Photo: Amanda Rowan /Courtesy of Baby Robot

Grand Canyon’s “21st Century American Man” Is a Psych Rock Epic (premiere)

Grand Canyon mark their transition into psych-rock sound with "21st Century Man", their nearly seven-minute rock epic.

Grand Canyon’s upcoming EP, Yesterday’s News, sees the California band trading out their classic roots influences for the psychedelic thrills of ’70s and ’80s-era rock. With inspiration rooted in the transitional phases of artists like Warren Zevon and Bruce Springsteen as they shifted into a new sonic landscape, it’s an exciting leaf to turn for Grand Canyon. One thing that remains the same is a dedication to being the antithesis of mainstream pop music, shelving synthetic structure for an unwoven tapestry of raw rock ‘n’ roll. No track solidifies this idealism further than “21st Century American Man”, a nearly seven-minute-long epic about self-liberation that sheds societal expectations. An exploration of vibrant psych-rock, the fiery ambition that bursts forth from the song arguably makes the foundation from which all of Yesterday’s News stands.

Grand Canyon frontman Casey Shea recalls the development process of “21st Century American Man”, telling PopMatters, “When we initially talked about recording this track, we had a vision of the recorded version being at least 15 minutes long. We went for it in the studio, laying down a 25-minute meditation on a sweltering summer day. I had pages and pages of lyrics, and I don’t think I started singing till about eight minutes in. We just kept playing and playing.”

“One day we came into the studio and our producer, Jamie Candiloro, explained that he loved the vibe of the track, but we were out of our minds if we wanted to put out the full take. He said he was all for experimentation, but at some point, we have to respect the listener. Joe didn’t take this very well and put his fist through the wall. He stormed off, and the day was done. This could’ve easily been a record ender, but eventually cooler heads prevailed.”

“A couple of weeks passed with no communication of any kind, and then we got an email from Jamie that only said, ‘I got something for you.’ Jamie had gone deep into the jungle on his own and extracted about seven minutes of the best stuff. He gave it the full treatment, knowing how we felt about an edit of any kind. We walked in. He sat us down behind his mixing desk and hit play. I looked over at Joe about 30 seconds in, and he had a huge smile on his face. The edit was the right call. Maybe someday, 30 years from now we’ll release the full take on an expansive recap of our career, but until then, this will have to do. ”

Grand Canyon’s new EP, Yesterday’s News, drops on 2 August.