Posted in music | pictures on May 20, 2009

words & photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Freddie and the Trojan Horse (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - The Worst Taste in Music (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - A Window (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Pulling Our Weight (MP3)
DOWNLOAD: The Radio Dept - Why Won’t You Talk About It? (MP3)

The Radio Dept.
The Radio Dept.

"The Friday night show at Don Hill's was advertised as a "warm-up show" but it was hardly a dry run. [The Radio Dept.'s] eight-song set ran over half an hour - a full showcase at some festivals - and even though they had no drummer, no bassist and played over a significant amount of pre-recorded backing tracks - usually things that'd put me right off - they still grabbed the heartstrings. It's the songs. It didn't matter how they did it, but they came off with all the beautiful melancholy the records carried without sounding like a karaoke act. Favouring the cleaner sonic aesthetic of their more recent works, both Martin Carlberg and Johan Duncanson reproduced their surprisingly intricate guitar parts flawlessly, Carlberg's vocals were resonant with yearning and resignation and the feeling of being wrapped in a fuzzy blanket of sound very much in effect. True, their onstage charisma was nearly non-existent - they seemed awkward and uncertain how to respond to the enthusiasm of the audience - but even that fit perfectly with their persona." [Chromewaves]
Day Two of NYC Popfest (Friday, May 15, 2009) moved from local and stateside bands to The Scandavian countries. Sweden's The Radio Dept. (in a warm-up to their headlining show the next day) and Lichtenstein both performed ahead of the excellent Cats On Fire. Cats' lead-singer, Mattias Björkas, looks like David Bowie, sounds eerily like Morrissey and coyingly moves and postures like Rhett Miller. Their set at Don Hill's put everyone in a proper mood for the Mondo indie dance party that followed. Early on, local-boy Don Lennon and L.A.'s The Tartans also performed.

Cats on Fire and Lichtenstein shared a bill again, last night (5/19) at Bruar Falls in Brooklyn. More pictures and videos from the Don Hill's show below...

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Don Lennon

Don Lennon

Don Lennon

Don Lennon

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Tartans

The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

The Radio Dept.

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Cats on Fire

Videos...

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Day One is HERE

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Comments (18)

what about the cake shop show?!

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 10:54 AM

These photos are amazing! A+ job, Dominick!

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 11:56 AM

look his mom comments

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 12:04 PM

Cats on Fire sound exactly like their name implies.

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 12:16 PM

Cats on Fire were Ridiculous! My new fave band.

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 12:24 PM

Cats on Fire sound like someone doing really awful, purposefully sarcastic karaoke to The Smiths, while prancing around the stage like a drunken Morrissey.

In other words...this is how I spend my Friday nights. Where's my record deal?

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 12:28 PM

Yeah, did you go to the Cakeshop too? Any photos from the danceparty after? I'd love to see more. Total blast.

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 12:32 PM

Also: I don't get the hype about Radio Dept.... they were fine, but seemed to be by far the biggest draw of the weekend even though I thought at least 50% of the other bands were more interesting.

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 12:34 PM

12:28 u should start a myspace and do some shows.

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 12:40 PM

"Also: I don't get the hype about Radio Dept.... they were fine, but seemed to be by far the biggest draw of the weekend even though I thought at least 50% of the other bands were more interesting."

It's because they have great, old songs that lots of old school indie heads love, but they never played here live before. Kind of a legendary thing.

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 12:53 PM

12:32 i did go to cake shop
missed the dance party though, i had to go to work in the morning... :/
cake shop was a blast though
and they should have pics up

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 1:02 PM

Radio Dept played here (NYC) years ago. I think it was in 2004 or something. They were great then, too. They are not exactly what I would call old school, but they have a lot of really great songs. I highly recommend Lesser Matters:

://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00022LTKQ.jpg

Heavy rotation for me, still!

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 2:00 PM

The Radio Dept. have never played a show in NYC.
They played 3 shows in the northwest and that's it.

Not sure which band you're thinking of.. but it wasn't Radio Dept.

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 2:54 PM

"Sex on Fire" by Kings of Leon >>>>>> anything by Cats on Fire

Posted by TEH KITTEHZ | May 20, 2009 3:32 PM

hahahaha
what a dolt

Posted by Anonymous | May 20, 2009 3:58 PM

Radio Dept did play NYC in the early 2000s--I know this because they stayed with my friends in Greenpoint. They had a woman in the band at the time, but they were already calling themselves Radio Dept. and touting Lesser Matters. Might not be big on the internets, but it's true. Brooklyn Vegan makes reference to the 2003 show. Wish I had my pictures from the show off hand. But they have played here before, folks. Pop is not a new phenomenon. Sweden is filled with awesome bands and they appreciate the best US-based bands, too. Look at their love of My Favorite (the precursor to The Secret History), should you need evidence. They filled huge venues when they toured over there, but were underappreciated in the US.

Posted by Anonymous | May 22, 2009 1:03 PM

i guess the Radio Dept were lying to me when I asked them if they've ever played NYC before.

Posted by Anonymous | May 26, 2009 2:03 PM

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