The folks at Temporary Residence came out and said it, and I've got to agree: compilations are shitty.
Now, don't get me wrong, there have been some killer comps, and it's always fun hearing these labors of love. Comps are especially hard to review; you can't cover every band, and you have to speak in such general terms that you often feel like you haven't really talked about it. And it must be said: for every killer comp, there are about 200 shitty ones. But we're not here to judge anyone, so I think we'll close that subject right now.
For their 50th release, Temporary Residence decided to ignore their opinion on the subject and put together TRR50: Thank You, their first-ever label compilation. (Or, more correctly, sampler, because all of these acts are on or were on Temporary Residence, but I digress.)
This little thank you is really, really awesome, as it's easily one of the strongest records the label's ever released. It's not a surprise, really; the label's quite diverse, having released records that range from folk to metal to art-rock to rap and electronica and back again. Though such diversity is quite obvious when you listen to their individual releases--the folk of Sonna stands in contrast to the hip-hop of Cex or the metal clanging of Nice Nice--on TRR50, such diversity seems to slip away, for you realize that Temporary Residence has done something that few labels do--they've created their own distinctive sound. So when you go from the rocky elements of Explosions in the Sky and Rumah Sakit to the gentle electronica beat of Fridge and Sybarite through the folk of Halifax Pier and Sonna, you really don't notice the different genres of music, because you expect these things from these guys. There's really not much more to say about it, except that there are eleven great bands offering up unreleased tracks--including everyone's favorite hip band, Explosions In The Sky.
All in all, TRR50 Thank You is a damn fine listen. It's mellow; it's laid back; it's thought-provoking; it's easy on the ears; it's intense.
In other words, it's just another fine Temporary Residence release.