A Seven-Song Primer On Michael Grace Jr., New York's New Wave Cult Hero
As noted in this week's Voice, Michael Grace Jr. has the tendency to be at the right place at the wrong time. Along the way, he's amassed a formidable (secret) songbook of alienation, fading beauty and chiming guitar. In case you were never fortunate to be at the right place, here are seven of his songs that you need to know, from his humble, New Order-obsessed beginnings to the opening salvo from his forthcoming magnum opus of generational desperation.
Michael Grace Jr.'s current band, The Secret History.
My Favorite, "Detectives Of Suburbia"
In less than two minutes Andrea Vaughn lays out a short story, filling up every second with betrayal, paranoia, redemption and sliced-up "Blue Monday" beats on this early My Favorite single. Thus we establish the reoccurring Grace theme that the true believers can beat those phonies if they just stick together: "There are those who will sell you out/ pick you apart/ and send you away/ there are those who will say anything/ but some mean what they say."
My Favorite, "Absolute Beginners Again"
If anything, Grace showed a considerable amount of restraint by waiting until 1994 to start the New Wave revival, pleading here for life to feel as full as possibility as it did back when David Bowie was king and tortured romance was the coin of the realm.
My Favorite, "The Happiest Days Of My Life"
Giggle all you want that this band's wish fulfillment fantasy involves a girl in a pixie cut and a Smiths t-shirt delivering kisses and puppies while you're just hanging out at a coffee shop, but take a moment to appreciate the touch of melancholy in the titular chorus and the power-pop muscle they developed after a decade-plus of grinding it out in the clubs.