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Jason Lytle: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert

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Published on Nov 5, 2012

by ROBIN HILTON

Sometimes, it's hard to know what constitutes a band. Billy Corgan wrote and sang all the songs for The Smashing Pumkpins and still records under the name, even though the other original members are long gone. Same deal with James Mercer and The Shins. Jason Lytle, on the other hand, spent nearly 15 years leading Grandaddy, dissolved the group in 2006 and decided to continue as a solo artist, even though he wrote, sang and recorded Grandaddy's songs almost entirely on his own.

You've got to give the guy credit. Lytle could have slapped the higher-profile Grandaddy name on his beautiful, deeply moving 2009 album Yours Truly, The Commuter, and on his equally impressive record from this fall, Dept. of Disappearance, and few could have discerned the difference. But whatever. Lytle still makes some of the best music of his life.

So it's only fitting, and a rare treat, to see Jason Lytle go it alone in this Tiny Desk set, performing bare-essentials versions of songs he created and recorded at his home studio. He treated the NPR Music offices to two tracks from his current record, "Willow Wand Willow Wand" and "Get Up and Go," as well as a super-cool (and tear-jerking) acoustic-guitar version of "Jed the Humanoid," one of the most memorable songs he ever released as Grandaddy.

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