FacebookFor the longest time, conventional wisdom about The Radio Dept. said the Swedish three-piece hated to play live, preferring to record, throw out and re-record albums of gorgeously forlorn synth-pop in the safety and comfort of their studio. As such, I undertook a pilgrimage of sorts to New York two Summers ago to see them play what I assumed would be an incredibly rare show.
Even when their long-awaited third album Clinging To A Scheme broke them open to a much larger audience (relative statement but still) following its release last Spring, they seemed to be unwilling to capitalize on the interest, playing only some Asian and European dates in the Spring and another couple of New York shows late in the year. I seriously considered getting on a plane again but was tipped off that 2011 would be year that The Radio Dept became intimately acquainted with North America and indeed, they spent the first half of February traversing the continent and making their Toronto debut in front of a completely sold-out Lee’s Palace.
And then, against all expectations, they came back, playing The Horseshoe in late May. I missed that one on account of being in Europe but I’d like to think that the show was well-attended, perhaps with all the people who couldn’t get into the Lee’s show. Either way, it must have been at least full enough to justify a third go-around because that’s what we’re getting – a third Radio Dept. show in nine months, this one on November 17 at The Mod Club. It’s part of their largest North American tour yet, and if you need an reason beyond “why not”, then how about that first show was to promote Clinging, the second the Passive Aggressive compilation and this one… their vinyl reissues? I hope so, because Pet Grief has been sorely underrepresented in the shows I’ve seen… In any case – even though I won’t assume they’re any more dynamic a live act than in the past, I still highly recommend seeing them because the songs are still sublime and – wealth of recent appearances notwithstanding – who knows when they’ll be back?
The band are offering a recording of their set at Sasquatch this past May – including a new, untitled song – for free download.
MP3: The Radio Dept – “untitled new song” (live at Sasquatch 2011)
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Why Won’t You Talk About It?”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “The Worst Taste In Music”
MP3: The Radio Dept. – “Heaven’s On Fire”
Also filling out the November concert calendar a bit – mysterious British rockers WU LYF, whose name is an acronym for World Unite! Lucifer Youth Foundation and not meant to be shouted, have made a date at The Horseshoe for November 12 as part of a Fall tour in support of their debut Go Tell Fire To The Mountain. Spinner has an interview with the band.
MP3: WU LYF – “Summas Bliss”
And The Boxer Rebellion, who were here back in April, will graduate to The Opera House for their November 19 show in support of The Cold Still as well as their just-released live set Live In Tennessee.
MP3: The Boxer Rebellion – “No Harm”
Listen Before You Buy is streaming two sides of a new Frightened Rabbit tour EP, the tour in question being the one that brings them to the Molson Amphitheatre tonight.
Wild Beasts have a new video from their latest Smother. They play The Mod Club on September 29.
Video: Wild Beasts – “Bed Of Nails”
Black Book talks to James Blake, in town for a show at The Phoenix on September 30.
The first video from Ladytron’s new record Gravity The Seducer has been released. The album is out September 13 and they play The Phoenix on October 5.
Video: Ladytron – “White Elephant”
Drowned In Sound has a sit-down with Sons & Daughters drummer David Gow about their new record Mirror Mirror.
There’s a new live in-studio performance video available from Patrick Wolf, showcasing one of the numbers from Lupercalia.
Video: Patrick Wolf – “Time Of My Life” (Live at The Pool Studios, 2011)
The National Post gets to know Anna Calvi.
I’m finally discovering the works of Hefner, though it’s about a decade too late to do anything with it in real time… but Artrocker reports that ex-frontman Darren Hayman has a new solo record entitled The Ship’s Piano out come October 11. Those who’ve followed his career through all its guises – is his solo stuff as good as Hefner? Not that I’ll have waded through all of Hefner’s back catalog anytime soon, but for reference.
Video: Hefner – “Good Fruit”
NME reports that Manic Street Preachers will mark their 21st anniversary with the release of the National Treasures singles compilation in October. It will supplant 2002′s Forever Delayed as the go-to compilation, not unreasonably since they’ve release four albums since then and the new comp will also include a new single.
Also coming in October – the 3rd to be exact – is a ridiculous Smiths box set entitled The Smiths Complete. On the plus side, it contains all the band’s official albums and compilations on CD and 180g LP, 25 7″s, a DVD, tonnes of posters and art, the whole thing has been remastered by Johnny Marr and it’s limited to an edition of 3000 so in owning it, you can impress the people on the internet who are impressed by this sort of thing. On the down side, its got nothing fans haven’t already bought several times over and in purchasing it, you continue to subsidize this nutjob. So yeah, your call. Details on the set at Pitchfork.