Grand Mal

Grand Mal

 New York City, New York, USA
BandAlternativeRock

Biography

“Grand Mal ooze cool”
- NME

Clandestine Songs is Grand Mal’s long awaited new album. Like their last release on Swedish indie label Groover Recordings, 2007’s Congratulations: You’ve Rejoined The Human Race, it is a home recorded affair that draws from New York City’s vast pool of rock
and roll talent. Parker Kindred of Antony and the Johnsons, Brad Truax of Home, Justin Russo of The Silent League, Jason Russo of Hopewell, Mike Fadem of The Jealous Girlfriends and others play and sing on the album. Ken Griffin of the Favourite Sons and Rollerskate Skinny duets with Grand Mal singer Bill Whitten on standout tracks “Lower Yer Heart” and “Children of Light”. New York’s best guitarist, Mike Bones provides incandescent guitar solos on the songs Call My Name and You Mean Well.

Bill Whitten has been releasing records since the early 90s. First, under the band moniker St. Johnny, a Connecticut band that liked their music loud and noisy. But even then they played with such a melodic style that critics would compare them with everyone from The Ramones to… well… Suede…

“St. Johnny possess a flair for songcraft, hooks and some of the most hummable melodies since Suede rocked the U.K. with hits like "Insatiable One" - Rolling Stone

Following a low-key bidding war, St. Johnny was signed to DGC/Geffen Records by Thurston Moore and Sonic Youth.

After three critically acclaimed albums on Rough Trade and DGC/Geffen, Bill Whitten then moved to New York and re-emerged with a new band: Grand Mal. Since then he has put out Grand Mal albums on No. 6 Records, Slash/London Records, Arena Rock Recordings, Rykodisc, New York Night Train and now, for the second time; Swedens Groover Recordings. It all makes sense, right?

Over the years Bill has recorded with everyone from The Velvet Underground’s Moe Tucker to Stephen Droszd of the Flaming Lips. He played an important part in David Baker’s (ex- Mercury Rev) Shady project. He has interviewed Mott the Hoople’s Ian Hunter and Brian Godding of the Blossom Toes, recorded Peel sessions and now, with the aid of Brooklyn’s finest, he has recorded his best and most personal work.

Clandestine Songs is an album filled with well-crafted songs that like his last U.S. release, Love is the Best Con in Town, will, once again, very likely garner musical comparisons to everyone from the Stones to Randy Newman and beyond.

”Like Randy Newman and Keith Richards stranded in Laurel Canyon” – Village Voice

Throughout Grand Mal's musical career, a few things have remained: consistently solid, riffladen songs, devastating live shows and clever lyrics.

“Whitten's lyrics are about as sharp as they come. He packs more gritty urban drama into five minutes than Dick Wolf can spew forth in an entire season of Law & Order spinoffs” - Pitchfork

Clandestine Songs is rock and roll reduced to its most essential components; swaggering riffs, pulsing grooves, and contagious pop hooks. This classic essentialism is further embellished by the production strategy of embedding every chorus in a sea of swooning background vocals – courtesy of Rich Meyer of Hopewell, Ken Griffin and Parker Kindred.

While ostensibly a home recording - produced, engineered and mixed by Bill Whitten in his apartment in Brooklyn and polished/mastered by Flaming Lips sound wizard Dave Fridmann at Tarboxroad Studios – it’s not exactly a lo-fi recording. A more accurate term would be ‘mid-fi’; the album sounds and feels like it could be a contemporary of such early ‘70’s recording as Patto’s Hold Your Fire or Runt: the Ballad of Todd Rundgren.

We really hope you’ll like it!