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A Radio With Guts - Beat Heart Sweet Stereo (Cover Artwork)

A Radio With Guts

A Radio With Guts: Beat Heart Sweet StereoBeat Heart Sweet Stereo (2002)
Knock Knock Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: TheTommunistThe Tommunist
(others by this writer | submit your own)

There once was a band out of Ashland, Kentucky by the name of Connie Dungs. They put out some records, each different from the last. They matured through their musical catalogue and recorded an album by the name of Eternal Bad Luck Charm, then broke up. For a while nothing much happened. Then the le.
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There once was a band out of Ashland, Kentucky by the name of Connie Dungs. They put out some records, each different from the last. They matured through their musical catalogue and recorded an album by the name of Eternal Bad Luck Charm, then broke up. For a while nothing much happened. Then the lead Dung, Brandon Tussey started a band that was the logical progression from E.B.L.C. That band was A Radio With Guts. After releasing an "acoustic but not really acoustic" album, former Connie Dungs members Wayne and Chris joined in on the fun and recorded Beat Heart Sweet Stereo. The result is an emotional roller coaster that leans on the pop punk styling of Connie Dungs, but also adds a harsher, darker element.

Kicking things off is "Tragic Music", which sets the tone for the majority of the record. Its mid-tempo, its simple, and it rocks. Underlying the poppy rhythm is a darker feel that was lacking from previous incarnations of the band. The music is striped down yet emotional, but not in that cool way that seems to be popular nowadays. Though most of the time basic, the best instance of guitar playing comes during the end of "Kentucky Straight Razor", where the guitar belts out a nice solo that has an almost uplifting sound to offer some hope reaching out of the darkness of the rest of the song. Of particular note are the drums. They keep the beat going but do some interesting things here and there. The intro to "Werewolf Weather" is a good example.

The lyrics for the most part relay a sense of desperation. Brandon's words portray a man whose heart has been shattered and now he just doesn't care about anything anymore. The songs are all messages about his pain. Most songs find the broken hearted man reaching for booze and smokes, and maybe a razor blade every once in a while. There are plenty of allusions to hurting oneself, and this adds to the dark tone of the album. Brandon croons his words using his raspy (almost too raspy) voice that doesn't sit well with some people. I for one think it worked well for Connie Dungs and works even better for A Radio With Guts. Occasionally he screeches, like in the song "Kentucky Straight Razor", and it fucking rocks.

Apparently there are two versions of this album, one American, one European. Each has an exclusive song. I have not heard the European exclusive, but I have heard that it fits the overall tone of the album. What we have over on this side of the ocean is a song that doesn't work well with the theme of heartbreak and desperation. The song is "Hey Boss", and is simply Brandon singing an ode to how much he hates his boss. The song reminds me of a bunch of kids playing in the garage singing about how working sucks. You know what I'm talking about; we all did it at one point or another. The exception here is the violent imagery Brandon uses to truly tell his boss "Hey Boss, I hate you".

In any case, A Radio With Guts' first full length as a complete band picks up where Eternal Bad Luck Charm left off. Its poppy yet dark, simple yet thematically whole, desperate but still kicking. Every track is a gem, with the exception of the ill-fitting "Hey Boss". But just between you and me, "Kentucky Straight Razor" is hands down the best song on the album. If you liked Connie Dungs, or if you just like real emotion with your pop punk, then check this album out.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Dimmu Borgir - Enthrone Darkness TriumphantThe Unlovables - HeartsickleGreen Day - InsomniacThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Flaming Lips - The Soft BulletinGreen Day - DookieThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldTeenage Bottlerocket - Warning DeviceLemuria - The First CollectionStiff Little Fingers - Inflammable Material

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (March 9, 2006)

So when's this hypothetical new album out? Is it out yet? I can't wait.

Anonymous (February 9, 2006)

heart the connie dungs

Anonymous (October 15, 2005)

you will be so surprised when you hear the new album... prepare to be amazed and astounded. i just happen to be lucky enough to have heard the new stuff, and in my personal opinion it is probably some of the best rock music i've heard ANYWHERE for a long, long time.... get ready to explode....

punkster73 (January 29, 2005)

The best album in the entire history of earth, beside their acoustic of course! Brandon come to NJ and play and put out the 3rd album goddammit!

brandontussey (November 4, 2004)

brandon tussey here... i was in the connie dungs and am now in a radio with guts... just couldn't help but correct the error in the previous comment... we recorded "driving on neptune" in 1997... the album was released in 1998... blink 182's "all the small things" was on their "enema of the state" album that was released in 1999... it's an unescapable fact that when you are playing simple pop-punk songs that some of your riffs are going to sound similar... but to avoid being accused of "ripping off" blink 182, i must say, we recorded our song first... so there!

Anonymous (October 7, 2004)

great record.

funny side note: on "driving on neptune" one of the connie dungs records, there is a song that sounds exactly like all the small things by blink 182. i think they were actually recorded around the same time, and both records definately came out around the same time but i always found that funny

Anonymous (October 7, 2004)

"Uhmmm....perhaps the Lawrence Arms should give Brandon the sound back, considering that the Dungs existed around '94 or so, and the Lawrence Arms didn't start 'til '99. Yeah. "

I'm sure both bands owe their sound to a lil band called jawbreaker...

Anonymous (October 7, 2004)

Uhmmm....perhaps the Lawrence Arms should give Brandon the sound back, considering that the Dungs existed around '94 or so, and the Lawrence Arms didn't start 'til '99. Yeah.

That said, this is one of my favorite albums ever. It is what the Connie Dungs always should have been. This album is just fucking great. Pick it up, pronto.

boldredletters (October 7, 2004)

the guys old band had a record out on plan-it-x. i wonder if they are still into the whole diy thing.

SOYBOMB (October 6, 2004)

Holy shit.

The Lawrence Arms called and they want their sound back.

Peace,
-SOYBOMB-

Anonymous (October 6, 2004)

This is a great album. Anyone know when the new one is coming out? I can't wait to get it.

hubitcherkokov (October 6, 2004)

Oh yeah, and like Hot Water Music, they based their name off of a Charles Bukowski poem.

hubitcherkokov (October 5, 2004)

Hahaha I have wanted to write a review for this for a little while. You did a great job reviewing it. "Hey Boss" definitely doesn't really mesh well with the rest of the album. Don't get me wrong, its a great song, but it just doesn't fit really well, at least not lyrically. Brandon is a really great lyricist and you can tell he's definitely a fan of Blake Schwarzenbach's bands. If you're a fan of The Lawrence Arms or The Alkaline Trio I think you'll really like this band. Its really reminiscent of their earlier recordings lyrically and production-wise. The acoustic EP is pretty good, too. Again, nice review!

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

the song "math & the mocking moon" sounds like the larry arms meets alkaline trio.

i like.

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

Why does the album art remind me of Reel Big Fish?

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

I got scoliosis just for you....

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

The mp3's on their label's website are pretty decent. Reminds me a lot of the Larry Arms, in a good way.

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