Welcome to the first installment of "90s Forgotten Indie CanRock Music Reviews", or something along those lines. I've been planning to do something like this for awhile. I have a decent collection of Canadian indie stuff from the 90s that most people have long forgotten, so I thought it might be cool to write about them and put them up to download/steal. If any band comes across this and hates me for putting their album up, sorry, I will remove it. Don't sue me.
Radioblaster was a 3 piece guitar/bass/drum combo from I think Mississauga. Somewhere in Ontario. Dude singing/bass, girl singing/guitar, dude playing drums. They took their band name from a rad old Thrush Hermit song, which at the point of them naming their band, was probably only 1 year old. Like if some new band today called their band “The Suburbs” after that Arcade Fire song. No big deal. Eric’s Trip is named after a Sonic Youth song.
Actually, if you read this highly defensive 1995 newsgroup post from Radioblaster member Derek, he says that’s not where they got the band name from. Come on Derek. It’s 2010. Come out with the truth.
As was typical for the time/genre/Canrock, this album is full of radio-friendly length power-pop songs. They sing about teeny type things, like dyed hair, t-shirts and love. This band sounds so mid-90s, especially the female vocalist. I don’t know what that means, but I can just picture a room with Reality Bites playing on the 4:3 aspect ratio TV, kids dressed like garbage rocking out, thinking about grunge, pondering the Clinton era, thinking about the promising career of up-coming director Kevin Smith and all the great movies he’s going to make (Jersey Girl).
The album does have a “samey” feel, recording-wise. It has that mid-90s sort of boring clean production value going on. Not a lot of variety from song to song. It would be almost a decade until we had Arcade Fire after all. It’s sort of how a lot of stuff sounded back then: Over-compressed guitars, super-clean drums/vox, no glockenspiels, etc. There is one rocker with “megaphone-vox” called “G-Force”. That track also has guest vox by Greig Nori, who you may know from the band Treble Charger, or from that terrible disBand show on Muchmusic because Greig is now a sellout music industry whore. But he’s making a living, so whatevs. It’s Canada after all. Not exactly a lot of options if you want to “be in rock”. Not everyone can be “Arcade Fire” or “Rush”.
Oh and the last track on the album was recorded by The Sadies’ Dallas Good, giving it lasting street cred!
There are a lot of catchy songs on here. Boy/girl vox are one of my favourites, and it’s probably the best thing about this album.
The album art depicts a bunch of Big Muff pedals, as was the pedal-of-choice in those times. It’s still the only distortion pedal I own. The album also made heavy use of all-lowercase words. In fact the band might actually be “radioblaster” and not “Radioblaster”. The previously mentioned “Treble Charger” were actually called “treble charger”. I think Greig phoned Muchmusic and had them make sure their name was always lowercase. This is how he formed his relationship with Much and how he eventually started curating bands like “Stereos”. Fuck you again, Greig. And to think I once thought you were cool.
There are a lot of catchy songs, check out “T-Shirt”, catchy upbeat sad song. I hate describing music. Anyways, not bad. Still pretty listenable. Takes you back to simple times when a 3 piece band could just make sweet pop-rock songs and not need a string section and a glockenspiel player, not need a flange effect on their vox. Just some guitar chords and some sweet lyrics about teen love.
I hope not all my reviews end up with my shitting on Greig Nori. I liked that first Treble Charger album. I mean treble charger.
Listen to T-Shirt:
Radioblaster: "Sugar-shock" - http://rapidshare.com/files/412750357/Radio_Blaster-sugar-shock.zip.html