My musical tastes, if you can call them that, are largely mainstream and boring. And that's how I first came across Explosions in the Sky: I was watching a mainstream movie, and I was bored. Thank goodness.

Have you seen Friday Night Lights? Not the excellent television show. The slightly less excellent 2004 movie. Or rather: have you heard it. Because while the movie is good, fine, watch it, great, the score—which strings together a handful of haunting Explosions in the Sky instrumental tracks—stays with you long after any Billy Bob Thornton pep talk ever could.

That was my first introduction, realizing that I was paying more attention to the soundtrack than to the movie itself. That's when I got hooked, yes, but the instrumental post-rock (it's post-rock, right? I can never keep up) quartet is more than just that one soundtrack. They're several albums' worth of hopeful laments, of soaring assonance. Most of all, they make a soundscape that lingers. Maybe never more so, for me, than with Your Hand in Mine, off of 2003's The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place. It's the kind of music that lets you shut up and just feel, already.

That's what I listen to when I'm working especially late, or especially early, or need my soundtrack to distract me from the story of my day. [iTunes, Amazon]