Indie rock singer/songwriter Jason Lytle made his solo album debut in 2009, following a decade-long recording career as the frontman of Grandaddy. While his former group failed to find mainstream success before disbanding in 2006, Grandaddy nevertheless garnered critical acclaim in the indie rock underground, with particular attention focused on their first two albums. Lytle moved to Montana after the band's split, where he assimilated the state's geography into his songwriting and made his solo debut in association with the Anti- label.
Born on March 26, 1969, in Modesto, California, Lytle founded Grandaddy in 1992. Comprised originally of bassist Kevin Garcia and drummer Aaron Burtch in addition to Lytle (who handled vocals, guitar, and keyboards), the band expanded its lineup in 1995 to include guitarist Jim Fairchild and keyboardist Tim Dryden. Following a series of self-released albums, Grandaddy made their independent label debut in 1996 with A Pretty Mess by This One Band, a mini-LP released on the Will Records label. The full-length album Under the Western Freeway followed in 1997, and in addition to garnering significant critical notice (especially the song "Summer Here Kids"), the album resulted in a recording contract with V2 Records. The four-song EP Signal to Snow Ratio (1999) and second album The Sophtware Slump (2000) were also critically acclaimed, though the accolades didn't lead to mainstream success for the band.
In addition to a variety of compilations and EPs, Grandaddy released two more full-length albums, 2003's Sumday and 2006's Just Like the Fambly Cat, and broke up in the process of recording the latter, which ended up being something of a solo project by Lytle. In the aftermath of Grandaddy's dissolution, Lytle relocated from California to Montana and began translating his electro soundscapes to a solo context. He resurfaced in 2009 with his first proper solo release, Yours Truly, the Commuter, on Anti- records. After releasing an album of improvised piano pieces titled Merry X-Mas 2009 at the end of the year, Lytle's next move was to form Admiral Radley with former Grandaddy bandmate Burtch, plus Aaron Espinoza and Ariana Murray of Earlimart. Their first album, I Heart California, was released on Espinoza's The Ship label in July of 2010. Lytle next returned to his own songs and began recording his second album. Meanwhile he was recruited by Fairchild to put Grandaddy back together for some 2012 festival appearances. The group played the U.K.'s End of the Road Festival, San Francisco's Outside Lands, and Paris' Rock en Seine Festival, as well as some warmup dates. Plans for an album were kicked around, but before that could happen, Lytle released Dept. of Disappearance in October of 2012, again for the Anti- label. ~ Jason Birchmeier