, "Happy Songs for Happy People", was released in 2003. This is the official video of the great opening track. I like the use of the cello in the middle. Don't take the opening titles on the video seriously. This is just the band's black humour, and is possibly an homage to "Happy Tree Friends" cartoons. 6. "Ratts Of The Capital" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nnsid5xVWzU> This is the album's epic centrepiece. It has the band's characteristic slow-build, intense middle-section and gradual fade-out style. But it still manages to sound fresh thanks to the use of different sounds and textures. 7. "I Know You Are, But What Am I?" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0dORHW9Cg4> The minimalist piano that underpins the song reminds me a little of the "dripping" piano line from Chopin's "Raindrop" prelude, albeit greatly slowed down. Other highlights from the album include ominous-sounding "Kids Will Be Skeletons", and "Golden Porsche" with its mellow piano and bass. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7iKOTYb9Yqo> 8. "Auto Rock" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zei_wnNZ1mo> This track opens the band's fifth studio album, "Mr Beast", released in 2006. It used the trademark Mogwai structure, this time using a piano riff to provide the main melody line. Apparently the song has been used in TV's Top Gear. 9. "Friend Of The Night" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC_3alnTE9g> This was the only single released from "Mr Beast". Another piano- centric piece. The band was starting to get noticed commercially, this track being the band's first UK Top 40 single. I don't know what's going on in the video, something to do with vampires maybe, but the song is great. Another piano-based highlight is "Team Handed". Other standout tracks on the album, like "Glasgow Mega-Snake", and "We're No Here", have a more raucous edge thanks to the use of distorted guitars. 10. "Batcat" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KMDCM5OAOaE> This quasi-metal workout was the first single from the band's sixth album, "The Hawk Is Howling", released in 2008. The official video is a bit scary too. 11. "Danphe And The Brain" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xII7ku6t3uQ> A softer, more melodic piece from "The Hawk Is Howling". Other highlights include the wonderfully titled "I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead" and "The Sun Smells Too Loud" (I want to sneak in a reference to synesthesia into this guide). "Scotland's Shame" is another characteristic slow-building epic. Mogwai released its first official live album, "Special Moves", in 2010. Check out the mogwaiTV YouTube Channel for excerpts from the accompanying tour film: <http://www.youtube.com/user/mogwaiTV?blend=5&ob=5> 12. "Mexican Grand Prix" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Jv64uhCIrU> Mogwai's seventh studio album, "Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will" was released in 2011. This single is one of the very rare Mogwai tracks to feature vocals. As such, it sounds more like a typical rock song, reminiscent of late era Primal Scream. 13. "San Pedro" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVNYm9Qncyc> Another great rocking instrumental. 14. "Death Rays" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amvD_7i3SH4> This spine-tingling track is built around a great organ melody. Overall, another solid effort. Other strong tracks include "White Noise", "Letters to the Metro" and "Too Raging to Cheers".