Well, wouldn’t you know. After a couple of days having Grandaddy songs playing in my head, kitchen, and in front of my six year old son (who tried dancing to “Now It’s On”, bless his little cotton socks), I saunter onto the Drowned In Sound board and find that Grandaddy are reuniting for some gigs. Grandaddy! Gigs! They are a band I only managed to see live once, in a club in Basel, of all places, playing to about 20 vaguely interested Swiss folk and a smattering of ex-pats who were far more interested. And they were great; despite there being some obvious tensions in the band, they sounded good, looked like a bunch of skaters, truck drivers and odd-job men who’d decided to form a band singing about robots, and generally made it more than worth the train ride from Zurich.
For they are one of the Great Lost Bands of the 90’s/00’s. I’ll never understand why they didn’t make it big (or at least bigger); they made music quite unlike any of their peers, mixing weird old analogue synths with fuzzed guitars, with the sweetest tunes you can imagine, sung by a man with the resigned air of a fellow who’s just seen his girlfriend run off with a snowboard instructor, singing tales of broken robots, miners on a distant planet viewing their loved ones but unable to talk to them, the perils of doing science, paeans to the outdoor life and how cities slowly kill you, and that’s just off one album. The songs were wistful, funny, achingly sad, thoughtful, whimsical, wry and pointed. They felt utterly human, even when singing about how their robot had died.
Unlike 99.999% of their contemporaries, they were about modern life, about suburbia, about dull jobs, about sci-fi, about skating, about cats, about anything that Jason Lytle was curious about. I’ve missed them, and seeing him play solo back in 2010 was a highlight of my gigging career.
I can only hope they play some shows in London.
El Caminos In The West:
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