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Grandaddy Announce Deluxe Edition of 'The Software Slump'

Tuesday, 28 June 2011 Written by Jon Stickler
Grandaddy Announce Deluxe Edition of 'The Software Slump'

One of the most fascinating groups to grace the 90s and beyond, Grandaddy never achieved what you would call mainstream success, but they made up for it in terms of accolades received for their exquisitely unique music and songs.

Without doubt, their influence and originality is felt and made its mark on many of today’s most compelling artists: Midlake, who recently backed Grandaddy front man Jason Lytle for a few shows, have long sung Grandaddy’s praises, as have Modest Mouse, which includes Grandaddy guitarist Jim Fairchild, Conor Oberst, MGMT and The National. Others admirers include Jeff Tweedy, Super Furry Animals and Snow Patrol who opened for Grandaddy in their early days. Even David Bowie was seen attending some of Grandaddy’s shows and spoke highly of the group’s classic 'The Sophtware Slump'. Originally released in 2000, 'The Sophtware Slump' is now being given the deluxe treatment with an entire second disc of bonus material selected by Jason Lytle and Jim Fairchild who also provide illuminatingly honest sleeve notes.

Disc One consists of the original album with its nature vs the computer age theme signposted on the album’s cover art, its title spelt out in broken keyboard letters scattered across a wide mountainous landscape. The melancholy fragility of Jason Lytle’s songs offer an early warning of ecological meltdown, underpinned by the group’s gentle country rock tinged sound, laced with electronic flourishes and sparse keyboards. The album‘s portentous themes and descriptions of the dysfunctions of modern life are brilliantly encapsulated by Jim Fairchild as “written by a guy who was elated by the possibilities he faced in his life and frustrated by how all that possibility was panning out..... and how those thoughts turned in to songs that slightly fictionalised and summarized quite closely, what a bunch of other people were thinking too.”

Disc Two rounds up non album singles, b-sides, EP tracks and contemporaneous flotsam plus two previously unreleased demos for ‘Beautiful Ground’ and ‘Hewlett’s Daughter‘ and the original intro, discarded before release, of the album's magnum opus 'He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's The Pilot'. While the original album is left intact, the bonus tracks simply add to 'The Sophtware Slump’s' entrancing, breathtaking charm and offer a more complete picture of the band's creative output during this important period in its history.

As their liner notes reveal, the recording and immediate aftermath of 'The Sophtware Slump''s release were life changing (and life enhancing) times for the group. Says Jason Lytle: “I do love this album..... as I love all of the albums I have made. Although I rarely (if ever) listen to them..... I do love them. I should just say that I never could have predicted the places it would go and the places it would end up taking us. All of the people it affected and the doors it opened for us.....  It really has been astounding!”

Jim Fairchild’s sentiments are the same: “During the time between early 1999 and late 2001, from the beginning of the process of making that album ‘till the last shows were played in Brazil, whose months and years would define me and alter me and definitively shape who I am right now; everything went from being about to change to making its way around the bend all the way to being something different.”

Lytle founded Grandaddy in California in 1992 with bassist Kevin Garcia and drummer Aaron Burtch. Lytle took care of the songs, vocals, guitar, and keyboards before expanding its line up in 1995 to include guitarist Jim Fairchild and keyboardist Tim Dryden. Following a productive run of self-released recordings, Grandaddy made their independent label debut in 1996 with 'A Pretty Mess By This One Band', a mini-LP released on the Will Records label. It’s now available (with the ‘Machines Are Not She’ EP) under the title 'The Broken Down Comforter Collection'. The full-length album 'Under The Western Freeway' followed in 1997 and led to a recording contract with V2 Records. The first fruits of this were the four-song EP ‘Signal To Snow Ratio’ in 1999 and the group’s second full album 'The Sophtware Slump'.

The band’s prolific creativity was never solely contained by their albums, resulting in a wealth of compilation material, EPs, singles and split singles throughout their career. Following the watershed 'The Sophtware Slump', Grandaddy did release two more full-length albums, 2003's 'Sumday' and 2006's 'Just Like The Fambly Cat' but the group disbanded as the latter was released and ceased touring.

Lytle relocated from California to Montana, eventually re-emerging in 2009 with his first proper solo release, 'Yours Truly, The Commuter'. As well as playing guitar in Modest Mouse, among others, Fairchild has released two albums under the name All Smiles. In addition to his solo output, Lytle, with Grandaddy drummer Aaron Burtch also recorded with the California duo Earlimart under the name Admiral Radley in 2010. Besides participating in Admiral Radley, Aaron Burtch continues to produce a steady stream of original artwork and is also a member of the Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit.

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