album review::State Radio:Year of the Crow

Chad Stokes’ State Radio is releasing their second record Year of the Crow on their own Ruff Shod Records, using the music to provide commentary on the current political atmosphere. Certainly this record is hypercharged with thoughts on everything from Guantanamo, to government abuse of funds, and moreso just social change in general. Having said all that, my usual reaction to socio-political messages in music is to respond with disdain. There are enough people talking about politics anyway and I listen to music to withdraw from the real world, not to be injected back into it. Of course, maybe my opinions have been forged by the countless times I have seen “indie” shows and had to sit through some lamer in a band preaching the same old canned cliched political rage on stage. Anyway, I realized after the third or fourth time I played this album that Year of the Crow was different, because there are several tunes that I found myself singing along with. The album starts off with sludge guitar and veers off down a road of punk/hardcore, straight forward rock, dub, folk, and a lot more. My favorite track on Year of the Crow is the dynamic sea shanty freedom song “The Story of Benjamin Darling Part 1,” which just seeps with passion. In fact, Stoke’s devotion to his subject matter is apparent throughout Year of the Crow and evidence that he is in full belief in what he is talking about. That in itself, is an extremely rare commodity these days.


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