Call them a “power pop” band if you will, Roanoke’s own My Radio has just released their second full length album, Tada IV. It’s full of catchy, melodic hooks, like in the first single, “Allison California,” complete with a video shot partially in Southern California and partially at the Harvester Performance Center concert in Rocky Mount in September, that also served as the official launch party.
Lead singer, principal songwriter, keyboardist and guitarist JP Powell says it took him about a year to craft the songs and put the album together, with plenty of input from the other band members: Brett Winter Lemon, Hunter Johnson, Jeff Hoffman and Jake Zuckerman. “When we go in the studio, Hunter will have a drum idea that changes the direction of the song or there might be a guitar part – there’s a lot of involvement.”
Powell, who co-owns the Lucky and Fortunato restaurants with several of his band members, studied at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston. His involvement with acting at Hollins University and at Mill Mountain Theatre during the annual Overnight Sensations exercise serves him well when shooting My Radio videos.
The group gained some national notoriety about six years ago when its song, “Yeah Yeah Yeah,” wound up on a Demi Moore-David Duchovny movie soundtrack and was also used as a Fox Sports music bed for a time. In the Allison California video, he was shot by Lemon (also a photographer-videographer) on public beaches in Southern California – and wound up walking into the surf fully clothed. “Then I’m thinking… is there something out here ready to take a bite,” he jokes.
The new album “Tada IV,” as in ta-dah, we’re done, is available via digital download and on vinyl only – no CD’s – although listeners can burn those digital tracks to a disc. The tune “Shaleen and Steve McQueen” was written for his wife Shaleen. He’s a McQueen fan but the name was chosen in part because it rhymes with Shaleen – whom he met at Berklee. Besides says Powell, “there’s nothing cooler than Steve McQueen, and I’m comparing my wife to Steve McQueen.”
Labels for the group are tough. “I’ll take it somewhere between indie rock and power pop,” says Powell, “melodic rock and roll. We kind of wear it on our sleeve. I like a lot of the old stuff and the newer stuff.” My Radio plays occasional gigs in Roanoke and was on stage for a set at the Deschutes Street Pub in July.
Powell and his brother found their parent’s Beatles collection when they were kids and the Fab Four influence can be heard in some My Radio tunes. The White Album and Sgt. Pepper were favorites. “That’s my first experience with music. [Also] a lot of Otis Redding and soul.” It’s all evident in Tada IV and some of the group’s other releases.
Those early experiences with music are another reason why Tada IV has been pressed into vinyl, which is making a comeback of sorts as a preferred way to listen to music. “We’re very excited about the record,” says Powell.
See myradioband.com for more on the band..