Report: The Radio Dept. Live in Portland



At the
Doug Fir Lounge on Feb. 13, the Stockholm/Malmo
trio brought the pop. Also on the bill: San Fran’s Young Prisms.


By Tim Hinely

I had not previously heard San Francisco’s Young Prisms but I figured if
they were opening for the Radio Dept then they just might be worth catching and
I was right. The quartet was the basic guitar/bass/drums lineup with a shy
female on vocals and it’s obvious to me that Black Tambourine was a big deal to
at least a few of the folks in this band (as well as Sonic Youth, My Bloody
Valentine and (early) Velocity Girl). At 30 minutes they didn’t wear out their
welcome, on the contrary, this white sheets of rain noise pop was righteous and
I see them going places.


This was The Radio Dept’s 2nd trip to Portland. Their first was
an ill-fated trip in 2003 at a gig that I helped put together where, as leader
Johan Duncanson, stated, “there were 3 paying customers at” (he is exaggerating,
but there weren’t  many more than that).
Touring as a 3 piece it was Duncanson on guitar/vocals, that 6′ 8″
bassist/guitarist with the sleepy eyes who looks like he should be playing
power forward for the Knicks, and a guy on keyboards/samples (the drums were


They played many of the tunes off their terrific
latest record (Clinging to a Scheme)
as well as the recently released 2-disc singles comp (Passive Aggressive).  Hearing
“This Time Around,” “Heaven’s on Fire” and “David” was a pop lover’s wet dream
and while the band is admittedly not the most exciting bunch on stage, it
didn’t matter much as the songs sounded great. I was hoping to hear “Where
Damage Isn’t Already Done” (from their debut) but no such luck. At 11:00 PM they
exited the stage one by one, each to a round of cheers by the sold out crowd
and then came back for one encore and called it a night. This pops stuff, I’ll
tell ya’, the Swedes have a lock on it and tonight was further proof. 


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