Killradio

Raised On Whipped Cream

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Falling somewhere between politically/culturally strident types like Red Tape and S.T.U.N. and the catchy distraction of L.A.'s vapid Ima Robot is that city's Killradio. Like the former groups, Killradio wave a polemic flag over the Warped Tour mosh pit. Mouth Brandon Jordan rants lines like "Rather die on the cross than for a f*cking Republican" and "Are these teachers in front of me or just your puppets on a string?" over tense guitars and punkish revivalism. But as Robot did on their 2003 debut, Killradio crib blatantly from the past to deliver accessibility in the present. Right, the Clash are a huge influence on Raised On Whipped Cream, providing the roots for the dub roar of "Classroom Blues," not to mention lines like the title track's "What you gonna do when they come knocking on your door?" But Jordan and his crew's anti-everything agenda -- they rail variously against government, advertising, drug use, corporate radio, and aggressive military policy -- drops them into a no man's land. The aggressive "Scavenger" is catchier than Rancid's "Ruby SoHo," "Freedom?" gives the current crop of new wave/dance-punk assemblists a run for their money, and first single "Do You Know (Knife in Your Back)" amplifies and punks up the '90s Brit rock sound. But how do we take these songs? How do we perceive a band that proclaims the fatuous decadence of modern radio over a song built from the ground up to compete confidently on it? Maybe it's a matter of changing the system from within, but from its sloganeering lyrics to its catchy tunes, the platform this Whipped Cream is propped on seems a little thin. As politics and culture continue their 21st century transformation into...well, something different than they once were, the protest music probably needs to change, too. Screaming at us to wake up or fight back over revivalist yet eminently accessible riffs has become a brand itself.

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