Grandaddy/Various Below the Radio


Very rarely does the DJ’s mix-tape (or in this case, CD) cross over from hip-hop and dance into the world of rock. However, Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle has been given the chance to whip up a mix that is purely of his favourites. And Lytle doesn’t hold back in making this the complete package. Using his well-known design style for the artwork, he also provides handy liner notes for each song with the reason for its inclusion. While Below the Radio may not have the same effect as mixes from those other genres, Lytle’s tastes are parallel enough not to alienate the listener. In fact, his songs of choice are some low-energy, modest examples of indie rock that complement each other nicely. Beck starts it off with "We Live Again,” a low-key, orchestrated folk slumber from his magical Mutations record. An interesting choice is Snow Patrol’s torch song "Run,” which seems almost too trendy and intense for the mix, but as he mentions in his notes, it’s all about the high drama. Popular favourites like Pavement ("Motion Suggests”) and Blonde Redhead ("For the Damaged”) are worthy choices, but the songs disappoint because of their familiarity. Luckily the inclusion of the underrated Home’s "Comin’ Up Empty Again,” does a nice job of steadying the halfway point with something a bit more obscure. The prime rib of the mix though is the new Grandaddy composition, "Nature Anthem,” which gives props to the outdoors (big surprise) and features a lovable choir of children singing back up. This is an interesting concept that has its hits and misses, but hopefully it will open the door for more of these because even indie rockers need to express themselves through mix-tapes. (Ultra)