A while back, not long after I awoke from a creative slumber and re-immersed myself in my passion for music, I identified British Sea Power as the (still existing) band highest on my list of favorites that I hadn't seen live. Of course, right after I conferred that title upon them, I saw them live. (Such are the perks of living in NYC. Everyone comes through here when they tour.) So I had to give the title to someone else: The Radio Dept.
At the time, I figured that it'd be a long while, if not forever, before I had to find yet another band to take the spot. The Radio Dept.'s from Malmo, Sweden, and (so far as I knew) they have not much of a following in the States. Well, either I was wrong or their popularity has grown. Their show a couple of Saturdays ago at The Bell House, which is a decent-sized venue out in Brooklyn, sold out.
The best and perhaps worst part of the night took place during the 15 minutes or so before The Radio Dept. began their set. Whoever was in charge of the intermission playlist got the break off to a wonderful start with a super-catchy song. Kinda like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, but more polished, less fuzzy and with a female lead vocalist. That song was followed by The Embassy's "Some Indulgence," which I recognized right away. (Yet more Swedes!) But the next two songs were a complete mystery again. Sounded like The Smiths reborn as Scandinavians -- gloom with a bounce, if that makes any sense. I wanted dearly to figure out the names of the bands so that I could add them to my collection. Alas, I didn't know which curtains to pull apart to find the Wizard of Oz -- the faceless force with the impeccable taste who was responsible for the soothing sounds. It got to be too much, and I started to wish that the music would just stop, because I couldn't bear to hear another good song whose name would remain an unsolvable mystery to me.
Fortunately, The Radio Dept. took the stage not long afterwards, and they were great. That was a pleasant surprise, because they didn't sound particularly good in the live clips I'd seen on YouTube. But I was a bit disappointed to learn that they don't play with a live drummer or bassist; a Macbook took the place of the rhythm section.
I wonder who takes The Radio Dept.'s place now? Ugh. I think I may have to suck it up and admit that it's Coldplay.