Named after a P.I.L. song, Radio 4 revives the late-'70s/early-'80s post-punk of bands like Gang of Four, Mission of Burma, and P.I.L. by matching scratchy guitar riffs with danceable grooves. The band was formed in 1999 in New York City by bassist Anthony Roman, guitarist Tommy Williams, drummer Greg Collins, percussionist P.J. O'Connor, and keyboardist Gerard Garone, and quickly recorded a three-song EP for New Jersey's Gern Blandsten label.
Their 2000 debut, The New Song and Dance, produced by Tim O'Heir, entered Radio 4 into the ranks of gritty, guitar-driven, N.Y.C. rock & rollers. In early 2001, Radio 4 went back into the studio with O'Heir to record the 12" Dance to the Underground, which included a dance remix of the title track. The remix signaled a new direction for Radio 4, one that would mine their funky riffs and dub-inspired bass lines to create a sound that would merge rock and dance. After cutting demos in a Brooklyn basement studio, Radio 4 went to work on their second album, Gotham!, with the acclaimed production duo DFA, made up of Tim Goldsworthy and James Murphy. The producers' experience with electronic artists such as James Lavelle's U.N.K.L.E. project and David Holmes, as well as bands that mix rock and electronica like the Rapture and Primal Scream, was the final ingredient necessary to realize Radio 4's genre-beating vision. Gotham!, released on Gern Blandsten in 2002, is a brilliant mix of guitars, dub, beats, squeaks, loops, keyboards, and handclaps that evokes the best post-punk dance bands like Gang of Four and gives it a modern boost of energy. The record garnered a great deal of positive press, exposure on MTV2, and expanded their fan base, both at home and in Europe, quite a bit. In 2003 the band landed a deal with Astralwerks and released an EP made up of a newly recorded version of "Dance to the Underground" plus a handful of remixes by acts like Playgroup and the Faint. The band recorded its third album, Stealing of a Nation, with producer Max Heyes in an underground studio in Brooklyn. It was released in September of 2004. ~ Charles Spano