Picked to Click 2013: #6 (tie). Ginkgo
#6 (tie). Ginkgo: 44 points
A Picked to Click honoree who's already "clicked" plenty, Ginkgo's Josh Grier rocked the likes of Letterman and Coachella with his blog-buzzed rock band Tapes 'n' Tapes during the late 2000s. That level of success typically leads to music-career tunnel vision, but appears to have had the opposite effect on Grier. Growing dissatisfaction with the touring grind led him to put Tapes 'n' Tapes on ice and make Manopause, his one-man band debut as Ginkgo.
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A warped and woozy delight, Manopause irreverently blends disparate sounds and styles and is defined by gleeful experimentation. There's room at the table for both rinky-dink synth-pop goofs like "Casiotones" and the buoyant tropcialia of "Moped Song." These new sounds have Grier feeling liberated and energized.
"To grow in life you have to challenge yourself to do new things," he explains. "I've always written pop songs with tightly defined arrangements and melodies. I really wanted to push myself away from that and just see where the songs could go if I allowed for more fluctuation. I had no idea what anyone else would think of it, so the only criteria was really 'Does this feel right to me?'"
By Grier's own admission taking that line of thinking "to the extreme," Manopause at times makes for jarring listening, as when overdubbed stacks of stinging guitar lines jostle for pole position on "Line Dancing With the Stars." For Grier, the intentional chaos ultimately proved creatively rewarding.
"I wanted to recreate that feeling of seeing a band live that doesn't quite know the songs completely," recalls Grier. "There's that scary element of 'Is this all going to fall apart?' That out-on-the-edge feeling has always given me a rush."
Grier sounds like a man at peace with his past and firmly in control of his future, which for now means focusing on friends, family, and a stable day job over his music career.
"The people that I've met who are really successful in the music business have made a lot of personal sacrifices," he says. "They're working really hard all the time and want it really bad. If you decide that's not what you want out of life then why would you want to commit your whole existence to doing just that one thing?"