The Radio Department is a dream-pop/shoegaze quartet based out of Lund, Sweden. They were initially conceived in 1995 but didn’t really get started as a true band until 2001.
Over that time frame, the band has been quite busy putting out four studio albums and ten EPs, which spawned fourteen singles. While the group may not be a household name in the US, they have managed to amass a nice underground following, including last week’s sold out show at Gasa Gasa.
Taking the opening slot was New York based Germans, headed by Julia Kwamya. Her vocals meshed well with the programmed beats and live bass by Chris Urriola. From her bio, “Kwamya’s music is both deeply poetic and reflective of the human condition, leaving anyone who stumbles upon it reveling in a celestial glow.” That glow was evident as the audience basked in the sweet and raw emotions Kwamya put forward. The set was short, but it made for a great compliment to the evening’s main event.
Labels are a funny thing and being dubbed a dream-pop/shoegaze band indirectly puts demands on a band that may not be justified. The Radio Department doesn’t really embody any of the preconceived notions of either genres, but as their set moved forward from, “Sloboda Narodu” the opening track of their latest album, to Running Out of Love, some of those ideas did very well seep through.
Their set was heavy on last year’s release, playing seven of the ten tracks from it. The dream-pop elements from the set combined with the shoegaze elements, creating a whole new genre onto itself. That combination with a simplistic yet affective lighting scheme made for a perfect evening. The band left the stage and came back a short bit later to play a two song encore. Johan Duncanson was flattered that the audience kept shouting out requests, but replied that the band lived in different places, so they could only realistically learn only so many songs.
To see more photos, you can check out the full album here.