Review: Jack Foley
THE story behind Grandaddy's seven track mini-EP, Excerpts
From The Diary of Todd Zilla, is filled with interesting
Halfway through writing the band's next full album, Jason Lytle
tired of the plastic glamour of Studio A, his glitzy 24-track
machine in the living room and part of his kitchen, and hankered
back to simpler times, thereby returning to his Studio B bedroom
to record this EP.
The result is a return to the more synth-driven style of early
work such as Sophtware Slump and Under The Western
Freeway rather than the more expansive style of Sumday
(witness At My Post, a slice of retro-80s synth-rock
that does sound a little dated in places).
The EP was also inspired by Jason's increasing dissatisfaction
with life in Modesto, California, a town that he used to love.
He desperately wants to move and find a place to live and record
in peace but has yet to do so despite shaving off his trademark
This frustration is fully realised in the anger of tracks like
Fuck The Valley Fudge - a riot of noise that includes
screaming and wailing the like of which we have not heard from
Grandaddy in a long while.
The EP's name is also an interesting one, given that Todd Zilla
is something Lytle noticed a few years back on the vanity licence
plate of a grossly over-sized, giant tyre style pick-up truck
that he saw while vacationing in Lake Tahoe.
He immediately entered it onto his notebook under 'things to
Those things have been realised in mixed fashion. Occasionally,
the frustration mars the record, yet for those breathlessly anticipating
the arrival of a new Grandaddy record, this EP will certainly
fill the void.
Opening track, Pull The Curtains, is a genuinely classic
cut, beginning with a soft vocal before letting go with a swish
drum roll and a hot alt-rock guitar overload that recalls the
sublime space-rock style of their past album, Sumday.
It effortlessly embraces the sunshine sound of California without
dwelling too much on Jason's dissastisfaction.
Likewise, the spaced out psychedelia of Cinderland,
which includes a nice piano breakdown and a really strained falsetto
from Jason, delivered in typically laidback style.
The pensive Goodbye? draws things to a suitably whimsical
close, complete with a nice lazy whistle midway through, that
aptly sums up the overall sobriety of proceedings.
For while Excerpts From... certainly contains several
great moments, it also tends to get a little too bogged down in
its own sense of despair.
As an appetiser for the new album, scheduled for 2006, it capably
tickles the taste-buds.