US - California - Full Moon 111 - 10/17/05
Excerpts from the Diary of Todd Zilla
From sort of out of nowhere Jason Lytle and his Grandaddy pull out a new record - a mini this time, holding a seven-pack of songs. It's been a couple of years since the somewhat disappointing Sumday. Rumour says Lytle has shaved off his beard. And somewhere inside his old beard he might've discovered a few, old songs?
Excerpts from the Diary of Todd Zilla is a short stop in the process of making a new album, due next year, and I'm sorry to say to my ears they're quite 'standstill' moments in the Grandaddy catalogue. It seems like being almost a solo effort from Lytle, done sort of like demo sketches. Recorded at home to an 8-track recorder, with Lytle handling everything except most drum parts (accompanied by Grandaddy's regular drummer Aaron Burtch). Of course and as usual Lytle's songs are quite catchy, with simple, funny synth-sounds and naive, one-fingered guitar solos. But most of the songs included here sound like out-takes from earlier records, mainly the last two albums. "At My Post" and "A Valley Son (Sparing)" could've been attachments to or parts of The Sophtware Slump's "He's Simple, He's Dumb...". The E.L.O.-meets-Neil Young-ish "Cinderland" could have been a song weighed out of Sumday. "'Fuck the Valley'
Fudge" is my favourite track of this mini/EP, with Lytle by the piano, crooning about love and hate through cryptic lyrics of western consumption. "Florida" is Grandaddy at their most punkish, being a straight, rocking song with a screaming and yelling chorus. The closing "Goodbye" is quite cute song about...saying goodbye. It's a bit naive, but quite touching nevertheless. Maybe cute is the wrong description after all.
Well, next year's full album will show if Lytle's been able to raise his creative force again. Let's hope his well hasn't run dry. Till then I'd rather pick The Sophtware Slump from the shelves. ...Todd Zilla sounds just like an in-betweener.
Copyright © 2005 Håvard Oppøyen