The Radishes

 

Jukebox

Review of "Riot" EP

Fast loud snotty punk rock that reminds us of a cross between The Dickies and The Dead Boys...but with a much more modern overall vibe. This is a short little EP. These five tracks whiz by in about 13 minutes...but in that amount of time the guys in The Radishes make their point loud and clear. The band is comprised of Paul Stinson (vocals, guitar, piano), John Dumont (bass), Jason Fessel (guitar), and Randy Leasure (drums). All five of these tracks are cool hard rockers: "Last Call," "Blood Stains," "Jackals," Gotta Gun," and "Hot." A totally fun upbeat experience. These guys must put on one helluva show...

The Radishes feature Wayne Kramer on a song here. It’s always a good thing to have a member of the MC5 around if you want to consider yourself a true rock and roll band. But The Radishes don’t just rely on Kramer’s cameo chops on this four-song EP. Oh no. The group’s title track is a brawny, ballsy and brazing rock tune that sounds like it came from the streets of New York, namely the same streets The New York Dolls once roamed. On the other hand, The Radishes ramble through the boogie-filled and groovy “Astronaut Love Triangle” which is a slow burning kind of track thanks to the vocals and guitar work of Paul Stinson (no relation to Tommy or Bob that we know of). At four songs, there’s not a lot to get overly excited about, but they make each moment count, whether it’s on the garage-y “Nowhere/Somewhere” or when they make a bold statement and cover the John Lennon tune “I Found Out”. And they do the song justice thankfully by putting their own subtle spin on the great original.
STRYCHNINE EP - The Radishes (Standoffish Productions) Having no knowledge of this band, I stumbled across this EP on the great CD distribution website cdbaby.com. After listening to some killer track samples - and reading that Wayne Kramer, Paul Barker (Ministry) and Rey Washam (Scratch Acid) were involved in the recording - I purchased the EP. After listening to the four tracks, I was sold - this EP is absolutely stunning in every facet. The title track starts the EP with a swift kick to the head. A nice riff is established between original guitarist Scrote and Wayne Kramer. Vocally, it becomes quickly apparent that Paul Stinson stands out with a style that resembles Richard Hell. Stinson, like Mr. Hell, also has a knack for memorable lyrics such as "you got a face like a third world war / you can't remember what your memory is for" or "if they ask you who do you love? / plead the fifth!". Midway in the song, it starts to heat up with an exchange of fuzzed leads between the two guitarists. After the two stop, Washam remains the only active member, laying down a nice drum groove. Softly, Stinson starts to repeat "The streets belong to us..now". The song slowly begins to re - establish volume as does Stinson's whispered mantra then becomes a scream. After an explosive lead off track, the second song "Astronaut Love Triangle" keeps the energy flowing. The song has got a jazzed up / heavy feel to it. Stinson's vocals in itself are tremendous; a classic delivery filled with a convincing sneer and attitude. Both Barker and Washam excel on this track, providing a thick and heavy bottom. Scrote again offers up angular yet distinct guitar lines. As Stinson's vocal introduces the third song "Nowhere / Somewhere", the guitar stutters and the high hat of Washam provides a steady percussion. The guitar of Scrote rushes in, cymbals crash and Barker's bass propels the songs forward. A major highlight of this EP is the final track "I Found Out". The Lennon and Plastic Ono Band song is literally re-claimed by The Radishes for it's own sake. What follows is a thrilling high energy guitar workout conducted by both Mr. Kramer and Scrote. Barker and Washam provide the driving force of the song holding the ensemble together. Stinson's vocal screams add punctuation to the song. At the four and half minute mark of the song, the song starts veering towards "Starship" - Sun Ra territory complete with feedback, distorted jazz guitar solos and backward vocals. The song ends with a member loudly stating that "it doesn't get any fucking better than that, huh!". Yes sir, it does not! Once in a while, a band will release music that will reaffirm, and connect you, to that elusive belief of what makes great art. You know, those classic albums/songs (some of them of our own astute opinion) that hold a cherished place in our music collection. For me, after hearing The Radishes: Strychnine EP it's already occupying that hallowed ground.
