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Grandaddy return with new album and new tour


Feature by Jack Foley & Joanne

IT'S been just over three years since Grandaddy released their critically acclaimed album, The Sophtware Slump... but now the 'pop-synth emo beard-rockers' are back, and better than ever, with a new single, a new album, and a new tour to follow.

Described by the band as 'a reflection of everything we've been working towards', Sumday will be released on June 9, with the first single, Now It's On, appearing a couple of weeks earlier, on May 26.

It will be quickly followed by a small UK tour, with the band due to play London's Astoria on June 12, following dates in Birmingham and Bristol (see opposite column for full tour details).

And in what is proving to be an immensely busy schedule, Grandaddy will also be performing at Glastonbury this year, on June 29, appearing on stage 2 at 5.40pm.

In the meantime, the band has been talking up their latest album, describing it as the best they have put together so far.

"I feel like we've kind of arrived, that everything I've ever done has led up to this," proclaims auteur, Jason Lytle, with a sign of contentment.

"The ideas have coalesced and refined themselves to the point where we always sort of hoped they would be," adds guitarist, Jim Fairchild.

"The stratification process in the band has occurred. But if you let your mind leap forward, it's pretty intimidating. Like 'now what the hell are we gonna do without grossly repeating ourselves?'"

Grandaddy have come a long way, since growing up in and around Modesto, a central California farming town bursting with grape-velvet wrath.

Lytle's (non-felonious) childhood escapes from discontent and complacency were living-room headphones playing Beatles and Pink Floyd records (seeding his penchant for recording detailed sonic mosaics, a la Jeff Lynne and Alan Parsons) and the skateboard that prompted his teenage escape to the half-pipes of Southern California.

After he tore up his knee in a competition, Lytle was dropped back in Modesto, and, as he sees it, been paying penance by creating music about its inhabitants' interminable stumbles and falls ever since.

His fascination with how everyday people create the art of life never dried up and he still picks out their biographies at the local library, goes to see their art exhibitions rather than get involved with the classics.

The other Grandaddies — initially, bassist, Kevin Garcia and drummer, Aaron Burtch, joined in 1995 by Fairchild and keyboardist, Tim Dryden—also know the landscape being documented. It's what brought them together.

Giant Sand's Howe Gelb stumbled upon the group here, as they were keeping tabs on the tear sliding down the cheek of the American century.

This is where they've grown from Pavement-esque, lo-fi grumblers on '96's A Pretty Mess By This One Band, to shuttered drive-in panorama directors on '97's Under the Western Freeway, and millennial dread merchants peddling wide-screen futurist despair on 2000's Sophtware Slump.

It's the soil in which they’ve bloomed, defined who they are and why they do what they do. Modesto's the inseparable natural environment that made the band, in Fairchild's words, 'a self-propulsion device of creativity'.

Now, with the release of Sumday, the band's popularity looks set to reach new heights. IndieLondon already has a copy and can tell you it's well worth checking out.

Needless to say, a review will follow in due course, but, in the meantime, here are those dates...

June 10 - Birmingham, Academy 2
June 11 - Bristol, University
June 12 - London, Astoria
July 1 - Manchester University
July 2 - Sheffield, Leadmill
July 3 - Glasgow, QMU

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