The Radio Dept.

Dalliance Review of 2011 More

2011 Review Your Attention

Written By Michael Wood Monday, January 9th, 2012

Eight Albums

  1. I Am Very Far - Okkervil River
    The best live band you will see doing Rock n' Roll shows have put out an album that shows the emotional range of one of their performances. Weaving between melancholia and pumped guitar stylings I Am Very Far is a band hitting the targets that it sets for itself, and very high targets those are. Lyrical, intelligent, excellent.
  2. Welcome To Condale - Summer Camp
    Out of the ethereal and onto record it has taken a long time for Summer Camp to emerge after some curious shows and a few hints towards obscurities. What emerges is an album recollecting a time not lived in a place that probably never existed but with a feel that is universal. Songs of heartache and loss are always played out well to a catchy beat.
  3. (I Can't Get No) - Stevie Jackson
    Or, if you will, the guy out of Belle & Sebastian doing his own thing and doing it so very well. The references are sixties pop of course but the immediacy of the guitar driven pop and the cute smartness of the lyrics are surprisingly effective.
  4. Nursing Home - Let's Wrestle
    It is thrashing guitars and sarcastic lyrics but that has never been something that upset me and Nursing Home manages not only to power through its running time in an indecent haste but also includes some laugh out loud funny moments. Superb.
  5. Collapse Into Now - R.E.M.
    Or if you will the end of an era. The last R.E.M. is another addition to the catalogue that adds breadth but lacks the depth of the earlier work of legend. Still a cracking listen and they will be missed.
  6. Obscurities - Stephin Merritt
    A collection of Merritt's offcuts from projects is always going to be a sketchy affair but the great stuff is really great stuff.
  7. Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 - The Radio Dept.
    A singles collection, so perhaps it should not count, but unseen by most this Swedish band have been making a cerebral music that aches with a heartbreak unspeakable.
  8. An Argument with Myself EP - Jens Lekman
    An EP is half an album so Lekman only gets half points for this brilliant collection of songs about friends dying, getting lost in Melbourne and looking for movie stars in Sweden.

Four Tracks

  1. Hanging From A Hit - Okkervil River
    Will Sheff's lyrical masterpiece in two parts is a rock and roll's sexual predatory instinct hitting hard and cruel into a real life. Searing, dazzling, and darkly beautiful.
  2. Walked Out On a Line - Okkervil River
    A band so good they can leave this story of drug fuelled destruction on the shelf as Will Sheff and Co reference the sound of the Beach Boys while creating something utterly new. Key Lyric: In the storm's scream and swirl's/Where I spotted my girl/I was pinning her straight to my side.
  3. Waiting for Kirsten - Jens Lekman
    Lekman's true story of trying to meet Kirsten Dunst in Gothenberg uses the Swedish singer's favourite trick of lulling the listen in with a dry humour and twisting that humour into a thoughtful depression. Key Lyric: But the VIP lines are not to the clubs/But to healthcare, apartments and jobs./"Hey buddy can I borrow five grand?/'Cause my dad's in chemo/And they wanna take him off his plan."
  4. In Dreams Part II - Let's Wrestle
    Mayhem on a record. Key Lyric: In my dreams there were Pokemon beating me up/I punched Pidgeotto right in the face

The Radio Dept. and waking up dreaming More

Future Everything Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

The Answering Machines supporting The Radio Dept. Future Everything at The Deaf Institute, Manchester

The Radio Dept. were to feature in the first Dalliance review five years ago - they cancelled the gig – and have remained elusive since. The proposal of seeing them in one of the North's best venue The Deaf Institute in Manchester seemed to promise more than it could ever deliver.

The Swedes take their blend of fuzzed up guitar, circa-1988 electronic backing and whispered lyrics on the road infrequently but in the last year seemed to up output from the studio with both studio album Clinging to a Scheme and collection Passive Aggressive emerging from Lund.

Before that is Manchester's The Answering Machine who take a risk with their set playing to the main band's fans with collection of song's to match the mood. They are less energetic than previously and will have better nights than this.

Which is not to say that the three guys and a gal do not make a good noise, but they seem ill at ease with what they are doing where as they have looked so comfortable.

Then The Radio Dept. The four piece appear as a three - one reportedly not liking touring at all, causing the cancellation of the last set of Northern English gigs in 2006 - shuffling onto stage to take up guitar, bass and keyboard. There is a duskiness to proceedings as the bright sunlight that bathed their support fades.

Interaction is brief between anticipatory audience and seemingly criminally shy band. Occasionally instructions are passed to the sound man but these come in Swedish, which is apologised for.

A rich catalogue is reduced with little mercy. Domestic Scene starts the gig with a hush and a reverence. Three songs in and The New Improved Hypocrisy has both band and audience in comfort zones.

The fuzz of guitar both hides and reveals. Enveloping the band in a pocket of hissing The Radio Dept. seem to seep into the mind rather than enter the head through the ears. They are a sense more than a sensation, more reaction than a realisation.

In lament 1995 there is a hunt at why the Swedes distance themselves from their audience. It is in the crack of the voice on the line "Although I'm happier now I always go sometimes/back to 1995."

After 1995 there is an ease in the auditorium. Worst Take In Music is applauded from the first mention, Heaven's On Fire is a small scale Livin' On A Prayer. It is easy street for the band now having tentatively exposed a crack from which one could glimpse of their heart, their soul;

As with a dream though that crack is fleeting, and perhaps never happened. Perhaps it was just the mind playing tricks, filling in the gaps of hazy half memory.

They depart the stage not to return. No encore, which unsettled some but seems some how apt. If The Radio Dept. capture the feel of a dream then the sudden end completes that.

The judder back into the world, the sense of remembering something more in emotion.

The idea at the back of your mind that you just cannot bring into focus but that swirl in your head, setting your mood for days to come.

Woe More

Live Review

Written By Michael Wood Sunday, January 28th, 2007

The Radio Dept. at The Cockpit, Leeds

Monday - which is tomorrow - was supposed to be The Radio Dept. at Leeds Cockpit but I guess they had something else to do. From a pension plan point of view this is probably a bad thing - I still by stuff from bands I saw fifteen years ago regards off the quality and TRD could have got on that gravy train and earned a cool £8 every two years - but I'm sure they will cope and frankly I only go to Leeds cause work make me.Oddly enough though in fifteen odd years of going to gigs this is my first cancellation and my first lost booking fee - Thanks Jumbo. I remember after the mid-1990s LA quake a US band failed to turn up for a Duchess of York gig they had planned but I'd only gone to watch the support - Sleeper - so once I had discovered that the band were alive and well I cared not and as I stood at the bar that night a grumpy looking guy sulked up to the bar next to me - it was Dave Gedge of The Wedding Present - and me and he shared a Yorkshire conversation.

DG: [nod]
MW: How do.
DG: Aye.

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