...we've got the means to make amends. I am lost, I'm no guide, but I'm by your side. (Pearl Jam, Leash)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Joshua Radin is rad

Somehow at the music conference in Boulder I found myself babbling to Joshua Radin's manager that if I had the letters "r-a-d" in my last name, I would pronounce it as "rad" because, well, it'd be rad to have that in your actual name.

Joshua Radin (who actually pronounces it "Ray-din") writes quiet, beautiful music that is both lovely and wrenching, and I have found myself listening to it on repeat lately. A recent addition to the world of musicianship, Radin decided to start songwriting at age 29 (only three years ago) after previously being an artist and a screenwriter. He released two independent albums (and EP and a full-length) which he created and recorded in his apartment before Columbia Records took note and signed him recently.

Recommended for fans of the brand of hushed melancholy championed by Elliott Smith, Nick Drake or Sufjan Stevens, Rolling Stone just gave his We Were Here album 4 stars. I think that is pretty dang impressive -- this is a really good collection of songs and Radin offers quite the confidently established live performance for someone who was not a musician for 9/10ths of his life.

This is some sort of melodic crack because lately I cannot get enough of his music. Something about it has an absinthe-like quality -- dreamy, rich, hazy, but with a bit of an edge.

I caught his little set up in Boulder, and these two songs were my favorites of the set. The first, "Closer," was introduced as being written about his ex-girlfriend. Radin said, "I was in a relationship for SIX years. The first two were really good. The last four were not. My friends used to ask me, 'Why didn't you leave after the two good years?' I had to tell them, 'It's because she was a crier. She got FOUR YEARS out of me with those tears.'" Hence the lyrics:

I take the blue ones every time
Walk me down your broken line
All you have to do is cry

"Closer" - Joshua Radin
Live at Reg's Coffee House, 4/24/06

The second song is the one that has been wearing out the repeat button on my stereo. It's a cover of the early '80s synth-laden junior high slowdance favorite "Only You" by Yaz (remember it from Napoleon Dynamite?), which Radin said he chooses to perform because he liked it when he was a kid. However, he completely reinvents it into something that is absolutely beautiful, a flawless little gem of a song that I think I've listened to 15 times today.

"Only You" - Joshua Radin (very highly recommended)
Live at Reg's Coffee House, 4/24/06

Radin is featured on Zach Braff's latest soundtrack endeavor (the two are apparently BFF), following the deafening roar of Braff's success on the Garden State Soundtrack, so I would imagine that this might be a name we will be hearing more about in the months to come.

Definitely check out the Columbia re-release of his album We Were Here (eMusic has the earlier EP First Between 3rd and 4th as well, with a nice Smiths cover on it and fan-favorite/Scrubs-soundtracked "Winter") and go see him on tour if you get a chance.

Heartfelt and truly lovely.


At August 10, 2006 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joshua Radin is, indeed, rad. I've loved his music since "Winter" first came across my tv one day a few years back.

I've only seen him live once, and anxiously await a repeat showing.

At August 11, 2006 2:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Never heard of the guy, but I absolutely love that cover.

At August 11, 2006 6:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent, indeed !

At February 19, 2009 9:29 AM, Blogger zed said...

Great blog Heather. I've tried desperately to listen to Joshua Radin's "Reg's Coffee House" tracks but they don't seem to be available any more :(

Does ANYONE have a copy for me? I love the guy's music and would love to hear the early work. Thanks.


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