Grandaddy – an American Indie band. Just the one CD; Under the Western Freeway (1997), This was their debut album; I had read the review but found it a few years later in a charity shop. It is quite an interesting record; a few unusual sounds, some sweet vocals and unusual songs. But….as so often I am left wondering exactly what it was all about, it simply went in one ear and out the other. I am afraid that my capacity to take in and appreciate new music, in this case American Indie, is limited. I am stuck in old grooves mostly, preferring singer-songwriters and bands that I know and instantly recognise. Never mind.
David Gray – became famous with the release of his fourth album White Ladder.(1998). No-one had really noticed him before this, yet somehow he managed to get it all together with this record. His song-writing was as good as ever, but it was the introduction of infectious beats which brought him to a larger audience. The album though released in 97 did not do anything at first but slowly it grew and grew, especially with the release of hit singles and reached number one in 2001. It is a wonderful record. Almost every track is a winner. If I have to choose favourites then of course the two big singles ‘Babylon’ and ‘Sail Away’ – but actually the best is the final track – a cover of Soft Cell’s ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ which is almost better than the original. I then worked back and bought the predecessor; Sell, Sell, Sell (1996). A much rockier album but still pretty good. Best songs ‘Late Night Radio’, ‘Magdalene’ and ‘Forever is Tomorrow is Today’. Quite a satisfying record but originally it sold hardly at all, it was only after the success of White Ladder that people like me discovered it. His next album was Lost Songs 95 – 98. These were written prior to his breakthrough but recorded as White Ladder was taking off and released in 2001. And a strangely subdued set of songs they mostly are; all that lightness of touch of White Ladder seems to be dulled down a bit. Despite that it is quite a nice record – best songs; ‘Flame Turns Blue’ and ‘January Rain’. But we were all waiting for something new and the following year he brought out A New Day At Midnight. Well, White ladder it wasn’t; that slow dance beat was missing from most of the tracks. Saying that his voice was as plaintive as ever and the songs pretty good too. Favourites are ‘Dead in The Water’, ‘Be Mine’ and ‘The Other Side’. Another number one album which he followed three years later with Life In Slow Motion. Well, it seemed to me that David was sinking into some self-obsessed oblivion. It was as if all the lightness of White Ladder had dissipated. Not that some songs weren’t quite good, it was just that the whole feel of the album was a huge downer. A couple of good songs though; ‘Ain’t No Love’ and ‘Disappearing World’. I sort-of gave up on him at this point and resolved to not buy him anymore. My daughter Laura however did buy me his next effort Draw The Line (2009). I must admit, the record is okay, but somehow I had grown tired of David Gray. He still sounds pretty miserable and his songs are very samey, although he has a couple of faster numbers on this record. I haven’t really managed to get into this album but a couple of the songs are okay – ‘Stella the Artist’ rocks and the duet with Aniie Lennox (see l) Full Steam is quite good. He has continued to release the occasional album but so far I haven’t been tempted. A few years ago he lamented that the success of White Ladder had pigeonholed him and boxed him in. I wonder what hw would have been doing without it though….