STATE RADIO are set to release their second studio album YEAR OF THE CROW–an amalgam of rock, punk and reggae that’s as distinctive as it is sublime–February 5 on their own Ruff Shod Records.Hailing from Boston, the musically inventive, socially and politically charged trio fronted by Dispatch member CHAD STOKES and rounded out by bassist CHUCK FAY and drummer MAD DOG are currently on a U.S. headlining tour with Australia’s Beautiful Girls. Fans can expect the group to preview songs from YEAR OF THE CROW–the follow-up to 2006’s Us Against The Crown–during the month-long trek.
Produced by Tchad Blake (Peter Gabriel, Pearl Jam, Soul Coughing), YEAR OF THE CROW was recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in Wiltshire, England. The eclectic 13-song disc features the furious blues-thumping anti-Halliburton missive “Gang of Thieves” and the uplifting, trombone-bolstered ska-touched “Barnstorming.” Elsewhere, the frenetic, piercing, punkish, proclamation “Guantanamo” finds a seething STOKES, taking aim at the current administration while looking back on the Bush clan’s sordid history.
YEAR OF THE CROW’s aggressive and progressive musical brew is accompanied by lyrics that prompt listeners to dig deeper. “The ultimate goal of State Radio is to have people consider what I’m saying as they enjoy the music,” STOKES points out. “I’m not looking to alienate anyone, but I hope I can enlighten some people.” Fans have combed Wikipedia about song topics (“Unfortunates”) to educate themselves about cases like the West Memphis Three where justice has clearly faltered. Whether it’s the genocide in Darfur, which is told through the eyes of a young boy on the alluring, rhythmic “Sudan,” or the explosive, edgy, reggae-laden “C.I.A.” it is impossible not to be moved by the sounds emanating from STATE RADIO.
STOKES was first known as the voice behind agit-prop outfit Dispatch, a band that sold a massive 600,000 albums by word of mouth. The group reunited this summer for an epic three-night, sold-out stand at Madison Square Garden in NY, from which the group donated all profits for the plight in Zimbabwe. As background, when he was 18 years old, STOKES lived in Zimbabwe and the experience not only galvanized his songs, but it also shaped his life with a commitment to give back, raise issues and speak on the behalf of others that cannot. STATE RADIO thrives by living and giving as charitable men who play outstanding live shows and have developed a following from the ground up. Unconcerned with major label deals and radio exposure, STOKES is a unique fixture who defies music industry traditions. He’s also proof through his efforts with Dispatch, his forthcoming TV series “How’s Your News?”–created with Matt Stone and Trey Parker of “South Park” fame–as well as STATE RADIO, that a loyal and engaged cult following is arguably the best of all business models.
Catch STATE RADIO on the road in the following U.S. cities:
DATE CITY VENUE
Wed 10/31 Santa Cruz, CA The Attic
Thu 11/1 San Francisco, CA Slim’s
Fri 11/2 West Hollywood, CA House of Blues
Sat 11/3 San Diego, CA Epicenter
Sun 11/4 Phoenix, AZ The Rhythm Room
Tue 11/6 Denver, CO Bluebird Theatre
Wed 11/7 Boulder, CO Fox Theatre & CafÃ©
Fri 11/9 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theater
Sat 11/10 Chicago, IL House of Blues
Sun 11/11 Cleveland, OH Grog Shop
Mon 11/12 Pittsburgh, PA Mr. Small’s
Tue 11/13 Philadelphia, PA First Unitarian Church
Thu 11/15 Philadelphia, PA Theater of Living Arts
Fri 11/16 Boston, MA Orpheum Theater
Sat 11/17 Portland, ME The Station
Fri 11/23 New York, NY Terminal 5