September 25, 2003

Test Spin: Paloalto

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James Grundler, the lead singer of Paloalto, knows a thing or two about struggle. Grundler, a veteran of various bands since the early ’90s, formed Paloalto and the group released their self-titled debut in 2000. After a lengthy label dispute and an entirely revamped lineup, Grundler didn’t lose a bit of his resolve. Music lovers everywhere should rejoice in his persistence. The result, Heroes and Villains, is a stunning addition to the California band’s repertoire. Helmed by producer Rick Rubin, Heroes is a rounded blend of laidback tunes and songs that rock. Grundler’s soothing voice is a hybrid of Thom Yorke and Bono’s, and makes the album the better for it. Yet aside from bearing a resemblance to established bands, Paloalto has a remarkable sound and style to call their own. Multifaceted musician Andy Blunda creates a colorful musical landscape with dramatic riffs and airy piano lines. Standouts on the record include the single, “Fade Out/In,” about wanting to make your mark. “I don’t want to fade out