Song of the Day: The Radio Dept. – Occupied

photo by Per Vikström

photo by Per Vikström

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unrealeased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Occupied” by The Radio Dept., from their 2016 album, Running Out of Love, on Labrador Records.

The Radio Dept. – Occupied (MP3)
The world can probably never get enough synthy dream-pop, and The Radio Dept. have been fulfilling that need for quite some time. The Swedish duo of Johan Duncanson and Martin Carlberg have been doing their thing since the late-90’s and with their first release, in 2001, of Lesser Matters. In 2016, Sofia Coppola included several of their on her new wave soundtrack for Marie Antoinette, elevating them further by placing them beside their own heroes, 80’s legends like Siouxsie and the Banshees, New Order, Gang of Four and The Cure.

“Occupied” is a standout from their newest record, Running Out of Love. With its Twin Peaks/Angelo Badalamenti synth pads and digitized hi-hats, one can get lost in the hazy sound. This is the kind of music for early mornings post-party. It’s retro in a sense in its ’80s-styled production but feels modern with its patient pacing and then a percussive, rushing climax. The whole record is packed with tracks that lead from the dance floor to the dark ride home and then back to restful sleep – while at the same time it tackles issues on a lyrical level that affect the world today, in Sweden as much as the U.S., as many countries struggle with a rise in “ultra right wing ideology, xenophobia, and outright racism has become increasingly accepted in the political mainstream” (via Noisey). “Occupied is a song that will take place in your hearts and minds, but also energize you to get out and do something about the world.

You’ll hear more from The Radio Dept. when they’re live on the radio – on KEXP, that is – on Wednesday, March 1st, and then get out and seem them at Neumos later that night. Until then, keep up with the duo on their website and Facebook page, and listen to “This Thing Was Bound To Happen”, another song from their politically charged new album:

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