Free Download: Local Band Gran Ronde Rides The iTunes Wave
Local bands are the beer to my Bukowski. They’re the filth to my rats, the marinara to my Don Corleone and the Forever 21 to my inner teenage hipster chick. It's especially fun when other people don’t know about a local band and I get to hype them up. I even do it free of charge, despite the naïveté of this business practice. But so what, I love local bands.
Gran Ronde, one such hero of the underground Silver Lake music scene, and a complete stranger to almost anyone else, has been spiking their heads above the competitive music industry muck now and again, gaining publicity in local forums like Amateur Chemist, Scenestar and the proper music rag Filter. They’ve been regulars at the slightly high-profile Los Angeles Troubadour venue for some time, and have even seen the inside of national and European tour buses. It was only a logical step, then, that they should be featured prominently on the front page of the iTunes store this week repping the recent single “Wisdom,” from their April-released debut album Secret Rooms, as the iTunes Free Single of the Week download. Score one for the little guy.
Combining vaguely Interpol guitar sounds with an upbeat Robert Smith vocal style and a hefty rhythm section, “Wisdom” does a fair job of showcasing Gran Ronde’s premium business-class guitar riffage and singer/guitarist Chris Pearson’s pipes, though it doesn’t quite approach the strong-armed melodic weavings of more track-heavy numbers like “Say Say Say” and the extremely hard-to-find “Control.” Combining forces with producer Mark Needham, who has sat behind the soundboard with the tokers of Bloc Party and the Killers, Gran Ronde is a little more than your late-night dive bar band. They’re sort of your extremely late-night, hanging-around-at-Burrito-King-with-two-chicks, too-wasted-to-high-five band, at least when they’re not performing. When they are performing, they’re just fucking sweet. For the itching-to-be-in-the-know hipster looking to add a gem to his or her library, this is a download to pick up while it’s still free – and to go ahead and buy if it’s not.
Curious? The band’s Myspace page is a good place to start. Secret Rooms can be found where albums are usually found, and is peppered with enough of these gems to make it worth the huntin’ effort.