Now It's On
January 28, 2019 11:25 PM   Subscribe

Do you like sad songs about broken down robots? The robot has a few more things to say.

Maybe you just like quirky but catchy songs?

Have you have found yourself on standby?

How about an album aboutlost cat?

posted by sjswitzer (17 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Why must you make me think about Opportunity?
posted by praemunire at 12:28 AM on January 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

“The supervisor guy turns off the factory lights,
so the robots have to work in the dark.”
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:22 AM on January 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

I used to listen to Miner at the Dial-a-View on loop when I was feeling kind of lost and alone in a crowded world. The way the voice-over instructions accurately capture the style of a 60s/70s exhibit recording had me digging to try and see if "dial-a-view" was ever actually an attraction at a World's Fair or something.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:24 AM on January 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

My drag and click has never yielded anything as perfect as a dragonfly.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 4:42 AM on January 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

this is beautiful, reminds me of mark linkous / sparklehorse
posted by yaymukund at 6:44 AM on January 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Sophtware Slump as a whole is a fantastic album.
posted by HumanComplex at 7:22 AM on January 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

I've probably told this story on the blue before, but who cares, this is a Grandaddy post!

The date was July 18, 2001. The city: San Francisco. My then girlfriend was pals with one of the founders of BigStep and got invited to the Webby Awards, hosted that year by Alan Cumming and held at the opera house. Somehow I socially engineered my way inside, where I walked the halls among future tech luminaries like Sergei Brin and fading stars like Marc Canter. I was a fish out of water there and felt very, very uncomfortable, so I mostly kept to myself. In the program (and on the walls) was a blurb about the night's entertainment, an up-and-coming space rock band that either Spin or Rolling Stone had dubbed "the future of rock-n-roll." That band was Grandaddy. I had never heard of them, but watching a rock show seemed preferable to awkwardly holding a drink and talking to nobody.

I entered the mostly empty auditorium and took a seat. It amazed me how many people weren't there. Jason and crew took the stage and launched into the blee-bloo of A.M. 180 and I was immediately hooked, as I had never heard anything like it before. The show was amazing, and seeing as it was my first Granddady show I didn't know to be taken aback at how grumpy Jason wasn't.

When I got home I had the lines home safe and warm / in humanized form stuck in a loop in my head and went directly to LimeWire in an attempt to get one or two of their songs. I ended up downloading a live version of Everything Beautiful Is Far Away. It is hard to describe what a revelation it was to hear a record that had realized a sound that had been floating around in my head for years. It was euphoric.

The next time I saw them was in 2003 at Merced's Mainzer Theater for their first show after completing Sumday. I made a road trip out of it, staying at a bed and breakfast with my parrot and having a generally amazing time. The show was fantastic despite apparently non-existent monitoring, and once again Jason was in good spirits. Somewhere I have that show bootlegged on MiniDisc.

The last time I saw them was later that year at the Fillmore on their bill with the Super Furry Animals. At that show, Jason was in a foul mood, chastising the audience for wanting to hear Summer Here Kids. Jim Fairchild was over the moon about playing the Fillmore and tried to counteract Jason's grouchiness with mixed results. It was the first show I ever went to where it was a much better experience if I didn't look at the band.

I never saw them live again after that and didn't buy any more of their albums, but they have a special place in my heart. Nobody else sounds like them.
posted by grumpybear69 at 7:54 AM on January 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

a friend of mine bought Sophtware Slump shortly before 9/11, so on the day, and for days afterward, it got a lot play, became soundtrack to all that shock and sorrow and fear ... and madness. At some point, it occurred to him -- the somehow perfect surrealism of songs about the passing of a much loved machine serving as laments for what felt to him an entire age. Aim Toward the Sky was his favorite.
posted by philip-random at 8:43 AM on January 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

I haven't thought of these guys in ... decades? Which is my fault because listening to Miner at the Dial-a-View again now it sounds (A) as delightful as I remembered and (B) weird ... like a message in a bottle somehow?
posted by octobersurprise at 9:16 AM on January 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

One of my first entries into Grandaddy was Charley Broker’s use of the AM 180 as the opening track to his show Screenwipe.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 12:18 PM on January 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

"AM 180" is my ringtone.
posted by sjswitzer at 12:22 PM on January 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

No one really gets it when I tell them about this band that has a song about people creating a robot pretty much out of boredom, then neglecting it, and then a song based on the poetry written by that sad robot.

This thread makes me feel less alone.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 12:30 PM on January 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

I can't help but conflate Jed with John Sladek's rambling tales of Roderick, a robot born under similar circumstances.

I may be 2000 Man, but I'm not giving in.
posted by scruss at 2:06 PM on January 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

There's a story to be told about his connection with Howe Gelb (Giant Sand) and how that helped launch Grandaddy. I want to do a Howe Gelb post but it is intimidating.
posted by sjswitzer at 3:03 PM on January 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

One of my first entries into Grandaddy was Charley Broker’s use of the AM 180 as the opening track to his show Screenwipe.

Mine was the recurring use of a few bars of He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot in Trigger Happy TV. Always made me think "what was that?"

I'm very fond of This Is How It Always Starts which always feels to me both achingly beautiful and terribly sad.
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 5:01 PM on January 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

How many bands have even come close to "This is always how it starts/dumb choices from the heart/Oh shit I can't let them see me like this." That is some raw right there.
posted by sjswitzer at 6:08 PM on January 29, 2019

Thanks for the post! I really need to listen to more Grandaddy, have always loved "The Crystal Lake" but somehow I never bought that album--should rectify that. "Dogs are dead with broken hearts / collapsing by the coffee carts", what a great line.

I saw them play Irving Plaza in NY in 2001, that was a really good show. They played a fantastic version of "He Stopped Loving Her Today".
posted by equalpants at 10:45 PM on January 29, 2019

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