Thee Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra and Tra La La Band
Spawned from Canadian darling Godspeed You Black Emperor in 1999, the seven-member Silver Mt. Zion Orchestra and Tra La La Band is just now embarking on its first U.S. tour. Ringleader and Godspeed co-founder Efrim Menuck surrounds himself mostly with Godspeed players and incorporates similarly intricate arrangements, but with several stylistic differences, most notably the presence of words. The whole gang shares singing duties, and the tall, bearded Menuck guides them like a wise and gentle wizard through each chilling narrative symphony. Although the songs borrow from contemporary themes, the lyrical imagery, accompanied by an army of strings, evokes tales of love and war from somewhere deep in the Tolkien universe. But not in that nerdy, Renaissance-fair kind of way.