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Grandaddy's complex and innovative pop vision had its genesis in Modesto, California, when local boys Jason Lytle (vocals, guitar), Kevin Garcia (bass), and Aaron Burtch (drums) decided they were going to start a band. Initially Grandaddy employed a noisy lo-fi approach not unlike Pavement or Weezer. But over the course of the band's existence, and especially since the addition of guitarist Jim Fairchild and keyboardist Tim Dryden, the group's ambitious, sometimes esoteric approach to pop music has only grown in scope and sophistication.

On their second and third full-lengths, 1997's Under the Western Freeway and 2000's The Sophtware Slump, Grandaddy creates a sweeping, almost symphonic pop sound that is both modern and nostalgic. It's the sound of life in the agricultural heartland (Northern California's San Joaquin Valley), a place that is traditional in many ways even as it has been infiltrated by encroaching new-millennium technology. Grandaddy makes classic sounding country-tinged pop whose smooth, glossy surface is continually being ruffled by the nervous tugs of electronic embellishments: hyperactive keyboards, outer space bleeps and squiggles, tape loops, tech noises. It's a little like the avant-pop of bands like Mercury Revand The Flaming Lips, but with a little less lunacy. The constant throughout is a terrific sense of melody, articulated by singer Jason Lytle's frail voice -- sometimes weary, sometimes sublime -- which tells poignantly sad stories about technophobia, postindustrial malaise, and lonesomeness.

"Crystal Lake," from The Sophtware Slump, is a warm, bubbling bit of space-pop. It's in Liquid Audio format, so you'll have to download the Liquid Player in order to listen to it.

"Glassy-Dusty" is a strange, intricately textured pop chimera, a self-recorded track that appears on A Compact Disc of Creative Music Recordings, a compilation CD from the Portland music recording fanzine Tape Op Magazine. It appears courtesy of Tiny Telephone, a San Francisco recording studio and MP3 website.