Song of the Day: The Faint – Mental Radio

photo by Bill Sitzmann

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Mental Radio” by The Faint from the 2014 album Doom Abuse on SQE Music.

The Faint – Mental Radio (MP3)

Hailing from Omaha, Nebraska, The Faint emerged in the early 2000s as both a key group on the Saddle Creek Records roster and an early figure in the then-burgeoning dance punk movement. Although the output of vocalist Todd Fink, keyboardist Jacob Thiele, drummer Clark Baechle, and bassist Joel Peterson was initially more stylistically indebted to post-hardcore, the group reconfigured their sound to a more hard-edged new wave style, which quickly evolved to incorporate dance elements by 2001’s Danse Macabre (which marked the addition of guitarist Dapose). As their label released some of the key albums of early 2000s indie rock, the band’s profile rose with their reputation for putting on intense, sweaty live shows. However, by 2008 the group had become burned out, and took a four-year break to work on other projects before returning (sans Petersen) in 2012 to play a tour featuring Danse Macabre in its entirety and record a new album, which eventually manifested itself as 2014’s Doom Abuse. Opening with a Seventeen Seconds-era Cure riff, “Mental Radio” quickly builds from something mechanically skeletal into something more pulsating and chaotic. The song never breaks out into a full-on maelstrom, opting to keep pushing through as an appealingly slightly-disjointed post-punk charger that moves slices through Fink’s barked-out lyrics. “Mental Radio” is somewhat less dance-based than the band’s output was before their break, but its frenetic pace suits the newly-revitalized group well, showing that even after a tour where they reminded audiences that they can pull off 90 minutes of four-on-the-floor dancefloor burners, they can still effortlessly run through a relatively straightforward rock tune too.

We are excited to announce that The Faint will perform during KEXP’s live broadcast on Hood to Hood Day 2014, May 30th, at Hilliard’s Brewery in Ballard. They’ll also perform that night at the Neptune Theatre. Get tickets for that all ages show here, keep up with the band on their website and Facebook, and watch the video for the Doom Abuse track “Help In The Head” below.

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