Radiator Hospital returns to Richmond this weekend with infectious & lovely indiejamz

by | Oct 3, 2014 | MUSIC

Songs about heartbreak are nothing new. The struggle of unrequited love has forever been a staple in the tale of human existence, creating a multitude of anthems and ballads to choose from.

Songs about heartbreak are nothing new. The struggle of unrequited love has forever been a staple in the tale of human existence, creating a multitude of anthems and ballads to choose from. But given these enumerable woe-is-me tunes, you’ve got to wonder if enough is enough; maybe it’s time to approach love from a different angle.

Thankfully, there are many bands and artists who are doing that exact thing.

Radiator Hospital, who will be performing on Sunday, October 5 with Sundials, Teen Death, and Postive No, tell complex tales of frayed relationship over catchy bedroom-pop melodies.

The Philadelphia-based group, which consists of Sam Cook-Parrott on guitar and vocals, Cynthia Schemmer on guitar, Jon Rybicki on bass, and Jeff Bolt on drums, got its start 2010 when Parrott was living in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Radiator Hospital are in the midst of a U.S. Fall tour in support of their latest album, Torch Song, released on Salinas Records.

“It’s been awesome,” Parrott said in regards to the tour. “We’re in Oklahoma City right now. It’s one of my favorite places to play.”

Parrott said the response has been positive so far, and fans are starting to sing along to the new songs, given the album has been floating around the internet for some time.

“It’s been going really well,” he said. “People really seem to dig it. We put it online like a while ago, so people have had some time to sit with it for a little while.”

One might say Torch Song is the heartbreak album for the bandcamp generation. It has received acclaim throughout the indie rock community (including a four-star review from none other than Rolling Stone), and after a couple of listens it’s easy to see why.

Each track is packed with attainable melodies that will stay in your head for days. The production, headed up by Kyle Gilbride, whose discography includes the likes of Waxahatchee and Swearin’, balances between lo-fi grit and pop-rock clarity.

While Parrott generally comes in with the songs in their final form to record, he does let Gilbride take the reigns when necessary.

“ I usually have a pretty good idea of how I wanna do things,” he said. “Every now and then I’ll… give him a little more control. It’s pretty collaborative, I would say.”

The characters in Parrot’s songs wrestle with relationships, romantic or otherwise, that have started to wither away for various reasons. Some of the characters are sympathetic and are willing to give the individual in question the benefit of the doubt, while others have no qualms with calling out the party at fault.

“I think any of my friends and anyone I’m writing a song about are sympathetic characters in some ways,” Parrott said. “I can see the side of any sort of story.

Theses narratives aren’t sad so much as they are solemn, painting an accurate portrait of post-adolescent life. The situations are never clear cut, the lines between heartache and apathy painted a shade of gray. When it comes to the angrier songs, Parrott said the anger is directed towards himself more than anything.

“There’s certainly angry songs on the record,” he said. “That’s usually where I’m coming from, an anger against myself.”

Philadelphia is known for its tight-knit music scene, and Parrott has made a home for himself in said community. Torch Song features guest appearances from sisters Katie and Alison Crutchfield, who are known for their work in Waxahatchee and Swearin’, respectively.

Parrott shared a house with the members of both bands for a time in Philly and contributed his musical abilities to their their albums.

“I’ve known [them] for a while,” he said. “We were all moving around the same time, so we got a big house together. We just like each others’ music a lot.”

This will be Radiator Hospital’s second visit to Richmond, their being a house show back in January. Following their tour, Parrott and Allison Crutchfield will join Waxahatchee in support of their upcoming tour and Crutchfield’s solo release Lean In To It.

“Me and Allison are opening for Waxahatchee in November,” he said. “It’s kind of solo [material]. We’re always doing stuff.”

As you may have noticed, we did not provide a location for this show. This is because it is a house show and most people prefer not to give out such information.

But the internet is your friend. Ask around. We’re certain someone will lead you in the right direction.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner




more in music

Deep in the Cut with Hip Hop Henry & Billy Crystal Fingers

In this laid-back interview, I caught up with Richmond party scene vets Hip Hop Henry and Billy Crystal Fingers about their weekly Wednesday night event, Acid's Groove at Get Tight Lounge. They discuss the origins of the name, their love for acid jazz and rare...

Valient Himself Sings Again

Soooo Herbie Abernethy. Valient Himself, Valient Thorr. There are many things one could expect of you. HEMI engine-roaring rock and roll, spitting hot oil and sweat? Sure. Loud guitars fucking louder drums, on festival stages with the gods of American angst?...

VCU to Make West Grace into “Campus Main Street”

To start off, we already knew this was happening The plans have been out there for years, but a recent article from the VCU student paper, The Commonwealth Times, highlighted by Axios yesterday, has brought it back into the conversation this week. Virginia...

Sammy Rae, The Hurricane Party & DJ Harrison: Sound Check

Some legends will be walking the streets, one of the most underrated and exciting vocal talents of her generation will grace a Richmond stage, and the local musicians keep rocking away in the clubs and alleys of our fair city. On this week's SOUND CHECK, EDM...

A Guide to The Perfect Goth Date in Richmond

For those who dare to embrace the darker side of love, writer Lauren Vincelli unveils an array of gothic date spots across the city in time for Valentine's Day. From eerie matinees at Dracula ballets to sultry nights filled with sugar baby shopping sprees and...

Ostraca, Gusher & Ivy Creep: PUNK PRESS RVA

We're back, baby! It's been a little over a month since our last article, and we've been using that downtime to compile a massive list of bands from the Richmond underground. Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and I'm here to offer you a fine assortment of...

Willie Williams Shares the Real Deal on Being a Musician

In this laid-back chat, we caught up with Willie Williams, a seasoned mix of country, pop, Americana, blues and hard rock deeply rooted in Richmond's bustling music scene as a solo musician and with Allman Brothers tribute band Skydog. We dive into the world of...

Pin It on Pinterest