If you're going to be in a crazy Stooge-like punk band, you need attitude, noise and a guitarist called Scrote. Do the Radishes? Well, in the words of the incomparable Meatloaf, two out of three aint bad. This 4 track EP has proper metally rock noise and a guitarist whose parents named him in such a way he could only end up on the business end of a growelling guitar. Its the attitude that does seem quite right: they seem just a bit too nice and funny. Maybe that's ok though: this isn't my bag, but I can see some young boys going bad to the Radishes sound. [hey, wait a minute. weren't the darkness nice and funny too? -paul]
The Radishes are a San Francisco/Los Angeles based band with an attacking sound that has been described as Nirvana meets Motorhead. Although musical comparisons are easy to come by, vocalist/guitarist Paul Stinson likens their sound as White Stripes meets the Stooges meets NIN.   Not too shabby.  Toss in the Radishes fiery vocals and their ominous song-writing with loads of pop, punk and metal, and you have an act that could be headlining the big festival stages if they weren’t doing it the small “Do It Yourself” route, in part due to Stinson's self admitted "laziness." Composed of Stinson ( vox, guitar), Scrote (guitar, bass),  Paul Barker  (bass, noise) and Rey Washam (drums), it’s the Radishes’ veteran chops that have enamored the quartet as a worthy voice. Barker was the bass player for Ministry, Revolting Cocks and Lard, while  Washam manned the skins for Ministry, Scratch Acid and Rapeman. Meanwhile The Radishes have enlisted Wayne Kramer of the MC5 on an EP tentatively set for release in Winter, 2007.  With all things looking good on their tour of duty and their recent full length, Good Machine making waves, Glide had a chance to kick the truth around with Stinson. Your sound has been described as Nirvana meets Motorhead.  Why don’t you set the record straight – it’s who meets who? We definitely like the Motorhead reference so let’s keep that.  I can see how my voice gets likened to Kurt, which is great, but our music is a little more along the lines of White Stripes meets The Stooges meets NIN.  Recently someone suggested a little Thin Lizzy too, which I don’t mind at all.  That’s a lot of “meeting” I suppose, but you should never ask the band to describe their sound! Tell us about your new album- Good Machine.  Is there a single style or sound you were going for and was there a central theme or message?  It’s funny because I see that album as almost a transition album, even though it was our first full length release.  We did a prior EP (Sophia) with a different drummer and with me and the engineer trading off on bass and in a lot of ways I think of that as the sort of seminal Radishes sound.  But on Good Machine we had the chance to work with an amazing drummer, Earl Harvin, and I was experimenting with a few other “types” of songs.  For instance, we personally really love the song “Killers & Romans,” and in fact we just made a video for it which should be out any day, but that’s not the type of song that we’re generally associated with.  That kind of song really taps into my Nick Cave and Television and some other influences.   So I would have to say that, for me, Good Machine is partly an album about learning how much we wanted to make really loud, hard, garagey rock music.  And I think the lesson learned is that we tend to be best at that.  The new EP that we just recorded with Paul Barker, Rey Washam and Wayne Kramer will have some more stuff in that direction as well, with a few little quirks thrown in just to keep it interesting and new.  I tend to get bored pretty easily and you’ll probably hear that in the different types of songs that pop up. How did you hook up with Paul Barker and Rey Washam of Ministry? Our bass/guitar player/producer Scrote (yeah, that’s his name) had been playing and recording with Paul and Rey over the past year and a producer that they were working with suggested that they (as a three piece) hook up with Wayne Kramer.  That particular idea never worked out, but subsequently it seemed like a natural fit for Paul and Rey to start playing with The Radishes and after that it was just a short jump to the idea to bring Wayne on board.  Plus, Wayne had heard some Radishes stuff and liked it so . . . . You worked with Wayne Kramer of the MC5 on the Strychnine EP, what words of advice did he provide and how did he develop the Radishes’ sound? Wayne is the consummate professional, an amazing guitar player and a super nice guy to boot.  A funny story about the Strychnine session is that we scheduled it for a weekend in L.A. and everybody cleared their schedules (which, as you can imagine with these guys, were pretty packed) and we all showed up at the studio and recorded not a single note because, in layman’s terms, the board blew up.  