From The Desk Of A Sunny Day In Glasgow: Dad Rock

It’s no longer an aberration for artists to collaborate in the cloud, given the ease with which most of the world accesses high-speed internet. And A Sunny Day In Glasgow—collectively based in Philadelphia, Brooklyn and Sydney, Australia—creates the sort of impressionistic guitar pop that feels ripe for working in the ether. But that doesn’t mean the process of writing fine new album Sea When Absent (Lefse) across three cities and two hemispheres was ideal. In fact, the method was so present that it became a centerpiece of its narrative. The band will be guest editing all week. Read our new feature on the band.


Ryan Newmyer: I developed a strong interest in music relatively late in childhood. I had always been a bookish type—though before I come off sounding like some childhood autodidact in a Nabokov novel, bear in mind my reading was primarily comprised of novels about the Star Wars expanded universe—and music was something to be tolerated more then obsessed over. It was just background noise to me. I began to listen to music, seriously and in earnest, with my father, beginning in high school when he would drive me to school in the mornings.

Perhaps it was the call of destiny, or perhaps I had just grown bored and frustrated with the terminal uncool aura I gave off, but something clicked within me, and soon music was all I cared about. In no time, a drive with my father had gone from something mundane to something to look forward to, an opportunity to learn about and devour music. The bands of the British Invasion were his favorite, and we listened to as much classic rock as most kids getting musical appreciation classes from their baby boomer father. That said, he also had a strong love of arty 80’s pop, with XTC being a particular obsession, and he even made efforts to keep up with new stuff. He would play DJ while driving, barely looking at the road as he shuffled though the 30 or so CDs and cassettes scattered around the floor of his car.

I loved these drives, and thought my father the very epitome of a cool dad, and yet there was one record he could put on that, to my childhood ears, was just terrible. Terrible enough to ruin any drive, drive my eyes water with tears of rage, enough to make me contemplate that maybe my father had absolutely no idea what he was talking about when it came to music. Even his friends hated the band in question, and they would make fun of his love for them to his face. But he was totally undeterred and played it constantly, especially as I began to grow out of my classic-rock phase and developed my own taste, as if he was desperate to sow this one seed before his influence began to wane.

That album was a greatest-hits compilation of Prefab Sprout, who I can safely say are probably my favorite band of my adulthood. So thanks, dad, for all the tough love.

Video after the jump.