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Mogwai: Bad mood rising

The Scottish band Mogwai specializes in eerie, long instrumentals punctuated with heavy rock. It's a formula that has earned the quintet success with eight albums and high-profile appearances on the soundtracks to Darren Aronofsky's drama "The Fountain," a documentary about soccer midfielder Zinedine Zidane and, last year, the French zombie series "The Returned," for which they've produced a brooding score to match the show's intoxicating horror.

Gloom also fills the 10 tracks on Mogwai's new album, "Rave Tapes," a hurricane of airy synths and distortion that guitarist Stuart Braithwaite says was recorded amid the "most hectic" period of the band's 19-year career.

"It was only a month or two after we wrapped 'The Returned' soundtrack, so it was just a tight, tight turnaround," Braithwaite says from his tour bus in San Francisco, a day before their performance at Coachella. "But we were just blown away by the popularity of the show, and we weren't expecting it to cross over, so we're happy. And yes, we'll survive."

"Rave Tapes," recorded last summer at Castle of Doom Studios in Glasgow and released in January, will be prominently featured during Mogwai's concert Tuesday at Grand Central in Miami. The album, he says, is indebted as much to the psychedelic music of Roky Erickson's 13th Floor Elevators and early-1990s rock outfit Slint as it is to horror-movie soundtracks from Dario Argento and John Carpenter.

"Those soundtracks seem to have burrowed into our musicmaking experiences," Braithwaite, 37, says of Mogwai, which also includes bassist Dominic Aitchison, drummer Martin Bulloch, guitarist John Cummings and multi-instrumentalist Barry Burns. "We like strange stuff, and there's nothing too deep about it, and it's entertainment."

Also found on the album are cheeky references to Satanism and Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven," along with titles such as "Remurdered" and "The Lord Is Out of Control." But for all Mogwai's morbid influences, Braithwaite insists the band shouldn't be taken too seriously. During the recording of "Rave Tapes," he says the band, named after the furry creatures from the film "Gremlins," chucked many possible song titles in the trash.

"We'll write down any random thing anyone says on a chalkboard. Sometimes, there just isn't a purpose to it," he says,. "I remember a couple, actually: 'Hell Will Rejoice and Demons Will Be Delighted.' 'Private Joke Twilight Zone.' Here's a good one: 'Someone Has Crab Claws.' That one wasn't mine."

The title "Rave Tapes" refers to the band's early-1990s adolescence, when Braithwaite and his bandmates would watch their friends' "badly recorded bootlegs" of club raves.

"We're amused by it now, because we live in a society where you download high-definition movies," Braithwaite says. "It's intriguing because it's now so far removed from pop culture, and so are we, because I think our music sounds so universal."


When: 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 29, with opener Majeure

Where: Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami

Cost: $25

Contact: 305-377-2277 or

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