The Underground: Common Grackle – The Great Depression

Welcome to The Underground (or Notes from the Underground if you’re a Dostoyevsky nerd), a weekly segment in which I examine the very best in unsigned, undiscovered and underground music. It’s my goal to highlight and hopefully promote talented artists who have yet to receive the attention they deserve. If you know (or are!) a band or artist you think should be featured on The Underground, please give them a shout out in the comments section below, or alternatively you can tweet me their info @AnOrangeFellow.

Get past the odd first 20 seconds of “Thank God its Monday” and you’ll find a rich, catchy and strange opening tune. Oh, and despite it’s initial upbeat tone and sound, this song is dark. I think that’s a pretty great description for The Great Depression – deceptively dark. Sorry if that seems like an obvious statement, but a lot of the grimness conceals itself within catchy, accessible songs, and only really comes out in spurts, or moments of lyrical clarity. Even during the albums light-hearted (and even rather silly) moments there’s a thick smell of both cynicism and sarcasm in the air, and for the most part, it works.

Common Grackle, better know as Gregory Pepper, is an indie pop-rock artist who always managed to deliver work that is at the very least interesting. The Great Depression (which is certainly worth noting, is produced by Factor) will be an album you will want to understand, and Mr. Pepper doesn’t make it all too easy. From minute-long songs about dogs in bandanna’s to repeated upbeat choruses of “I wan to die” to the intelligent inclusion of guest-rappers to outright obscenity, The Great Depression is a perplexing but entirely rewarding beast. The short length of a lot of the songs is actually a good stylistic choice – “Hannibal Lecture” stands out in my mind because it’s such a dark, brief burst of insight. When the album hits its stride, it effortlessly carries you along with it, and when it slows down it still keeps you invested, and damned entertained. Who am I kidding though? I paid the seven bucks for The Great Depression for one song.


God Damn, this song was my jam for a while. It’s a song that’s so inherently infectious, it never pauses once and carries this wonderful lyrical bounce throughout. It’s hard not to be compelled to learn and mouth the lyrics, and if you’re like me, transpose it in any way you can. The Great Depression is a great album, but “The Great Depression” is an elite level ear-worm that I am more than content letting nest in my brain.

You can purchase The Great Depression here. The Great Depression is not on Bandcamp, but you can listen to Gregory Pepper’s other work here.

Like Common Grackle on Facebook here.