When I was in high school and college it seemed like I was constantly discovering bands with the potential to change my life. Now I’m 31 and the past few years have yielded only a handful of such bands, despite the ease of access to things such as Pandora and Spotify. Maybe I’m just old and jaded, or maybe recommendations meant more because they came from people who actually knew you rather than from algorithms, or maybe my tastes have actually become more refined and discerning (anything’s possible). Whatever the reason, it’s rare I find any bands that truly capture my attention enough to come back to again and again. But then again, it makes those few bands all the more noteworthy.
One of those few bands who that I have had the fortunate opportunity to have come into my life in the past few years is Years of Rice and Salt, an instrumental post-rock band from London. One day in 2011 I was doing yoga while listening to Post Rock Paper Scissors (R.I.P), an amazing podcast focused on “post-rock and all things tangentially related.” In the middle of a block of songs was this relatively short piece with violins, piano and soaring guitars. I immediately stopped and sat on my yoga mat, completely absorbed by the song and the need to hear who it was. Amazing stuff. (Sadly it appears they are no longer active, or, as the saying goes these days goes, on “indefinite hiatus.”) (UPDATE: Yesterday on their Facebook page YoR&S asked “If YoRaS were to play a London show soon, would people come?” – hopefully a sign of new music in the future.)
They released a full length, “Nothing of Cities,” and an ep, “Service Bell,” both of which I am in love with. Whenever I’m writing and am unsure what I want to listen to, there are maybe a dozen or so bands I can always count on to elevate the desire within me to create beautiful things. Years of Rice and Salt is without a doubt one of these bands. Also of note in related writing/literature vein, they appear to be named after a 2002 science-fiction novel of the same name. (I didn’t actually see this noted anywhere, but I’m assuming with a name like that it would be quite a coincidence if they both randomly came up with the name. However, please correct me if I am wrong.) Their record and ep can both be streamed/downloaded at the Future Recordings website. While you can pick them up for free, please please please if you like them and have a few dollars, support independent music. Also, listen to the full length all the way through in one sitting – anything less would be shortchanging yourself.
Years of Rice and Salt links: