Nestled somewhere up the Hudson Valley between the Brooklyn-ex-pat hipster-adjacent village of New Paltz and the wealthy old hippie-art-kook community of Woodstock lies the former state capital, the quaint little town of Kingston NY. Once a major hub of Hudson River trade and travel for old New York, nowadays the sleepy little town is often forgotten by those of us forever buried in the hustle and bustle of NYC. However while many of us spend our days and nights drowning in the deep ends and graffiti’d overlaps of the NYC art communities, we often overlook some really great bands just a couple hours upstream.
Take Grampfather, the 4-piece rock band from Kingston who’s developed a varied musical styling over the years that takes on a category all its own. Hard to lay name to their genre, they blend layers of psychedelic elements with a garage pop twist, that goes down smooth with a carbonated sweet bubble aftertaste. Their new record 666G comes out Aug 19, and we have your exclusive first listen!
Grampfather (photo by Kiki Vassilakis)
My first impressions of the record was that it was concertedly more structured and had a tighter focus than their older material. While the band, comprised of James Kwapisz (vocals, guitar), Jake Offermann (bass), Tony DiMauro (drums), and Andrew Blot (lead guitar) had previously done well crafting hazy jamier tunes in the past, they seem to have really begun to hone in on their stronger elements on their latest releases.
Right out the gate, opening track “Pawl Mawl Menthawls” immediately clues you in that this record will be taking a more angular and pointedly fun approach than we are used to from Grampfather. A little bit Modest Mouse and a little bit MGMT, it feels like riding your bike over the Williamsburg Bridge at dawn. The jangly guitar lines dance and bop perfectly over the bassline, and everything just pulls and soars right where it needs to before dropping you into the next track.
The band however has not completely abandoned their 60s surf-style element for which they are known. While the cast and lineup of players may have changed hands and evolved over the years, founding member Kwapisz has always been able to carry through a consistent thread to their musical influence. For this reason 666G maintains a sound that falls somewhere between creature feature and spy picture, almost a Munsters meets Hawaii 5-0 crossover episode just in time to hit the waves.
Grampfather (photo by Paulie Tucci)
This being their second release of the year, (Gramppapies came out this past February) these tracks feel super fresh, and definitely lean a little more into those summer vibes as the lead single “Hot Dog Beach” with its hot n’ hazy grooves suggests. Not only can you hear the seagulls, but you can almost feel the sand between your toes and taste the salt in the air.
Listen to 666G below and download the album in full 8/19 on Bandcamp.