From Hoboken, NJ comes 'Grander.' An indie collective established in 2019, including core members Matt Cugine, Chase Montani, and Aaron Vigliotti. With other contributing pals, Greg Anastasio, Angie Cuzzola, Josh Flores, Darien Henshaw, Jesse Henshaw, Justin Krass, Sam Stauff, and Corey Zack. Grander has taken their sound to the road, including a sold-out gig at Pianos in NYC and a slot at the Cornchella Music Festival in Artemas, PA. And finally, on October 22nd, Grander released their debut emo-electronic EP, If Found, Cherish.
If Found, Cherish sparked during the start of the pandemic, March 2020, in Matt and Chase's apartment, and you can tell. With reverb and distant vocals, often with a vocoder, there is a sense of isolation looming over every track throughout these seven tracks. Grander explains this project "reflects how we were grappling with our anxieties day-in and day-out, which is evident in the lyrics. We tried to come at songwriting from different angles with each track and play off the instrumental tracks to convey different emotions. We tried to take the listener on an emotional experience throughout the tracklist, ultimately culminating in the last two tracks, "Settle" and "River Runner," which are much more hopeful than the rest of the bunch, despite being written in the same time period."
This project is also paired with a playlist of visualizers for each track (which I would highly recommend if this is your first listen). Starting with the first track titled, "(?)," you are propelled into this 'Grander' atmosphere of synths, live guitar, and confusion. The track covers heavy topics, like being in your own head singing, "How do you learn to put yourself back together?/or maybe convince yourself it's time for some professional help," with raw honesty. The following track, "Just Beneath the Surf," is the most upbeat track on the EP, where the treble-heavy guitar and visualizer truly hones in on the 'surf' concept with old-school clips of sunshine soaked fun. By the third track, if you're watching along with the visualizers, you can tell the vintage visual vignettes are here to stay, and you begin to become entranced by the project and its premise. "Quarterinch" is paired with another trippy video and compelling lyrics about going against the grain, "Go/Break the mold/In spite of what you've been told/Wait by the light and open up your eyes." Grander also drove the DIY theme home by incorporating a recording of a Snapchat video played at half speed in the outro. Integrating these experimental elements, including Snapchat and setting up a microphone late at night to improvise, makes the recordings more raw and intimate.
The fourth track in "Nails" is a soothing 2:55, strictly instrumental with catchy guitar motifs. "Comedown" discusses the struggle of the voices in your head, "I'm so sick of the sound of my inner monologue/ Always coming undone, it's coming on strong/ When the silence is in town," which is a very organic feeling and creatively juxtaposed with the industrial-themed visualizer. The penultimate track, "Settle," reconjures up the sense of isolation but ends with more energy. Grander allows us to understand more of their recording process by explaining for this track, halfway through, "live drums come in, which actually include two drum takes: one from our apartment and one from the Cocoon Recording Studio. Some of these choices may seem strange, but our interest is in pushing the boundaries of indie rock to create a new sonic experience." The closer, "River Runner," is most similar to the serenity of "Nails," but now includes field recordings of rain outside Matt's apartment window and a breathy female voice.
If Found, Cherish is truly art paired with its visual album. All the visualizers encompass vintage clips, which are often thought-provoking, unsettling, and unique—while Grander's lyrics are through-composed poetry, writing verses with no repetition.
LONG STORY SHORT: Grander has mastered the indie formula. If Found, Cherish is experimental, spacey, and unparalleled. Watch it now. The sounds are in fact, grand.
Stream If Found, Cherish Below! Buy it Here!
Greg Anastasio (He/Him) – Guitar
Matt Cugine (He/Him) – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Synth, Saxophone, Vocoder, Sampling, Programming, Production, Arrangement
Angie Cuzzola (She/Her) – Vocals, Keys, Synth
Josh Flores-Vitti (He/Him) – Bass
Darien Henshaw (He/Him) – Production, Sampling
Jesse Henshaw (He/Him) – Production, Arrangement
Justin Krass (He/Him) - Production, Mixing
Chase Montani (He/Him) – Vocals, Guitar, Bass, Drums, Synth, Vocoder, Programming, Production, Arrangement
Sam Stauff (He/Him) - Mastering
Aaron Vigliotti (He/Him) – Guitar, Bass, Synth, Sampling, Programming, Production, Arrangement
Corey Zack (He/Him) - Engineering, Production