Amazingly, we were able to get everybody back the very next weekend, even Wayne, who had to fly to Spain to play a music festival and basically showed up to the session with no sleep and not sure what time zone he was in.  One thing a lot of people don’t know about Wayne is that, apart from being the lead guitar player in the MC5, he’s also a very talented and accomplished player in many other genres, including jazz.  I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum – strictly guitar riffs for dumbies – so having Wayne’s knowledge of scales and modes working with my basic rock riffs turned out to add a great, weird, and strangely complementary component to the songs.  It’s hard to explain, you’ll just have to hear the new EP.  Other than that, the main thing I learned from him is that I really need to get this pedal he was using called The Death Rattle.  Rock n roll. You went the DIY route with Good Machine.  It appears to be the opposite way to go in terms of distribution and PR support.  Are you happy with the decision and why did you decide to go this route? I hesitate to admit this to anyone but one of my main motivations (or lack thereof) is laziness.  Sure we could have toured the country and sold CDs at shows and worked out a deal with a distribution company, but I’m just not quite that on the ball.  And, frankly, I’m not looking for too much out of the music business at this point beyond my own artistic satisfaction and that of the people I work with.  (well, o.k., I also aim to please the audience.)  Not that I don’t want to get our music out there, because I do, and I think people should hear it and when they hear it they’ll love it.  But I’m not too concerned how many people hear about it, or how fast.  I’m more a fan of word of mouth, and I think that, to a certain extent, it’s good if people start talking about you and the buzz starts that way, rather than relying too much on “PR.”   Don’t get me wrong, we do have CD Baby distribution and plenty of digital availability (e.g., iTunes, SNOCAP, Napster, etc.), which at this point in time puts our music in way more places than old-school physical distribution ever would.  Eventually we’ll also probably have normal physical distribution and probably a label (potentially with the new EP) but I haven’t really felt the need or inclination to make that happen through my own efforts.  Did I mention I’m really lazy? What’s been the live performance highlight of 2007 for the Radishes? Definitely the reopening night of the Mabuhay Gardens in San Francisco.  This is a legendary club which was reopened by the original booker Tambre Bryant and we were literally the first band to take the stage at the Mab since it closed back in the 80’s.  It was also memorable for being our first live show with Paul Barker and Rey Washam. What’s next for The Radishes? Wow, lots.  We’ve got the new EP coming out soon, probably in January or so.  We’ve got the video for Killers & Romans very nearly finished and ready to release, and we’re also planning on working on a new video for another song from Good Machine, maybe Hook Me Up.  We’re setting up shows right now for the West Coast and, as always, I’d like to go back into the studio to do some more recording.  Scrote also works with a professional band with a horn section, female backup singers, keyboard, the whole nine yards, and we’re thinking about recording some sort of huge, over the top operatic type thing, Radishes style of course.  But that means I need to start thinking about writing songs again and that usually takes me awhile because of the laziness factor I’ve mentioned several times.  But definitely lots to come from The Radishes.
The Radishes Good Machine Self-Released I've always been a sucker for dirty garage rock with a punk rock twist, the kind of muddy rock 'n' roll that goes perfect with an afternoon beer and a sweaty roll-around. San Francisco/Los Angeles band The Radishes are one such band. They've got the naked heat of The Stooges, the bold vocal techniques of The White Stripes, and the ability to make the more metallic ends of their music sound poppy in a very Nirvana sort of way. For that matter, vocalist Paul Stinson even nails the Kurt Cobain yelp here and there (check out "Never Get Enough"). When this band is firing on all cylinders they're fantastic, but when they slow things down and delve into their softer side ("Wanted To", "Killers & Romans"), they lose a large bit of their punch. Keep the guitars turned up, and the vocals rife with that snarl! Compare this pair of pseudo ballads to the psychobilly charged "Drink With the Dead" and those songs will fall flat on their asses! Perhaps the most impeccably perfect song on Good Machine is "Hook Me Up." From the opening line of I've seen the end of the world/ and I'm not impressed I'm drawn in, and the simple, yet driving drumbeat just pushes me further in. This is a single if ever I heard one!
