The Radio Dept. are an electro/shoegaze band from Stockholm, Sweden.
When one listens to The Radio Dept., they’re taken to an ethereal plane of existence wrought with echo-y guitars over light electronic beats and softly-sung vocals about love and loss. From their first length debut to their 13 EPs and singles to my personal favorite, Pet Grief, a full-length album still seems to be somewhat of a rarity for them. What seems to be even more of a rarity for them is to stray from the aforementioned song formula that they’ve come to develop so comprehensively over the last 8 years. In fact, aside from the occasional light ‘orchestra hits’ on David and Heaven’s On Fire, this was exactly what I anticipated this record to sound like. In fact, I’ll go one further and say that this sounded exactly as I hoped it would.
If you’ve read any of my previous entries, you know that I’ve talked about this record nearly every other week. After an album like Pet Grief, it was going to be a pretty tall order to follow something up as technically perfect. So what did they answer it with? An album of nearly the same caliber in every way. In fact, the only significant difference between Pet Grief and Clinging To A Scheme is the tone of the record. While the former is more of a soft-spoken and slightly sad record that may leave you with a tear in the eye, this album is much more upbeat and makes you want to sing along and bob your head. And while this may have some of their most upbeat songs yet, there are definitely echoes of their ambient/shoegazer roots that come out from time to time. The best examples of this are A Token Of Gratitude and their beautiful closer, You Stopped Making Sense; a slower couple of tracks that best represent what The Radio Dept. have done up to this point. The way the songs effortlessly drift into one another is also something they’ve done well in the past and its no surprise that they were able to do the same with this record. All in all, this met and exceeded every expectation that I had for it and after months of postponements, was more than worth the wait.
An absolutely beautifully written and performed shoegaze masterpiece…10/10
MP3: You Stopped Making Sense
Tobacco is an electro-experimentalist and one of the founding members of Black Moth Super Rainbow.
Before Tobacco‘s debut LP came out in 2008, it was preceded by a DVD in 2007 entitled Fucked Up Friends. That particular DVD contained videos that he pieced together himself of workout videos, b-movie clips and home videos from the 70s, 80s and 90s that coincided with his electro/experimental music and were the same type and in many cases the same videos featured during his live performances with BMSR and as himself. The results were horrifying, hilarious, weird and altogether awesome. He then released his debut album of the same name the next year. It contained most of the songs from that video as well as a handful of others and was a distinct departure from Black Moth Super Rainbow in that it was exclusively focused on his unique, beat-driven experimentalism with only a smattering of vocals now and again. Not only did it set him apart from BMSR, in a way it pioneered a sound that I’ve yet to hear anything like from anyone else.
The sequel to his first video, Fucked Up Friends 2(a tour exclusive that is both a DVD and a Blu-ray), is in all ways equally horrifying, hilarious and altogether weird. Although, I think that this time he really surpassed himself in the weird category. Whether it was the people having sex with an alien that looked exactly like E.T. or the clips from Don’t Go In The House, I have to say that the visuals from this video slightly edged the first one in that department. Plus, the scene with ‘Mark’ explaining how to watch a video with 3D-image technology from the 80s was endlessly entertaining. The songs that were featured during all of this were primarily from his upcoming LP, Maniac Meat… although there were a couple songs from his first album included that apparently didn’t make it in time for his first DVD.
Its probably safe to say that Fucked Up Friends 2 will most likely blow your mind visually and musically, which by my count more than makes it worth your time… 9.0/10
MP3: Sweatmother from Maniac Meat
Side 8 from Fucked Up Friends 1
Hawker Boat from Fucked Up Friends 1