I first got introduced to them at the end
of 1997 with the first album "Under the western freeway",
Grandaddy has proved to be most productive
: four studio albums, as many EPs, a multitude of singles and unreleased
tracks scattered on compilations, singles, film soundtracks. The band
announced its split just before the release of its "Just like the
fambly cat" album, which doesn't keep leader Jason Lytle from touring
radio studios and record shops around the world to promote it, playing
the band's songs, alone or with ex-Grandaddy drummer Aaron Burtch. So
it seemed to be the right time to look back on the band's achievements.
That's what we set out to do with "Les pépites de Pépé"
("Grandad's nuggets"), a selection of Grandaddy titles made
with a simple guideline : choose only songs officially released by Grandaddy
(no bootlegs, no live stuff) to include them in a retrospective compilation,
excluding all those which are featured on the band's four albums. And
the plus side of choosing songs from these releases is that we get songs
that are concise, inventive, and funny. They are often more interesting
than their counterparts on albums, since the EPs often gave the opportunity
to Jason Lytle to experiment with sounds and try out new recording equipment
and instruments, whereas the albums, starting with the second one, have
often given too much exposure to the soft, polished and quasi-progressive
side of the band, the one that reflects their guilty but publicly acknowledged
love of The Electric Light Orchestra !
Dodu, september 2006.
1. Sikh in a baja
Released on : "Machines are not she" (EP,
A rather funny and rythmic title, which sounds bizarrely as if it had
been slowed down, adn which actually tells of a sikh being the subject
of the mockery of other drivers because he's got a surfboard on his car
and the ocean is far waay.
Released on : "Laughing Stock" (Single, 1998)
A tight punky version of "Go progress chrome", which was
originally featured on the first album. You want it ? We got it !
Released on : Hewlett's Daughter (Single, 2000)
One of the best songs off "The sophtware slump" in demo version,
tight and punky, you want that too? OK, put that in your basket, we're
not gonna spoil our pleasure...
4. I'm in love
with no one
Released on : "Alone in a room 2" (Compilation
This recording was credited to Jason Lytle, for the compilation series
of the Devil In The Woods magazine titled "Alone in a room".
But we won't start getting into such minutiae, as I think many Grandaddy
studio recordings might only feature Jason Lytle ! The band recorded a
version of this song for a Peel Session, byut unfortunately this very
good song isnt featured on any official Grandaddy release. I quite like
the lyrics "Saw my dad in his truck, he was listening to a tape i
made lately, i wonder what he thinks of all the time i spent whining about
for instance how i'm in love with no one...".
5. Why would I
want to die
Released on : "Dream with the fishes" (Soundtrack
One of Grandaddy's most beautiful songs, and yet it was only released
on some film soundtrack at the time of the first album !
6. My small love
Released on : "Summer here kids" (Single,
An acoustic ballad cloking at under two minutes, a perfect little gem,
and it's buried on a single B side, whereas some overblown quasi-progressive
12 minute songs are on the albums ! Grandaddy, how did you dispose of
your best songs ?
7. Gentle spike
Released on : "A pretty mess By this one band"
A beautiful slow song with acoustic guitar, a sytnh line souding like
a flute, some piano and lyrics mocking gently a pseudo-punk daddy's son.
8. Fishing boat
Released on : "Devil in the woods #38"
(Compilation single, 2000)
When I reviewed M. Ward's first album
on its release, I had likened his "Fishing boat song" to Grandaddy
(Jason Lytle had previsouly produced the Rodriguez album, featuring M.
Ward). Little did I expect that Grandaddy itself was to cover this song
for a single released with the Devil In The Woods magazine
9. Glassy dusty
Released on : "Everything beautiful is far
away" & "Tape Op" (Single & Compilation album,
Ua instrumental developing over a loop based on beatbox and synth,
but staying on the right side of progressive...
10. For the dishwasher
Released on : "Everything beautiful is far
away" & "Machines are not she" (Single & EP, 1998)
For a long time I thought that this song was an ode to a washing machine,
but after several years I paid more attention to the lyrics, and I realized
that the dishwasher in question was an actual person, riding back home
after work, but still, I quite like this idea of a washing machine on
a bike at night !
11. Levitz (Birdless)
Released on : "Machines are not she" &
"Summer here kids" (EP & Single, 1998)
A third track off the excellent "Machines are not she EP".
Whether with or without birds (I never perceived the difference), Grandaddy
played this song on stage for most of its career. This track would have
perfectly fit on "Under the western freeway"...
12. Our dying brains
Released on : "The sophtware slump" (Japanese
edition) & "The crystal lake" & "Through a frosty
plate glass" (Album & Single & EP, 1998)
Maybe one of my favourite songs off "The sophtware slump",
but it's not on the album (except in Japan)...
MGM grand (with Xanadu finale)
Released on : John Wayne Shot Me / Grandaddy (Ines
Boukov Split single, 2000)
This song was also released on the "Signal to snow ratio"
EP, but the version with the Xanadu finale was only available on a limited
edition split single releaed by Ines Boukov, the Belgian micro-label close
to 62TV Records, featuring Poney on its main roster.
14. Nature anthem
Released on : "Below the radio" (Compilation
This song was released isolatedly on a various artists compilation
curated by Jason Lytle. While in London in Summer 2006, I was quite surprised
to hear this song in a TV ad for Coco-Cola, but I guess the ad-people
liked the children choir !
15. Pull the curtains
Released on : "Excerpts from the diary of Todd
Zilla" (EP, 2005)
The plus side of Grandaddy EPs is that they often have a rougher sound
than the albums.It was still the case with "Excerpts from the diary
of Todd Zilla", the very last EP the band released, especially for
16. Hand crank
Released on : "Signal to snow ratio" (EP,
This was the opening track of "Signal to snow ratio". As
for "Pull the curtains", it is a fast song along the line of
"AM 180", with saturated guitar and the melody played by a bizarre
sounding synth. In their own style, the lyrics about a hand crank transmitter
turned upside diown to be used as a bike, and saving one's strength, are
17. Moe Bandy mountaineers
Released on : "The crystal lake" (Single,
An excedllent mostky acoustic country and western song referencing
Moe Bandy, a country singer very popular in the 70's. This is one of the
best late period B sides of the band, not taking itself too seriously
as it's about getting high with a pack of nasal spray bought in a thriftshop
Released on : "A pretty mess By this one band" (EP, 1996)
This is the ifrst ever song by Grandaddy I ever heard, covered on stage
in Reims in 1997 by OP8. As with a few
of the band's early songs, it sounds a bit like they are trying hard to
play a bit like The Pixies, and they manage it, except only much slower.
Still, it's one of Grandaddy's best early achievements.
19. I don't want
to record anymore
on : "The crystal lake" (Single, 2001)
When a guy who spends a good part of life in a studio, tweaking recordings
of his own songs, writes something called "I don't want to record
anymore", you can sense there's a problem. Fortunately for his fans,
it is mst likely that Jason Lytle, who played live a lot on the release
of "Just like the fambly cat", will pursue his career as a writer-composer-singer