I've been finding it difficult to get excited about new music lately. I used to enjoy separating the wheat from the chaff, but it's become too tedious and the payoffs so few and far between that I've fallen into the wretched habit of turning off.
I hope giving my ears a sonic vacation will help as I've long considered my ears a great, unrecognized national treasure. Lately, however, I feel they've been abused; relentlessly assaulted by cheap, disposable music at every turn. How I long to go into a shop somewhere and have it be free of an incessant, pounding soundtrack. But I digress.
2010 was a disgustingly disappointing year for music. Two of my favorite bands, Belle & Sebastian and The Books, released crap records. What's strange is, the two bands couldn't be any more different, yet they both took five years to make equally utterly disappointing records.
I was especially disappointed with The Books. Pop bands are bound to leave a turd in your sink every now and then. Call me naive, but bands like The Books just aren't supposed to do that. Especially after waiting five years and being titillated by what seemed a genius move-- signing to the Temporary Residence label.
There are very few labels from whom I'd buy a record sound unheard. Temporary Residence is one of them. But after the Books incident of 2010, I could be forgiven for thinking they were losing their edge.
I bought Burning Off Impurities by Grails when it came out and though I liked it OK, I always thought of it more as a sketchbook than a fully-formed statement-- that this was a band with what you might call "potential."
However reluctant a curmudgeon I might be, old habits die hard. So when I saw the new Grails record on Temporary Residence, I bit. And I'm happy to report it's a vast improvement over the previous record. The vision thing seems to have coalesced around the kind of post-rock-soundtrack-for-an-as-yet-unmade-film thing that I'm such a sucker for. Full review coming after I listen a few more times.