Rozwell Kid

Chris Farren is one of those names that is always on the tip of your tongue. Though he’s been
heavily involved in music for years —and he’s become well­known for his inventive merch,
including his take on the classic The Smiths shirt — Farren is still working on breaking out in the
large world of singer­songwriters. After experimenting and honing his solo work on a few
memorable EPs and a Christmas album called Like A Gift From God or Whatever, Farren is
ready to release his full­length Can’t Die. With it, he’s poised to become known on his own terms
and with his own unique sound.
“I definitely wanted to make something that wouldn’t just sound like another Fake Problems
record,” says Farren. “ I wanted to make something that was poppier and a little less aggressive
— but still energetic and entertaining. Lyrically, there’s some sadness involved but I didn’t want
it to be a bummer to listen to.” The result is a clever blend of pop and gloom, the sort of record
that will keep you dancing even when the lyrics cut deep. Farren, who cited Coconut Records,
Belle & Sebastian, and Magnetic Fields as his influences while recording Can’t Die, has crafted a
record that has a true indie­pop sensibility and remains musically upbeat throughout.
Yet there is an undeniable sadness to certain tracks as well as a heavy focus on death and
mortality. “Like any human, I reached an age where I realized I was going to die,” Farren says.
“Until I was 25 or something, I had like heard I was going to die but once I turned 25, something
just clicked in my head. I was like, ‘Oh, I’m definitely going to die’ and I had a crazy hard time
with it for some reason.” For Farren, who has always worked through dark times through songs,
it was only natural to channel these feelings into his solo album. Take a track like “Until I Can
See The Light,” which was partly inspired by the death of Parks and Recreation writer Harris
Wittels, as well other people in his life who have passed away. It’s about “how weird it is that
they’re gone. You don’t get to talk to them anymore.”
However, Can’t Die explores plenty of other topics, too. In “Say U Want Me,” Farren touches
upon insecurity in a relationship and how it doesn’t necessarily go away with time. “That song is
just about worrying about being a burden to somebody that cares for you because you’re so
childlike or weak … I just worry about being a drag on somebody else that I really care for.” The
song, like all of the songs on Can’t Die, is a refreshingly honest and relatable track: Farren is
open about the anxieties and insecurities that plague his daily life, whether it’s worrying about
being too much to a partner or just trying to act normal enough to fit in with your fellow human
beings. In fact, the aptly titled “Human Being” reflects that common feeling of being, well, just
different. “I can be very outgoing in certain situations but if I’m out of my comfort zone or of I’m
in a place with a bunch of people I don’t know — like any party that I’ve ever been to — I always
feel like a total weirdo freak,” Farren admits. It’s a fun, poppy track that accurately captures the
vicious anxiety circle of feeling like you should go out but then getting there and realizing it’s not
for you. And then doing it all again later on.
Considering this aversion to crowded parties, it’s no surprise that recording Can’t Die was a
fairly solitary affair for Chris Farren. It’s a truly DIY album; “I wanted to produce my own
record. I wanted to engineer my own record. I’d had a lot of ideas, sonically, that I felt like
maybe if I brought in another producer, [they] would be like, ‘Oh, that’s wrong. That doesn’t
sound right’.” Instead, Farren went with his gut, sometimes even making mistakes but leaving
them in because he thought it sounded cool. (“Weirdo artist garbage,” he laughs.) The album
was recorded in a guest room — one where he’d have to shut off the air conditioner whenever it
was time to record — that didn’t even have real soundproofing. In fact, you can even hear dogs
barking outside in the background. Can’t Die manages to simultaneously have a lo­fi sound
that’s still incredibly rich. It helps that Farren enlists the help of some of his friends on the
record — Sean Stevenson on drums, Casey Lee on guitar, Jeff Rosenstock and Matt Agrella
adding horn arrangements, and Laura Stevenson contributing vocals. Farren’s friends helped
make Can’t Die surpass Farren’s original vision. “It just took it to a place I could’ve never
At the end of the day, however, Can’t Die is a record that is wholly reflective of Chris Farren’s
sound. It’s not Fake Problems or Antarctigo Vespucci but instead it’s entirely Farren’s:
resonating indie­pop that captures all of the weird little anxieties of being in your twenties and
realizing that you can’t control everything around you. “Once I got past that ego­driven stuff and
realizing that the world doesn’t revolve around me, it was a lot easier for me to get through the
world,” says Farren. “It’s heavy! It’s a heavy world.” That’s true, but Can’t Die adds some
lightness, resulting in a record that makes listeners happy while also recognizing that it’s OK to
be sad sometimes.

Great Grandpa began in Seattle in 2014 when guitarist & vocalist Patrick Goodwin
recruited bassist Carrie Miller, drummer Cam LaFlam, and vocalist Alex Menne to form a
humble rock band. Inspired by the pop-sensible alternative rock of the 90’s, and offset by
a mutual love for noise and math rock, the group set forth to write and record their first
During recording, guitarist Dylan Hanwright joined the group, solidifying the lineup. Great
Grandpa began performing in the Seattle area in late 2014, frequenting the city’s DIY
venues. In March of 2015, their debut EP Can Opener was released on Broken World
Media. The EP was met with considerable praise, and has been described as “warm,
slightly off-kilter grunge pop”, and “knotty, twisted, and warm rock music that’s as
melodically satisfying as it is, at times, confounding”.
Great Grandpa began writing their debut LP soon after, and found themselves touring
the western US and performing extensively in the Seattle area. Written in 2015 and
2016, Great Grandpa’s debut LP Plastic Cough continues to explore the sonic territory
visited in Can Opener, exhibiting infectious melodies across a range of backdrops, from
quiet bedroom-pop to explosive, anthemic rock. Plastic Cough is out July 7th via Double
Double Whammy.

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