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CD Reviews: Review of Excerpts From The Diary Of Todd Zilla by Grandaddy
Thompson Home / CD Reviews Home / Entertainment Channel / Entertainment Web Guide

Click here to buy yourself a copy from Amazon.com Grandaddy: Excerpts from the Diary of Todd Zilla (Label 2005)

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The biggest question about this release is, did Grandaddy take the name “Todd Zilla” from a Nazz outtakes album called The Nazz Vs. Toddzilla? (Actually it was taken from a vanity plate, but a Nazz fan can wonder.) Or maybe that’s not the biggest question. Probably the biggest question on the fans of Grandaddy’s minds is: will this EP really be one of the last releases from the band? Only time will tell. But if it is, then hopefully they can go out with a bang rather than the small fizzle that this EP emits. That’s a shame, because EPs can often hold a lot of nuggets that full albums often miss, but in the case of Excerpts from the Diary of Todd Zilla, Grandaddy is only running on half cycle.

Fans will undoubtedly scream that that isn’t true, but when you’re not a hardcore fan, you can hear things a little more objectively. Of course, that’s a subjective attitude to be sure, but we won’t get into that now. Hit the books if you want to delve more into those subjects. Anyway, upon first listen, this EP really seems to explode and sparkle and sound like one of those things you might wind up placing on a year end best-of list. But wait a sec. A few more listens will change that opinion. See, that’s the beauty of subjectivity. It can always be changed.

The main problem with this EP is that it sounds like an aborted project by Mercury Rev. Nowhere is this more evident than on tracks like “At My Post” and “A Valley Son Sparking,” where Jason Lytle’s high vocals are mixed with unnervingly majestic music that sounds like it’s coming from some haunted locale high up on some lonely hill. And yes, that would be fantastic if the Rev hadn’t already patented the hell out of that style and beaten everyone else to it first. However, the second problem is that these same two songs wear out their welcome during the course of their playtimes. It’s all right to have a kind of oddball sound, but where to take it? Seemingly, Grandaddy is forever chipping away at the stone here and not breaking through.

There are a couple real movers here as well, though. The opening cut “Pull The Curtains” and the raving “Florida” are well worth repeat listens, with the former’s grandiose beauty creating a nice wash against the latter’s breakout rave ups. It’s no secret that Grandaddy have the talent to make great songs; it’s just on this release they kind of cleaned out the closet more than came together. Indeed, the most bonkers tune on here is a little ditty called “Fuck The Valley Fudge,” which is apparently about Modesto’s current state of air pollution and strip mall creation. It’s a nice tune, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

So chalk up this EP as a strictly fans type of offering. If you’re new to the group, it’s probably not going to wow you into trying anything else by them. But if you’ve been along for most of the ride, you’ll undoubtedly find a lot of this charming in some weird way. If Grandaddy are going to go out next year with a final album, let’s hope they do so phenomenally, with this release just being a throat clearing of sorts before the end finally arrives.  

~Jason Thompson 


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