(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 40: Grand Drifter

Grand Drifter

Since 2016 Grand Drifter is Andrea Calvo’s musical project (voice, guitar, harmonica, piano), sometimes as a band, sometimes alone. Italy-based Architect and designer, Andrea’s collaborations as a musician have been many over the years, the most important is as keyboardist and guitarist with Yo Yo Mundi live on tour and in the recording studio. In 2018 came the electroacoustic debut Lost Spring Songs (Sciopero Records – Self distribution), produced by Paolo Enrico Archetti Maestri (Yo Yo Mundi), where a gentle, delicate and introspective songwriting, ranges between emotional coordinates linked to the Beatles’ White Album and electric songs that look up to pop-rock. The record gets extremely favorable reviews (Rumore, Rockerilla, Blow-Up, Classic Rock, Sentireascoltare, Rockit…) as well as many radio feedbacks.
The new album, Only Child is made of 10 songs, recorded between summer 2020 and spring 2021. It will be out on Friday November 26, 2021 produced once again by Paolo Enrico Archetti Maestri (Yo Yo Mundi), recorded, edited, and mixed by Dario Mecca Aleina between Turin and Rivalta Bormida and mastered by Giovanni Versari at La Maestà studio. It will be released on CD by the South African / UK label SUBJANGLE and on vinyl by SCIOPERO RECORDS, distributed by SELF and it is supported by the Turin collective DOTTO. Haunted Life is the first single from the album.

What Andrea Says: “The song was among the very first to be recorded for the new album in the summer of 2020. The lyrics are composed of simple images, fragments, moods. A proud claim of kindness and individual sensitivity is the core of this song as well as of all the upcoming album, in which appears a strong desire to get away from the present to get lost in a world made up of certain beloved records (from Sarah Records to the Go-Betweens, or maybe George Harrison) giving rise to an ideal and secret conversation with the latter.
What I try to do is write emotions in music, through a pop filter made up of immediate lyrics, which often recall simple but meaningful images. I have often found inspiration by imagining that my songs were taken from a forgotten and then rediscovered unreleased record. The video,made by Ivano A. Antonazzo, reflects the impressionistic mood of the song.
The band consists of me plus all Yo Yo Mundi and features my friends Michele Sarda and Hamilton Santià of Smile on backing voice and guitar.

His Mixtape: “These songs are a mix of what I was listening at the time of writing my new record, some classics I can never put apart, and some quite recent listening. The initial list was endless, simply too many to mention. What I could say is that I always choose a song for its writing. I’m used to having a sort of analytic sight on a song, on how it works. And at the same time, I must get emotional. These are songs that do not seek to prevail you but get straight to the heart. The songs are in no particular order.

The Reds, Pinks and Purples – Last Summer In A Rented Room

This is the first song I heard from Glenn Donaldson, a US artist that I never heard before. But in short: it was love at first sight. I spun that song for days before moving forward listening to the rest of the album. The feelings I got made me clear some aspects of the tunes I was writing at the time and that eventually went on my album. I’m thankful to The Reds, Pinks and Purples for that.

The Rainyard – So Happy Now

A quite obscure band I admit I still know nothing about except that they were Australian. This song shows a perfect pop mastery. Two minutes of shiny guitar riffs and harmonies, bittersweet lyrics, and an apparently effortless flow of melodies that might have been on any new 7 inches from The Beatles in 1964. A little song that might have been written by a young Paul McCartney or Smithereen’s Pat DiNizio. Also their posthumous compilation “A Thousand Days” is full of hidden gems. This is the kind of band that makes you still wonder why they didn’t get a wide success or any kind of success at all.

The Go-Betweens – Love Goes On

Apart from The Beatles, this is THE band to me. And it is almost impossible to tell in short why it is. It concerns a deep feeling, a source of inspiration, something that you feel so close to without asking yourself why. Many times when I start writing a song I think about what Grant McLennan and Robert Forster would have done. Simply this is the kind of band you keep on listening to as it was a wonderful secret only you know.

Blueboy – The Joy of Living

Somehow they brought what the Smiths’ experience was to a more intimate, true level. My favorite Sarah Records band, even more than the Field Mice, to say. Clearly, another hidden source of mood and inspiration to many of the songs of my album.

Clairo – Amoeba

I could have put almost any Elliott Smith masterpiece (therefore any of his songs) into this mixtape but I prefer to choose her. A recent discovery. Great songwriting indeed.

Kings of Convenience – Love Is A Lonely Thing

I’ve been quite impressed by their new album, I found myself listening to it a lot during this late summer. Excellent songwriting and sound. This gentle song is a little gem, it has a pure Bacharach melody and it reminds me pleasant sunny days.

Franco Battiato – Scalo a Grado

Early Eighties. I was about three or four. I was in the back of a car with my parents. A cassette player, and me happily singing all the lyrics without understanding anything of the words. Later I was very deep into the music of Battiato, digging deep into all related reading. He changed me. He still does. As it’s for the music of George Harrison, this is an intimate and inner view I never forget while I write music.

Epic Soundtracks – Fallen Down

Epic Soundtracks is another great and sadly lost talent. This song comes from a parallel dimension where Brian Wilson is an indie hero with an unreleased bunch of masterpieces waiting to be released. Epic once said: “I like emotionally charged words, good sounds, and a good melody. …what’s wrong with that?”

Haunted Life is out now, Only Child will be out on November 26th on Subjangle and Sciopero Records. Look HERE for more information on Grand Drifter.

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