Much to our chagrin, in a sorry plight the highly anticipated musical fire of 2012 hit wide of the mark. The expected aces disappointed more often than not, and our beloved influx of yearly newcomers found to be less fruitful than years past. Conceivably, this flash in the pan was fault of our own— a faux pas we forced into being with exaggerated expectations riding on 2011’s triumph. Maybe we were too critical, more snobbish than needed be. Yet perhaps, and more likely, 2011 was just a lead balloon, too over-saturated to keep flight and destined to dishearten. 2013 has to be better, right? Right?
One of the few fledglings to transcend 2012’s suffocating failure was California’s Trails and Ways. Their breakthrough came early in the Summer on the exuberant coos of the single “Nunca” and its corresponding video, each ticking in within a month of one another. From there the band has followed an intensive release schedule, one that will ultimately culminate at the release of their debut LP Trilingual sometime in 2013. Their dominance on the 2012 Hypem charts was a testament to the semblance and strategy of their single campaigns, and from a personal standpoint, I’ve yet to talk with a band leader that exhibits better intangibles than their own Ian Quirk. A selective four singles of the six that accounted for their 2012 operation are to be included on Trilingual, with an additional six or so tracks still unreleased. Trails and Ways took 2012 and made it their own personal playground through strategic campaigning, live shows and a quality of music that eclipsed that of the competition. It doesn’t seem that 2013 will be any different.
Kicking 2013 off in retrospect, the release of the remix EP Detornar-se (Streaming throughout post) highlights what was, without pointing towards what will be. The eight track EP is a beat-ridden and reverberant archive of primarily remixes that formed “organically from self-inspired producers over the last 6 months. It was as if the songs went into the world and remade themselves completely outside of [Trails and Ways] control.” Non coincidentally, this natural fabrication makes the EP a symbolic parallell to the young career of the band, one that has relied on in house promotion and word of mouth more than anything else. They managed to surface as one of the primary new talents of 2012 without selling out, creating a sense of intimacy with their fans uncommon for such a quick rise to fame in today’s industry. This integrity is infectious, and has clearly been working. Detornar-se is one of the better remix EP’s of the past year and has the potential to be one of the best of 2013.
This endogenous approach to their musical careers is no less remarkable, but perhaps more understandable when one recognizes that music is a second job for the members within. They are currently unsigned, and looking for a record deal to help launch Trilingual. While this struggling state is often the case for new bands, it’s a bit shocking considering Trails and Ways’ success. The had a run in 2012 where they were the number one band on Hype machine, ahead of Grizzly Bear, The Shins, and other juggernauts. There’s hardly a negative word on the internet about their content, and you’d be hard pressed to find a friendlier crew of bandmates. When the record deal comes, so will Trilingual. Until then, at least we have Detornar-se to listen to— an attractive option at the least.