Jason Lytle (Grandaddy) Talks with Gruff Rhys on the Talkhouse Podcast

"Making up words is great; I mean, somebody made 'em up at some point anyways, right?”

On this week’s Talkhouse Podcast we’ve got a pair of songwriting visionaries who came to prominence in the 1990s with well respected indie bands, and who both have vital new music out now: Jason Lytle and Gruff Rhys.

Lytle started making music under the name Grandaddy back in 1992. He was a pro skateboarder who found a second passion in home recording, and as you’ll hear in this chat, kind of stumbled upon some guys who helped him flesh out the sound into something both humble and grand. The first run of Grandaddy albums—including Under the Western Freeway and 2000’s classic The Sophtware Slump—felt a bit like quieter, more heartfelt cousins to the music the Flaming Lips were making at the time. After that initial run, the band eventually split up, only to reform sporadically over the years. Lytle also recorded some really fascinating solo records while also taking time—as you’ll hear—to try and leave the music world behind a little bit. But he’s been called back to the Grandaddy world with a brand new album called Blu Wav, and it’s everything you’d expect from his brain: a mixture of sweet sadness with fuzzy guitars and synths from another age. Check out “Cabin in My Mind” from Blu Wav right here.

The other half of today’s conversation is Gruff Rhys, who just released his 25th album overall in a career that has spanned 35 years and taken some fascinating turns. He’s still probably best known as the frontman of the colorful, psych-leaning Welsh pop band Super Furry Animals, which was signed to the venerated Creation Records label back in the 1990s, and whose records and visuals always zigged when you thought they might zag—that’s a compliment. For his solo work, Rhys has been genre-expansive to say the least, but his brand new record, Sadness Sets Me Free, is refreshingly straightforward pop. As you’ll hear in this chat, it was recorded pretty quickly, without a lot of fuss. It doesn’t sound miles away from the new Grandaddy album, really. Check out “Bad Friend” right here.

As it turns out, these two toured together a million years ago, and each has fond memories of that time—a soccer match, a special parting gift, and more. They also chat about Lytle’s preference to stay away from the madness of the big city, even as he lives perilously close to it once again as well as their tendency to make up words in their songs when the ones that exist just won’t do. Enjoy.

Thanks for listening to the Talkhouse Podcast, and thanks to Gruff Rhys and Jason Lytle for chatting. If you liked what you heard, please follow Talkhouse on your favorite podcasting platform, and check out all the great stuff at Talkhouse.com. This episode was produced by Myron Kaplan, the Talkhouse theme was composed and performed by the Range, and we offer special thanks this week to Keenan Kush. See you next time!

(Photo Credit: left, Dustin Askland; right; Edited by: Keenan Kush.)

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