Us Against the Crown by State Radio on Apple Music

16 Songs

EDITORS’ NOTES

Us Against the Crown is the debut full-length from State Radio, a Massachusetts trio fronted by Chad Urmston. He formed the group after the dissolution of Dispatch, a reggae-influenced jam band much beloved on the college circuit. State Radio retains many of the hallmarks that won Dispatch so many fans, including an affection for bubbling bass lines and an unfailingly laid-back demeanor that conjures an endless stretch of summer days well spent. However, on Us Against the Crown Urmston takes pains to distance himself from some of Dispatch’s more marked indulgences. Gone are the lengthy jams and playful mashups of popular hits, replaced by more streamlined songwriting and a more earnest set of lyrical concerns. On “Right Me Up,” Urmston sings of the challenges faced by a wheelchair-bound friend, while “Camilo” presents the internal conflict of a soldier struggling with the decision to go AWOL. For the most part, State Radio’s debut is a remarkably deft modern rock album: a promising debut that builds on the accomplishments of Urmston’s former outfit while firmly fixing its eyes on the future.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Us Against the Crown is the debut full-length from State Radio, a Massachusetts trio fronted by Chad Urmston. He formed the group after the dissolution of Dispatch, a reggae-influenced jam band much beloved on the college circuit. State Radio retains many of the hallmarks that won Dispatch so many fans, including an affection for bubbling bass lines and an unfailingly laid-back demeanor that conjures an endless stretch of summer days well spent. However, on Us Against the Crown Urmston takes pains to distance himself from some of Dispatch’s more marked indulgences. Gone are the lengthy jams and playful mashups of popular hits, replaced by more streamlined songwriting and a more earnest set of lyrical concerns. On “Right Me Up,” Urmston sings of the challenges faced by a wheelchair-bound friend, while “Camilo” presents the internal conflict of a soldier struggling with the decision to go AWOL. For the most part, State Radio’s debut is a remarkably deft modern rock album: a promising debut that builds on the accomplishments of Urmston’s former outfit while firmly fixing its eyes on the future.

TITLE TIME
4:18
4:08
4:50
4:13
4:04
4:50
3:49
3:56
3:29
5:43
2:55
7:24
2:57
4:44
4:17
4:18

About State Radio

The mixture of indie rock songwriting, socially conscious lyrics, and roots reggae rhythms has long been a staple in the jam band world, and State Radio delivers on all counts. A Boston-based trio led by singer and primary songwriter Chad Urmston (a former member of Vermont jamsters Dispatch), State Radio largely managed to avoid the usual post-Phish clichés, injecting a punk-influenced sound and politically charged viewpoint while staying true to the tenets of the band's chosen style.

Urmston, who disbanded Dispatch at the height of its popularity in 2002, formed State Radio later the same year. Focusing exclusively on guitar and vocals instead of the instrument switching he was previously known for, he 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 Shiners was released by Fenway Recordings in late 2002, State Radio went on a temporary hiatus throughout 2003 as Urmston recovered from throat surgery. 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 the release of 2006's Us Against the Crown. Another personnel change occurred before State Radio toured in support of the album, with drummer Mike Najarian replacing Sayers.

The sophomore effort Year of the Crow followed in fall 2007, bringing with it an emphasis on louder guitars and sociopolitical themes. State Radio reinforced such themes by launching service projects in each city the band visited, and Urmston briefly reconvened Dispatch for a three-night charity performance at Madison Square Garden, with funds going toward Zimbabwe relief. State Radio maintained such political awareness on 2009's Let It Go. ~ Stewart Mason

  • ORIGIN
    Boston, MA
  • FORMED
    2002

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