Grandkids wanted to grow up on their latest record. Give the sonically majestic Timeshare LP a listen, and you’ll see that they did. It’s undoubtedly their most thoughtful and accomplished work yet – something for CU to be proud of. Unfortunately, what comes with growing up is moving out. The local band just relocated to Chicago but will play an album release show at Mike N Molly’s on Saturday that should be a celebration and a goodbye, as the hometown heroes leave CU for the big city and a promising adventure.
“I feel like, in a way, I’m from Champaign-Urbana,” said Vivian McConnell, Grandkids’ guitarist, singer and chief songwriter. “It’s weird, I’m living in Chicago right now, but I consider myself a resident (of CU). That being said, it feels really good because even after leaving, we’re still getting a lot of love from locals.”
Timeshare has indeed gotten praise from locals, Chicagoans and beyond. It was co-released on Champaign’s Heirship Records and Jurassic Pop, a label based in West Lafayette, Ind., and it’s out on vinyl.
McConnell also spun something else when she first spun the record.
“I hula hooped while I listened to the album for the first time ‘cause I was feeling really nervous about it,” she said. “But it was a really cool feeling to hear that and then think about people spinning it in their living rooms.”
Making the album was a lot harder than hooping. Much effort went into the production of it, which took over a month, a Kickstarter campaign’s worth of funding and a lot of serious work on the part of the band, who commuted to Chicago and slept there in a one-bedroom studio.
In the process of making the album, they learned about the music industry and what it’s like to release a vinyl record. They learned from their mistakes. In the midst of all the business surrounding Timeshare, Grandkids kept their focus on their debut full-length being a grown-up record, yet still made of the good stuff.
“We see a lot of bands floating so far away from the actual music,” McConnell said. “It’s so frustrating to us as four people who really, really enjoy sound quality and a good song and really intricate parts, to see the superficial side of music.”
It’s those intricate parts and the sound quality on Timeshare that will be celebrated at Saturday’s show.
“I think this is gonna be a cooler, actual record release show than Pygmalion,” McConnell said. “Just because Pygmalion’s awesome, but this is gonna be just really Champaign-Urbana.”
Urbana means a lot to Grandkids. While the band sees the city of Chicago as inspirational and a natural progression, CU is a cozy home, and Grandkids mean a lot to CU as well.
“It’s just a really awesome music scene and everyone’s super supportive, and more than anything I hope that we encourage other bands, just college students who meet similar-minded people who are making music to carry that through,” McConnell said. “Because I’m in a band with three of my best friends and we’re still doing it, and it’s what we want to do for a long time.”