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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Grandaddy
Sumday
V2 Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
A little less than a year ago, as the summer sun seared in it's daylight savings orbit and the jagged wounds of loss set into healing, the LAS offices relocated with my wife and I from Champaign, Illinois to Modesto, California. Before we left I fired off an email to the soft-hat wearing members of Grandaddy, who I'd only recently discovered were natives of Modesto. When the response came from drummer Aaron Burtch warning me to avoid Modesto at all costs - that it was a fucking shit hole, to use his words- we were a bit freaked. Jobs had been accepted, leases ended and others begun. Farewells were in the air. To make a long story short, Burtch was accurate in his report, almost forgiving. By the time we arrived in the ass crack of California Gary Conditt and his former intern were all over the news. Six months later we were in a hotel room a hundred miles north waiting to sign a lease anywhere else and it was dead children, meth labs, cocaine busts and a missing mother to be. To say that Modesto is a cultural wasteland would be an understatement (I attended a "cocktail" party in a garage), but to pass it off as inconsequential would be an oversight. For all of the muck at the bottom of the barrel, Modesto is home to the techno phobic folk heroes that warned us to steer clear of it to begin with and, for that at least, it deserves some props.

Three years after the quirkiness and animal costumes of the Flaming Lips tangled with the scientific bent and sanguine bombast of HUM and the tattered placenta of a new sound surfaced in the ethereal tenor of Jason Lytle's voice on The Sophtware Slump there is still, in Grandaddy, a highly refined, extremely organic synthesis between the intimidation of the loud, distorted guitar and the soft, intricate melodies that control them. With Sumday Grandaddy's modus operandi still hinges on the vast arenas of human identity, technology, self-doubt, ambition and despair. Former skaters bedecked in a David Bazanian bearded gruffness, Grandaddy have carved out a certifiably flirtatious sound with broad, graceful, unassuming swashes and they explore the inner chambers of that niche on this lush, computer enhanced trip. Whereas their block busting V2 debut The Sophtware Slump served up a socio-technological commentary on man's moral war with himself and the decay of culture that advancement often brings, Sumday reports back from the everyday life of those space travelers returned from the outer reaches of civilized thought. Grandaddy have let the machines take them for a ride but now they are back at home, settled in the everyday misery that made the adventure so thrilling in the first place.

The album opens with the razor sharp single "Now It's On", a fuzzed-out No-Depression take on Brian Wilson as filtered through a post-Nintendo skateboarder with a keen literary sense. If I could somehow loop this song through wires embedded into the soft gray of my brain for an all-day soundtrack to the ecological disintegration of California, I certainly would. From there the tour of a life stick in the middle of nowhere in the aftermath of underground rock celebrity never really lets up. Thankful for us, it's a beautiful ride.

There are scores of highlights sprinkled throughout the twelve songs of Sumday- the lush Victorian tint of the ode-to-Modesto ballad "Saddest Vacant Lot In All The World" and the playful, rich bass of the following ode-to-Modesto romper "Stray Dog And The Chocolate Shake"- but it is the album's fourth track, "The Group Who Couldn't Say", which sits as the crown's jewel, an anthemic ode-to-Modesto's-favorite-sons-Grandaddy. It has been a long descent for the farm punks, coming down from the high and experience of their own commercial success, and in the aftermath of "moving units" the intrinsic nature of man's organic soul (exorcized on Sumday) clashes with The Sophtware Slump's out-of-touch-with-nature technological burnout. The production has that trademark clarity, the synths are warm and enveloping, the percussion crisp and the vocals nasal, hushed, amplified, intelligent. Mmmm, perfect.

Now as the days stretch long again and the sun bakes everything under its disc, the moves have all been made and the orbiters have all returned home. While the curiosity that killed the cat propels mankind deeper into the mystery and the science of being, Grandaddy remind us all that there are many frontiers left unexplored inside each of us and they go so far as to provide the perfect soundtrack for the journey.

Reviewed by Eric J Herboth
Eric J. Herboth is the founder, publisher and Managing Editor of LAS magazine. He is a magazine editor, freelance writer, bike mechanic, commercial pilot, graphic designer, International Scout enthusiast and giver of the benefit of the doubt. He currently lives in rural central Germany with his two best friends, dog Awahni and cat Scout.

See other reviews by Eric J Herboth

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