Why Radium Moon’s New Album is my 2020 Soundtrack (This Week)
The new album Radium Moon by the band of the same name is my soundtrack for 2020 at the moment, and here’s why I think it’s worth giving it a listen, and why it’s worth keeping an eye on Radium Moon.
This is hands-down one of the most uncertain times I’ve lived through in my 37 years on planet Earth. The world has been in the grip of a highly contagious pandemic virus for months and we were all just getting used to life without other people when The Pentagon decided to officially announce that UFOs were real and we don’t know what they are. Before we could even get our heads half-way around that news, we all had to take a second to remind each other that drinking bleach is dumb.
I started to think about a lot of things during this lock-down. How we relate to each other. How vulnerable we are as we hurl through the Galaxy on a rock with each other, with a failing ecosystem holding back the cold nothingness of space. How the vastness of space is virtually endless. You know, stuff.
Then, in recent weeks we’ve seen a movement to call-out police brutality, and the reckless disregard for Black and Indigenous human lives by the system we’re all a part of.
Images and stories of police brutality became even more confusing, upsetting and infuriating.
Black Lives Matter protests are incredibly important. Ultimately the message they are trying to get across is: We should not be scared of life, we should not be scared of our fellow humans in places of authority, and right now – we are, because of all the stuff they do and say.
Yesterday these peaceful protests were seen throughout the world. Giving me a little hope for the human race.
Radium Moon’s music is successful because it’s raw emotion. It comes from a place of vulnerability – one that we’ve all felt. It’s universal and it’s the most political and fundamental topic we should all be talking about more openly. What it means to be human.
I met Brandon from Radium Moon when he called me out on needing a SOCAN license for Dropout Radio (on the Internet), thankfully by then we did – well I had talked to Jeff at SOCAN and he’d emailed me some forms that I hadn’t looked at. I’ve since looked at them though and sent them back, so Dropout Radio is officially licensed to play whatever the hell we want.
We could put on Bryan Adams on there. We won’t, but we could.
If you listen now, and long enough, you’re going to hear some Radium Moon – specifically their first single Life is Lie, off their new self-titled album Radium Moon. I’ve had the pleasure to delve into the whole thing a few times now and I’m digging it for sure, I want to break it down for you song by song – after I tell you a bit about the band.
Brandon Muir is sincere, watching out for the little guy and he doesn’t hesitate to get cocky. I liked him immediately and asked to hear his music. It was good, very good – thank god. His partner Sandrine Chouinard is one-third of the band and responsible for bass and vocals. Finally, there’s Raphael Poletti on drums, who’s well, talented, and just plain charming.
While I was listening to Radium Moon’s new album, I realized most of us have been scared to one degree or another our whole lives to even ask the question, “what are we even doing here?”
Life a Lie – Have you ever sat back and looked at yourself in the mirror and for a moment you saw a stranger that looked exactly like you staring back? I’m sure you’ve sat back and wondered for a few minutes at least, what is this place? Why are we here? This song is the theme song for feeling like that – at least for me. Brandon has a way with lyrics and he gets across a lot with a few very strong, almost gut-wrenchingly thought-provoking statements.
I heard the argument lately that music doesn’t speak out against anything anymore. I think that’s true. In the case of Life is a Lie I think it speaks to something we all feel, whether it be frustration, fear, or anger the song is powerful as f— because it ultimately reminds us that we truly have no idea what’s going on in the universe around us.
Wonderful – Sandrine’s vocals are killer in this song – she’s got a Biff Naked / Mia Zapata vibe and I’d generally like to hear more of her vocal work on future albums. It would be great to see Radium Moon write some duet tracks a-la July Talk. One can hope for things.
This tune also has some harder instrumentals in it – a little still in the grunge territory we’re getting little bits of industrial metal here which I dig. Compliments the lyrics and vocals perfectly. Hat tip to the lyrics on Wonderful too. Good one guys. Here’s to some earl gray – love this.
I’m also going to say I’m obsessed with the grunge sounds of Radium Moon at this point as much as I am with the lyrics. I don’t think I would go as far as to call them a grunge band but there’s a lot of grunge sounds in both these songs so far with a hint more of rebellion and less nihilism. The fact is, anything is possible at this point and we all need to wake up and see the world in a new way. It’s 2020 after all and the Murder Hornets are massing.
Stand Up and Run – This is my favorite track through and through on this album and I think it speaks clearly to how confused so many of us feel about the state of the world right now. About life itself maybe. The best part of this song is that rebellious tone – more upbeat. Stand up and Run has an alt punk-rock at the beach sound. I didn’t have a chance to ask Radium Moon if we are ultimately running toward a fight or away from Satan, but it would probably depend on the circumstances.
The last song on the album, Don’t Ask Why starts in the post-rock way of a Mogwai song, it’s just a little complicated and really beautiful – I sort of hoped it would go on for the whole song. That’s not the album or the band though – and I’m by no means complaining. The song is beautiful, well thought out, and speaks to deeper insecurity that runs through the album, and probably all of us. Brandon’s voice lends itself particularly well to this track. I don’t know if this is meant to be a particularly political track, but the sentiment of ‘Don’t ask why’ as a staple sentiment of the human condition. It’s not that we don’t want the answer, it’s that the person with the answer can’t stomach to give it to us.
One of the best parts about the Radium Moon album is the journey it takes you on. It’s the same band for sure but they explore genre barriers pretty regularly. Immediately in this next track for instance I’m taken on a brief journey to the world of post-rock, with a comfortable and truly interesting structure that brought the song in-line with the rest of the album. So, I guess I’m liking it.
Radium Moon has a broad lens through which they look to see the world, I believe it’s one of pragmatic empathy. This is one of the bands that will fuel a different kind of conversation in people, one that looks at a bigger picture of life and what it might mean, or at least what it means to us. The more we can understand each other the more easily we can all live together. Let’s talk about being scared, let’s talk about being angry, but above all let’s remember to not just talk but also to keep listening.
Let’s get right down to it, let’s talk about life. You start.