The Radishes - Good Machine Vivian: Garage rock with real attitude. Awesome thrusting guitars and attitude-full rabble rousing lyrics. Neil: Snotty heavy punk. Dead Boys, Gorilla Biscuits. Good for picking up slutty Jersey girls. Rick: The Radishes are totally radical. Cop Shoot Cop. Michael: Sort of Naked Raygun meets Baldo Rex. Hard hitting but audible everything. Very nice.
The Radishes. They've seen the end of the world and they're not impressed. They also nestled an awesome, hip-shaking fist-banger deep into their recently self-released record Good Machine. Observant readers will recall that Boston trio Pending Disappointment also tried to hide a great song from us by putting it near the end of their record, which we wrote about below. But you guys can't hide the rock from us. Time for some Wikipedia-stylee disambiguation: The Radishes are not Radish, Ben Kweller's '90s grunge vehicle, but rather an amped-up, garagey quartet whose primary songwriter has an eye-catching last name for indie rock fans (although we expect there is no relation between The Radishes' Paul Stinson and The Replacements' Stinson brothers). Those in search of some pedigree in the band need look no further than bassist Paul Barker, whose name astute fans will know from Mr. Barker's work with Ministry and Revolting Cocks. Barker doesn't play on Good Machine, but he and former Ministry/Scratch Acid/Rapeman drummer Rey Washam apparently play on a forthcoming EP. Since we're name-dropping some bygone acts we might as well insert here that The Radishes were the first band to play the legendary San Francisco hardcore venue Mabuhay Gardens when it re-opened in September. But let's focus. We're here to tell you about "Hook Me Up," which blasts out of the gate with straight snare banging and tons of swagger. The magic of this song is that it's stripped to the bare essentials and paced for the dramatic conclusion of a hipster dance-a-thon. The band was cool enough to allow us to offer the track as an MP3. Download "Hook Me Up" now so you can crank it when you crack those first beers tomorrow night. You'll thank us later. The Radishes released Good Machine Oct. 16.
In most performances, sweating creates the antithesis of cool. A sweating stand-up comedian attracts no one because we interpret that sweat as desperation and rightly so. Sweat in rock'n'roll, on the other hand, is not only a positive, it is a staple. It implies intensity and brings a party atmosphere to life. Sweaty rock isn't desperate. It is intimate. On their debut album Good Machine, The Radishes bring the sweat. It oozes out of "Suicide" and into your hips. Their best cuts seem to have been sliced from the rock meat shared by Thin Lizzy and Motorhead, adding a touch of punk spice. Tunes like "Long Day In My Mind" and especially "Hook Me Up" show the band at their strongest because they are together, bobbing their heads in unison and rocking our eardrums' nuts off. They find time for a couple slower numbers, but that's not where their hearts lie ("Wanted To" is the better of the two, and it's only 1:48). Good Machine won't win awards for inventiveness, but I doubt these guys give a damn about that. The Radishes didn't get into this game for anything but the sweat, and until someone invents an award for Achievements in Bad-Assery, sweating is all they need to worry about.
I never pegged myself as a sucker for reminiscing about some bygone era of youthful indiscretions set to a soundtrack so loud that it did permanent hearing damage. Then again, I never figured that the moment I had a child, my life before that moment would become an abstraction only referential as fragmented memories and out-of-body mental snapshots. I hope that doesn't sound too wistful because there's nothing better than being a parent, but on our first "official" family road trip this past week there were a couple of moments when I'd just about gotten my fill of baby-friendly playlists and was ready for a quick mental cleanse of the kind that The Radishes are fond of administering. Y'know, the kind with simple riffs repeated fast and loud, driving bass and drums (provided by the former rhythm section for Ministry!), and acidic vocals that scream alienation, anger, and irony. Alas, when the baby is sleeping in the back seat and your wife has taken the reins of the iPod, you don't always get that instant aural gratification. But when you're home early on a Friday morning and the rest of the family is asleep behind closed doors, you can put on the headphones, turn it up all the way and get a good dose of noise, sweet noise.
