Grandkids — ‘Ethylene’ and ‘Crunch City’

credit: Grandkids’ Facebook

About 10 or so mixtapes ago, Chicago Mixtape introduced my iPod to Grandkids, a Champaign-Urbana-based foursome that I guess sleeps close enough to the city to be a considered entry for Chicago Mixtape.

As it happened with the mixtape featuring Grandkids — as it happens with nearly all the mixtapes I’ve hoarded, come to think — I downloaded the files to my player and then promptly forgot about them.

Through a fit of random chance — iPod, forever a sage, deemed it “time” — my ears connected to Grandkids not long after the Archie Powell review published Sunday, and you know, I’ve been listening to them almost exclusively since.

When I realized I liked quite a bit the only tune I owned by them, “Ethylene,” I researched them fools some and swiftly discovered that the band’s frontwoman was a familiar face: Vivian McConnell, sister to Stan and one-fifth of another Champaign-(now Chicago)-based band, Santah.

There’s a familiar sense of jar, surely, when finding out an artist is not of one band, but several. Yet Vivian’s face plastered in any number of Grandkids’ publicity photos seemed more unpredictable than usual. In Santah, Vivian strokes bass and often backs up her brother on mic. In Grandkids, Vivian is Grandkids. She’s lead guitar and lead vocals. Lead vocals!

A few spins deep in “Ethylene,” and I’d figured it out: Grandkids reminded me of You Can Be a Wesley, a Boston-based band that, until that moment of intellect, I hadn’t listened to in at least a year and a half. I’m regrettably behind on them. Apparently they released an EP in the fall.

Grandkids is way mellower than the pair of tunes I’m about to share with you. Well, about half of Grandkids’ Bandcamp is an EP stocked with unhurried cadence — save for “Geese” — so I suspect them to be a drowsy people, but I could be wrong.

“Ethylene” because that’s what started it all, and then “Crunch City” for being the schizophrenic oddball that it is.


“Crunch City”

This one’s by You Can Be A Wesley. Go on and appraise how I did at the “hey, that sounds like…” game.


  • The Champaign-Urbana-based Grandkids is: Vivian McConnell (vocals, guitar), Evan Metz (guitar), Adam Gorcowski (cello) and Phil Sudderberg (drums). | Facebook
  • A good amount of Grandkids music is either free or extremely cheap. | Bandcamp

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About Eric

Hello there. Email your things to chicagotunes[at]gmail[dot]com.
This entry was posted in Grandkids, Song Review, You Can Be A Wesley. Bookmark the permalink.

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