Swedish antifascists reached the US

After falling for even a couple of days in the American metropolis, you can drown in the variety of music playing on a variety of venues. Broadway, the Metropolitan Opera, Madison Square Garden, jazz and rock clubs, squares and streets – in the evenings the whole city begins to sound like one giant multi-voiced orchestra, in which every “instrument” has its own bright party. “The Soundtrack” went on a long journey and faced a dilemma – under what accompaniment to spend the evening in New York.
Here the music literally goes to your hands: it’s only necessary to go out to Time Square, you are attacked by beginning hip-hop stars, offering to buy their albums. On another square, almost every day you can meet two saxophonists, who all the time surprise with new improvisations, forgetting about the standards (jazz classics can be enjoyed, for example, in the famous Carnegie Hall). During the arrival of “ZD” in the city, The Flaming Lips played – one of the brightest representatives of the neopsychic scene, which are famous for multi-layer arrangements and bizarre “ringing” melodies, soul singer Joan Osborne, known for the hit “One Of Us”, string Kronos Quartet , Familiar to many on the soundtrack to the film “Requiem for a Dream.” However, the choice of “MK” fell on one of the most unusual European indie bands Radio Department.

Manhattan Club Bowery Ballroom buzzed like a big anthill. If in Moscow for such concerts come mainly young people 20-25 years old, in America the public is quite diverse: listen to your favorite band gathered fans from small to large. The guys, having entered the stage, turned it into something similar to the cabin of a space musical ship, which is illuminated by fluorescent lights and filled with unusual sounds. Cold synth parts are combined with restrained guitar and seasoned with dynamic, then, on the contrary, smooth rhythms. Vocal passes through the sound of an elegant, unobtrusive line. Despite the fact that Radio Dept lovers of smooth melodies, their fans manage to dance even under them, catching the energy wave. There is a whole rainbow of sounds and images, and this is the rare case when listeners do not even need a video series – the fantasy itself starts reproducing succulent pictures to music.

Popularity came to the Radio Department, when three of their compositions became the soundtrack for the film “Maria-Antoinette” by Sofia Coppola, but it all started long before that. The team appeared on the musical horizon in 1995 in the Swedish town of Lund. Two school friends – Elin Almered and Johan Duncanson – decided to co-ordinate and called it the same as the gas station, which later turned into a radio workshop, Radioavdelningen (as the name of the collective in Swedish would sound). The composition was constantly changing. Performers came and left the group for ideological reasons, the only leader remained the only Johan, who in 1998 met with Martin Karlberg, eventually became her second permanent participant. A few years later they were joined by bass guitarist Lisa Karlberg, drummer Per Blomgren and keyboardist Daniel Tjader. Where only the performers did not record their opuses – in the apartments of friends, in schools, in basements, equipped under the studio, until they found their place under the sun. At some point, the representatives of one of Sweden’s best indie labels recognized the existence of Radio Dept (so shortly called themselves guys) and gladly took them under their wing.

Today the concept of “indie music” is already blurred: almost all artists fall into this category who ignore the format, experiment with sound and do not sign contracts with large companies in principle, but RD were among the pioneers of the direction. Initially, they were nicknamed the shougez-team. Such a joking definition originating from the English “shoe” (“boot”) was given to those musicians who during the performances looked at themselves under their feet, quietly muttering the lyrics under rather monotonous repetitive melodies. However, Johan and his comrades did not stumble on the spot, constantly refreshed their compositions, introducing something new in them, and got rid of the stigma. In addition, at some point they declared themselves as a “political indie band” and, unlike many foreign colleagues, did not focus solely on sound. Their protest is directed against neo-fascism and any social discrimination (one of the most famous songs is called “Death to Fascism”). However, in the interview the guys have repeatedly admitted: they are well aware that listeners from other countries (since the audience of the group are international) may not understand the meaning of the songs, but it does not make sense to worry about it.

Radio Department arrived in New York as part of their world tour with the album “Running Out Of Love”, released last year. On the cover is a girl in uniform. He became a reaction to all the sad events happening in the world in recent years – military conflicts, terrorist attacks. This is the first record of the band for 6 years and the last, released on the label, with which he spent many years. Artists are not yet guessing with whom they will work further. Yes, and for more than twenty years of history, they have several times changed the vector of the creative movement, so that not by hearsay they know that a new interesting experience awaits behind the new door.


Radio Dept in New York: music from a gas station updated: March 15, 2017 by author: Rollin

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