Pelican is a post-metal quartet from Chicago, Illinois. Established in 2001, the band is known for their atmospheric and almost entirely instrumental style. They have released six studio albums and six EPs.
The band is known for dense combinations of different melodies and extended track lengths. It may be classified as stoner rock, doom metal, or post-rock. Larry Herweg, Trevor de Brauw, and Laurent Schroeder-Lebec are also three members of the band Tusk.
Pelican previously signed to Hydra Head Records but is currently signed with Southern Lord Records roster. Pelican toured with Wolves in the Throne Room to support their first EP for Southern Lord, Ephemeral, released on June 6, 2009.What We All Come to Need was released on October 27, 2009.Greg Anderson and Aaron Turner both appeared on the album. In celebration of the new album, the "Pelican Burger" was served at Kuma's Corner for one night.
In 2012 Pelican announced a new EP, Ataraxia/Taraxis. In April 2012, they began a European tour, playing in England, Italy, Germany, Finland, the Dunk Festival in Belgium and the Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands. The support bands for this tour included Bo Ningen and Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster in the UK, and Tombs in continental Europe.
In June 2012, the band announced an amicable split with guitarist and founding member Laurent Schroeder-Lebec. Schroeder-Lebec had not been touring with the band for the prior two years, with Dallas Thomas of The Swan King performing live in his stead, but not participating in the writing process. On October 15, 2013, Pelican released its fifth studio album and first without Schroeder-Lebec, Forever Becoming.
Pelican announced three new upcoming releases in February 2019. The first of which was a remixing/remastering of Forever Becoming. While Pelican was satisfied with the original recordings, Chris Common mixed the tracks in a makeshift studio with "less-than-ideal circumstances" that "varnished the incredible tones generated during tracking". Southern Lord described the deluxe reissue as bringing "a new level of low-end depth, atmospheric clarity, and tight, punchy heaviness to the album". Pelican also announced new album was coming in 2019, and slated a new single from that album "Midnight and Mescaline"/"Darkness on the Stairs" for release on Record Store Day. Months later in April 2019, Pelican released the track "Midnight and Mescaline" for online streaming and formally announced their sixth studio album would titled Nighttime Stories and would be released on June 7, 2019 through Southern Lord.
Regarding the band's genre, de Brauw said,
"I think people use genres and tags to serve a purpose – it gives people a frame of reference to understand music by – but I don’t think any artist feels comfortable being tagged as anything. I have an affinity for metal, but I don’t think of Pelican as a metal band. So when people call us ‘instrumetal’, or post-metal, or metalcore or whatever, I can see why they say that, but it’s not something that I feel a close connection with. I feel we’re part of a community with some bands – Mono are good friends of ours, but I don’t feel that we’re that similar musically. Their music is more similar to classical music, whereas I feel ours has more in common with punk and hardcore. I feel like we’re part of a trajectory of Midwest bands that kind of blend aggression with a pop sensibility, so while it’s easy to classify us with instrumental bands, we’re not instrumental by design. We just didn’t know how to put vocals in our music and for it to sound right. When you start a band, you don’t have it in mind to be an instrumental band – these things are afterthoughts when your music’s out there."
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