Radio America is a group of passionate NYC rock stars. Their songs are melting pots, juxtapositions of multiple genres and time periods rolled into a big fried chocolate-jalapeno ice cream smashed in corn flakes and heartily sprinkled with cinnamon and black pepper. Hmmm, curiously complimentary.
Right, it’s late night and I’m meandering a bit. But hungrily. Like Radio America’s music.
They’re heavy, like Queens of the Stone Age, only less controlled and more an adventuresome pack of dogs than the droning dark pit bull QOTSA can be.
Radio America’s rough coordination evokes Modest Mouse’s cousin in a tank top at the local pub.
Leaning toward Glam Rock minus the outrageous styles and theatrics, the band spreads on a healthy dose of the Velvet Underground (think ‘I’m Waiting For the Man) embellished with generous repetitive strafing of Clash-like guitar riffs.
And then there’s the unmistakable Springsteen influence (esp. Grand Avenue).
A Person’s Republic begins with the sound of Lou Reed flirting with The Boss to coordinated guitars topped with a splappy punky edge. Lyrically it’s a blend of gritty blue collar Jersey boy with educated NYC observer.
Dead Man Rock’s rhythm is reggae-Clash. The catchy chorus is showcased by the bonus of searing guitars and a hearty yowl.
Grand Avenue’s groovy lulling guitar intro gives way to a tight, quick instrumental chorus. The deeply infectious melody opens unabashedly to its namesake refrain, a Springsteen revival. Musically engaging with layers of interest and simple but powerful lyrics, the vocals are a compelling duet by Tom and Jesse. Just as the song wanes, the guitars energetically grab onto the body of the song once more and wail until the curt arrival of an emphatic end to the 6 minute epic.
Innocent is fantastically Bowie. Where’s the makeup?
Rock Salt Crush grinds in reminiscent of Lou Reed bending toward Queen’s Freddie Mercury with a chest cold. And then there are the indie scene guitar lines throughout plus the querelous reference to OHenry.
To sum it up, Radio America has a fun, hard sound. Great songs, great writing. And earnest dedication – two of the guys even sport band tattoos over their hearts.
Listen to the tracks (option/click to download):