Blu Wav

Grandaddy: Blu Wav

Blu Wav
Genre: Alt Singer/Songwriter
Label: Dangerbird
Release Year: 2024
Listen: Spotify / Apple Music

You’d think as a rock ’n’ roll elder statesman that I’d love mellow. My tired ears. My tired brain. My senses dulled by time and space. But, as it turns out, all of this dull in life means the more need for excitement in your music. Things that I formerly thought we rockin’ are just kinda meh now. Things I thought were chill are just plain deadly. So it’s with this frame of mind I come to Grandaddy’s new album, Blu Wav. That’s no Es with the shorthand generation. And it’s not as if Grandaddy hasn’t done the slow-ass, alt-country thing before, but this is a whole ‘nother level of sleepy. Cowpoke tinged with their usual electronic melancholy. Lovely, but a tough hang if you’re trying to stay awake. On your commute. At work. It’s sominex, bro.

But then I sit at my desk with my top-notch desktop speakers placed perfectly for stoniness and I remember what a vibe Grandaddy is. How amazing their records sound. Especially in this hi-res, lossless stereo-chaneled sweetness. The separation of the instruments, the considered little flourishes and absolute butter of Jason Lytle’s delivery. The weed. So much weed. I think at some point some jerkoff music journalist (or ten) called Grandaddy the “American Radiohead,” but they’re really the American Pink Floyd. Not to put too much on these guys — and not that I’m in any way an aficionado of either of these two Brit bands — but I dare you to listen to tracks like “On a Train or Bus” through some really nice speakers or great headphones and not feel your feet lift off the ground and head float into the night sky. It’s absorbing and envelopes you in waves of sound.

I’m not even sure how to classify this album. Like post-apocalyptic honky-tonk? Alien beer hall? Rural Cali post-indie rock? Quicksand wave? Countryx? Whatever you want to call it, Grandaddy has alway had this uniqueness to it; a character unto itself that eschews whatever you might call the trend of the day. I’m pretty sure Lytle splices tape by hand and has like 42 tape recorders from 1986 placed around his garage that’s stuffed with old goose-feather pillows and the guts of discarded Speak & Spells. And maybe an upright piano he found by the highway that he repaired with duct tape and some old pipes from an abandoned barn down the road. All of which he makes sound like the most incredible, high-tech studio on the planet. Never has anyone made a slide guitar, old synth and pummeled acoustic sound so much like a modern symphony. It’s a pretty cool record when you really sit down and listen. It’s subtle and, as always, just a little heartbreaking. Okay, maybe more than a little.