Tuesday, February 1st, 2011
Review of The Radio Dept.’s Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 and giveaway
Aylin Güngör DedeogluReally, I’ve only myself to blame. Upon hearing The Radio Dept. and the deliciously forlorn and fuzz pop of their 2003 debut Lesser Matters, I did what any good music obsessive would do after hearing what would become one of their favourite bands of the century (so far) and scoured the eBay for any and all of their releases. In their case this amounted to a number of singles and EPs which offered a good amount of non-album tracks – most as wonderful as the songs that did make the long-players – to pad out the collection.
So when it was announced that the band would follow their breakout third album, 2010’s Clinging To A Scheme with a double-compilation of rarities, one couldn’t help but hope that meant that a heretofore untapped vault of musical goodness would be let loose onto the world, a sort of reward for the faithful who’d evangelized the band for years until the rest of the world caught on. This, of course, was bunk. Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010 is exactly what the title implies – a collection of the band’s singles over the course of their existence arranged chronologically with a the second disc collecting b-sides and compilation tracks from over that same time period. In other words, mostly everything I’d already bought.
But as I said, that’s my own fault; for everyone else, Passive Aggressive is pretty much essential. There are no deep cuts from their three records, only the singles – and just one song from the sublime second record Pet Grief – so for newcomers to the band using the collection as an introduction, the incentive to buy those studio records remains and for those who’ve already made their acquaintance but not gone all trainspotting on their back catalog, there’s over 20 tracks that are likely to be new to their ears. Pretty much the definition of win-win. And any way you come at it, the set is a testament to just how superb, consistent and unique the band has been over the course of their career, filtering the confluence of synth-pop, shoegaze, and C86 tweeness through a distinctly Swedish melancholy for irresistible results.
So while Passive Aggressive doesn’t provide me hours of new Radio Dept. listening, it does save me the trouble of swapping out all those CDEPs and most importantly, remind me in the most enjoyable way possible what an amazing band they are. And there’s nothing disappointing about that.
Spinner talks to Martin Carlberg about the band’s vault of unreleased songs – which clearly DOES exist – although there’s no plans to mine it for release anytime soon. The band’s North American tour kicks off tonight in Washington DC and hits Toronto on February 7. Tickets for the show are $12.50 in advance but courtesy of The Musebox, I’ve got a grand prize to consisting of a pair of passes to the show and a copy of Passive Aggressive on CD to give away and a second prize of just the CD. To enter, email me at contests AT chromewaves.net with “I want to join The Radio Dept” in the subject line and your full name and mailing address in the body. If you’re in the Toronto area and want to be eligible for the passes and CD, say so and if you’re just a resident of Canada looking for the CD, say that as well. Contest closes at midnight, February 3.
The artist anointed by the BBC as “The Sound of 2010” – Ellie Goulding – will be releasing her debut album Lights Stateside on March 8 and follow it up with dates that include a March 27 stop at The Great Hall in Toronto. Tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.
The Raveonettes have slated a Spring tour in support of their fifth album Raven In The Grave, which according to this interview with Sune Rose Wagner at The San Francisco Examiner is due out on March 22. The itinerary includes an April 2 date at The Phoenix, tickets for which are $20, and there are still plans to release a compilation of b-sides and rarities at some point this year.
Pixies have added a second Doolittle show at Massey Hall for April 19. Tickets $44.50 and $64.50 in advance.
Fleet Foxes have announced their second album Helplessness Blues will be out on May 3 and the title track is available to download.
Vivian Girls’ new record Share The Joy has been given an April 12 release date, just days before they hit The Phoenix with The Black Lips on April 16. Pitchfork has details and the first MP3 is up for grabs.
NPR is streaming Bright Eyes’ new album The People’s Key in advance of its February 15 release and Spinner has got an MP3 available to download in exchange for your email. Bright Eyes plays The Sound Academy on March 13.
Stream: Bright Eyes / The People’s Key
Also streaming at NPR and out February 15 is 12 Desperate Straight Lines, the new album from Telekinesis. They play The Horseshoe on March 6 and Pepper Rabbit appear to have replaced The Love Language as support.