Emerging: The Radishes Oct 16, 2007 Okay, so let's put aside the fact immediately that The Radishes are not Radish, the "next big thing" band from almost ten years ago now featuring a young whippersnapper of a lead vocalist/guitarist who goes by the name Ben Kweller. But where Kweller had the kind of buzz worthy of being called "the next Cobain", The Radishes, a rock-as-shit foursome from the San Fran/LA region, have been quick to be labeled with Cobain's band in their influence column in every review we've read of theirs. And they're not far off from that. We do hear some Bleach-esque metering and structure, but that's where it ends. It's certainly more of a sludgey garage rock vibe more so than anything else we can place. Think Fun House-era Stooges or the entire catalog from The Hellacopters. And you already know (if you've read our page before, that is) that we love love love anything having to do with garage rock. Anyways, the boys in The Radishes have not only added a notch in their r'n'r belts by being the first band to play the grand reopening of the fabled Mabuhay Gardens, once the mecca and hub of all San Francisco punk/hardcore and rock altogether, but they've also just completed working in the studio on a new EP with Wayne Kramer of the MC5(!) Yeah, um. Awesome. Godspeed!
Naked Rob (KSCU 103.3FM) 1. Red Fang, Red Fang Tour CD 2. The Radishes, Good Machine CD 3. Totalitar, Vi Ar Eliten CD 4. Midnite Snake, Shaving the Angel CD 5. Skulltime, Skulltime CD
The Radishes' Sophia EP is a cocktail of rock, punk, metal and psych-pop. Paul Stinson and Beth Robie with Scrote give their listeners a fat lip with their title song. "Sophia" opens with a fast, pop rock guitar rhythm and leads into vocals reminiscent of psychedelic rock. Stinson sings of a girl who draws him into her web of seduction. The chorus quickly invades the brain, and listeners will come away singing "Well she had me in her power / And I couldn't resist / She said I'll shake it for you baby / If you shake it like this." The pace slows a bit for "Never Told a Lie." Heavy bass and drum lines set the tone for the angry rock of Stinson's defensive vocals. "Wait a minute it's a trap / I'm not ready to go away / Got a feeling like I feel / When I feel there's nothing to say / What a laugh it's a pity never finished." The third song, of four, on Sophia showcases the punk elements that The Radishes bring to the table with "Lemmy." The guitar is fast and sassy, sprawling into a musical rant between each verse. Stinson's vocals are strained and grimy, harkening back to the early days of punk's aggressively obnoxious sound. "Matter of Fact" brings us back full circle on the album with an emphasis on rock. Grunge and garage is the sound mix for this song as it's very similar to early Nirvana or Stone Temple Pilots. A downbeat bass and drum create dark, raw, moodiness in the music to accentuate the vitriolic vocals spewed forth by Stinson. Sophia is a hard hitting and excellent fix for any punk or rock junkie looking for attitude. The only downside is the EP comes in at just over nine minutes, leaving listeners sure to crave more.
Much like the root of their name, San Francisco rock band The Radishes are raw. A sound and energy similar to The White Stripes, with a bit of Nirvana's raspy ruckus, The Radishes may develop into something tasty. However, their sound needs further growth to distinguish themselves among the lot of rock bands. The catchy hooks and static guitar riffs on the title track "Sophia" stand out as the album's best. Scratchy vocals and raging emotion produce a pungent taste on "Matter of Fact." If they continue to cultivate high energy tunes, The Radishes can become a highly acquired taste.
“If Kurt Cobain lived to become a member of Motorhead, it might prove reminiscent of The Radishes.”