Grandaddy and Pavement Duke It Out In Northern California Cage Fight!

Jason Lytle, architect of the great and now sadly defunct band Grandaddy, has said that he did it (killed his band, that is) because he was disillusioned by this whole “making music for no money and little recognition” thang. I put it down to poor timing and terrible luck.

Described as a cross between Radiohead (circa OK Computer) and The Flaming Lips (circa Soft Bulletin/Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots) and Pavement (circa whatever) is no bad thing. Using lo-fi and vintage synthesizers, guitars, bass and drums the band made spacey, melancholic music that reminded me a little of an updated Electric Light Orchestra.

From 1996-2006 this band put out one pretty good album (“Sumday”), two pretty terrific albums (“Under The Western Freeway” & “Just Like The Fambly Cat”) and one stone cold modern rock classic (“The Sophtware Slump”). The later was a turn of the century space rock masterpiece some were comparing to Radiohead’s “OK Computer”.

So why did this terrific lo-fi band from Modesto just curl up and die? Why weren’t they respected?

Some pundits blame that “other” band from Northern California, Pavement, (from Stockton—not much better than Modesto, where Grandaddy hail from, I‘m afraid. These Nor-Cal shitholes seem to breed some pretty incredible bands). Grandaddy were always getting compared to Pavement but were never afforded the same amount of street credibility or column inches by the music critics that the former band had from album one.

Now Pavement was an incredible band, yes, but I think Grandaddy were almost…yes, they were at least just as good. I’ve always loved Pavement, but at times it seemed they worked a little too hard to obtain that trademark sloppy, slacker sound of theirs.

A few months after disbanding and releasing their last record (Just Like The Fambly Cat) Lytle decided to chuck it all and move to Montana, hibernating until his muse returned, which it apparently did, during the start of 2008. Jason Lytle completed his first solo project (Yours, Truly, The Commuter), in 2009 and has released a “DELUXE” edition of The Sophtware Slump. There’s no better time to try this band on for size. Start with the Sophtware Slump, proceed to The Fambly Cat and Under The Western Freeway, then saunter over to Sumday. After that, if you’re willing to go a little further, pick up Lytle’s solo effort, ‘cause guess what? It sounds just like a Grandaddy album.