Broadcast Embarks On First Stateside Tour

Sonicnet Music News

Considering the three-year gap between the start of recording of Broadcast's debut full-length, "The Noise Made By People," and its U.S. release in April, the U.K. retro-pop band's current state of affairs could well be labeled a flurry of activity.

The Birmingham, England, outfit recently followed "Noise" with an EP, "Extended Play Two," released just five months after the album. The five-track collection features a studio recording of "Unchanging Window - Chord Simple," a mix of two earlier songs that grew out of the band's live shows, as well as "Drums On Fire," which was previously available only as a promotional record for DJs.

Now Broadcast -- singer Trish Keenan, keyboardist Roj Stevens, bassist James Cargill, guitarist Tim Felton, and drummer Keith York -- is set to embark on a 29-date North American tour, beginning Saturday at a CMJ Music Marathon show at New York's Bowery Ballroom. The group will join Chicago's post-rock

outfit the Sea And Cake halfway through the tour, which stretches on for a full month before wrapping up in Cleveland on November 22.

For Keenan, taking the United States by storm (if an outfit as spaced-out as Broadcast can be said to do such a thing) is a welcome challenge, if not a bit overwhelming.

"You've got to get it right for the Americans, I always think," she said, "because [in the States] there's such a high level of performance and general technique across the whole musical spectrum.

"I'm not intimidated," Keenan continued. "That's the wrong word, because I'm really excited by it. Not that I feel that I have to start getting dance routines going, but as a band you've just got to feel confident."

For fans curious about Broadcast's musical roots, the group has compiled an online "radio mix" on its official site, www.broadcast.uk.net. Including tracks by Ennio Morricone, Joe Meek, and

the United States Of America, the mix highlights influences as disparate as the band's sound is otherworldly. It was recently joined on the site by a second mix, courtesy of Julian House, their graphic designer and sometime DJ.

"Most of the record buying we do is music of the past," Keenan said, explaining the selections. "Whether that's something as far back as '50s, Joe Meek kind of rock and roll, spacey guitar music, like the Tornados, [or] something from the '80s. I'm aware of contemporary bands, but they're not the first thing on my list when I buy records."

When it comes to performance, however, fans familiar with Broadcast's unique brand of noirish, downbeat electro-pop may be in for a bit of a surprise. While the group's recent recordings have a quietly engaging ambience, the show may offer something quite different.

"I wouldn't say it sounds at all like the album," Keenan said. "It's much more dynamic and noisier -- not noisy, but definitely noisier. Things

are exaggerated. You have to exaggerate a little bit for [playing] live, because there's only five of us onstage, and sometimes there's been up to 20 tracks on the album, so you can't really get away with the subtleties live."

While citing respect for what she called Yo La Tengo's "beautifully quiet" performance style, Keenan admitted it's not the sort of tactic Broadcast uses when approaching the stage.

"No, we don't go for quiet. It's not how we wrote the album, in particular -- although it's not minimal," she explained. "There's a lot of [different] parts going on, there's a lot of colors. But when you strip down to the bare essentials, when you're playing it live, you have to bring to life elements that weren't so lively on the recordings. You have to just make the most of what you've got, basically."

Broadcast's shows with the Sea And Cake begin November 9 in Chicago and continue through the final November 22 date, with the exception November 15. Here's the

group's full U.S. itinerary:

  • 10/21 - New York, NY @ CMJ Music Marathon, Bowery Ballroom
  • 10/22 - New York, NY @ CMJ Music Marathon Showcase (badges only)
  • 10/23 - Hoboken, NJ @ Maxwell's
  • 10/24 - Columbus, OH @ Little Brother's
  • 10/26 - Lawrence, KS @ Bottleneck
  • 10/27 - Denton, TX @ Rubber Gloves
  • 10/28 - Austin, TX @ Emo's
  • 10/30 - Albuquerque, NM @ Launch Pad
  • 10/31 - Phoenix, AZ @ Modified
  • 11/1 - Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey
  • 11/2 - Los Angeles, CA @ Fair Do Do
  • 11/3 - San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill
  • 11/4 - Portland, OR @ Berbati's Pan
  • 11/5 - Seattle, WA @ Crocodile Café
  • 11/8 - Minneapolis, MN @ 7th Street Entry
  • 11/9 - Chicago, IL @ Double Door
  • 11/10 - Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick
  • 11/11 - Toronto, ON @ Lee's Palace
  • 11/12 - Montreal, QC @ Cabaret Music Hall
  • 11/13 - Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
  • 11/14 - New York, NY @ Irving Plaza
  • 11/15 - New York, NY @ New York University
  • 11/16 - Philadelphia,

    PA @ Upstage

  • 11/17 - Washington, DC @ Black Cat
  • 11/18 - Carrboro, NC @ Cat's Cradle
  • 11/19 - Atlanta, GA @ Echo Lounge
  • 11/20 - Nashville, TN @ Exit/Inn
  • 11/21 - Louisville, KY @ Headliners' Music Hall
  • 11/22 - Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom