Small Isles: A Look into the New Project by Jim Fairchild (Grandaddy, Modest Mouse) and Jacob Snider


Credit: @smallislespicturemusic Instagram

Joseph Patella

Small Isles is a unique new project by Jim Fairchild and Jacob Snider that aims to create “imaginary scores for imaginary films.” Their debut record, The Valley, The Mountains, The Sea, does this seamlessly. Although simple in length at 8 tracks and just over 30 minutes, the album’s production is anything but. Songs like “The Concept” and “Walked From Ruin” feature a sinister sounding cacophony of foreboding drums and droning sounds.

The record also features a euphony of Grandaddy-esque piano from Jim Fairchild and folksy classical sounding guitar from Jacob Snider. My favourite track on the record is “Fort Wayne,” a cool electronic track featuring a cool sounding drumpad. Overall, The Valley, The Mountains, The Sea does a stand-up job at creating movie-like scores for fake films.

The penultimate, and most heavily promoted, track on the record is “Life at One,” which has a music video by Riley Thompson. “Life at One” is the album’s only single and features a beautiful combination of Fairchild and Snider’s different guitar styles: combining Fairchild’s electric guitar work with Snider’s nylon strings.

But who are Jim Fairchild and Jacob Snider? Jim Fairchild is a California native who just recently announced his departure from the indie behemoth Modest Mouse, after playing over 500 shows with the band. But before Modest Mouse, Fairchild played guitar with the band Grandaddy from 1995 to 2006. He also toured briefly with Elliott Smith, and has released solo work under the name “All Smiles.” Fairchild started work on the Small Isles project while on tour with Modest Mouse, before recruiting Jacob Snider to join the now duo.

Jacob Snider is a composer, singer-songwriter, and producer who has had his work featured on BBC and KCRW. He was also named Best New Artist by WXPN, an affiliate of NPR. Before Small Isles, Snider had released two solo records: “Carrier” and “Seven Inventions”.

The Valley, The Mountains, The Sea was released on June 26 through Danger Bird Records, which Fairchild does A&R for. The record is a beautiful tempestuous listen, available wherever you stream music.

Small Isles plans to play select shows in 2021, dates and venues TBA. You can find them on Instagram: @smallislespicturemusic

Credit: @smallislespicturemusic Instagram