State Radio

Author: Janet



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The mixture of indie rock song structures, socially conscious lyrics, and roots reggae rhythms has long been a staple in the jam band world, and State Radio deliver on all counts. A Boston-based trio led by singer and primary songwriter Chad Urmston, formerly of Vermont jamsters Dispatch, State Radio largely manage to avoid the usual post-Phish clich├ęs, injecting a punk-influenced sound and politically charged lyrical viewpoint while staying true to the tenets of their chosen style. The results often sound as much like ska-influenced neo-post-punks Ted Leo & the Pharmacists as they do the Dave Matthews Band, an interesting dynamic that gives State Radio a sense of musical tension often missing from their noodle-dance brethren.

Urmston, who disbanded Dispatch at the height of their popularity in 2002, formed State Radio later the same year. Focusing exclusively on guitar and vocals instead of the instrument switching he was known for in Dispatch, Urmston brought in second guitarist Pete Halby, bassist Chuck Fay, and drummer Mike Greenfield to round out the lineup. After the exploratory debut EP Flag of the Shriners was released by Boston’s Fenway Recordings label in late 2002, State Radio went on a temporary hiatus throughout 2003 as Urmston recovered from throat surgery that left him temporarily unable to sing. Returning to active duty in 2004 as a slimmed-down trio with new drummer Brian Sayers, State Radio followed a second EP, Simmer Kane, with their full-length debut, Us Against the Crown, in February 2006. Another personnel change occurred before State Radio toured in support of the album, with drummer Mike Najarian replacing Sayers. The band’s sophomore effort, Year of the Crow, followed in fall 2007. – Stewart Mason

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