Music News

Radio 4

Yeah, yeah, it's another up-from-the-underground rock band that's set its Stargate for 1980. This time, though, the style emulated by the time-traveling combo -- a quintet from Brooklyn led by Anthony Roman -- is the sort of post-punk that mated dance beats with leftist agitprop. Stealing of a Nation, the combo's first recording for Astralwerks after two full-lengths issued on the Gern Blandsten imprint, is filled with vigorous thumpers such as "Shake the Foundation" and "Party Crashers," which call for revolution in anthemic, bumpersticker-ready terms. Naysayers have knocked the boys for the vagueness of their positions, and there's no doubt that ditties such as "The Death of American Radio" would be better if Roman had come up with lyrics more incisive than "Deregulation, it don't sit right." (Clear Channel won't close up shop in the face of that barrage.) Yet the relentless, jittery grooves that rattle through "Shake the Foundation" and "Absolute Affirmation" put the trendy political poses into an enjoyable context. Although Radio 4, supported at the Larimer Lounge by the Swayback and Atlas, may not always broadcast a stirring message, the music comes through loud and clear.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts