Although it took awhile for it to actually come out (the label is now actually much closer to its 100th release), this label-compilation and "thank you" CD from Temporary Residence is worth the wait (and money). A good portion of the time label compilations are a bunch of hoo-haw, and while they often have the best intentions, they end up being filled with castoffs from artists wanting to help out without really doing a whole lot more actual work than they have to. In the case of indie labels, the quality factor usually steps up quite a few notches, and in the case of some labels you know that you'll most likely get something special.
Although TRR50 Thank You isn't uniformly amazing, it is an excellent little release from a label that has put out some stunning work over the course of the past couple years. Although their biggest name artist at the current time is probably Explosions In The Sky, the small label has a number of other excellent groups, and I picked Fridge's Happiness as my favorite release of the year about 3 years ago. With both of those artists (and others I enjoyed) contributing previously-unreleased tracks, it was pretty much a no-brainer buy.
Although some people will probably complain about it, one of my favorite things about the release is that it seems to capture a mood and then stick with it. While there are a couple rock-out moments, the disc ebbs and flows nicely, and mainly drifts along at a steady middle pace, content to tug you along with warm and inviting sounds. The disc opens with "Five Combs" by Fridge, and the track (which is from the same sessions as their album I mentioned above) is over 9 minutes of fluttering electronics, minced vocals and warm guitars over a simple beat. It doesn't do a whole lot, but it leads things off nicely and that mood is continued with quieter tracks by Howard Hello and Kilowatthours.
Tarentel comes out of hiding with their contribution of "Bell Jar," and while it's not the group at their peak power, it's brings enough pain to make me seriously interested in their next release. Rumah Sakit is the loudest moment on the disc with a live (but very clean) recording of "I Can't See Anything When I Close My Eyes" and Explosions In The Sky contribute the song "The Long Spring," which is actually one of their least-focused efforts. The last third of the release features great tracks from Kammerflimmer Kollektief and Sybarite, while Sonna closes things down with their absolutely narcotic "The Closer" (which covers over 9 minutes with soft guitar drones and would easily feel at home on Kranky). In the end, this cheap release is 65 minutes of softer (with the exception of 3 tracks) music that both provides a nice overview of the label and a glance ahead. With artwork contributed by fans, it's a great offering from a label who will hopefully keep on keeping on.