New Products, Dec 2015

Tiger Shower Caps' Ralf Schaarschmidt keeps on keeping on with highly capable mid-tempo rhythm section. Excellent post-punk entry recorded by Daniel Wichter. We've got but a few on hand as this was a collaborative effort between ourselves and a handful of European labels. Hot ticket item here in the states. 



Sicilian quartet gets progressively crazy. Whose rabbit hole this resides in is anybody's guess. Torpos be torpos. Still love them. We've got but a few on hand as this, too, was a collaborative effort between what had to have been at least 1500 European labels. An exaggeration, perhaps. 

Both items come in at a reasonable $12.00US ea. Visit the RID store for these and a variety of other outdated stocking stuffers. Ho, ho, heyo!

    Written by Matt Lebens — December 13, 2015

    Awoken Via Buzz Rodeo!

    Big thanks to good friend and perpetual post-punk enthusiast Ralf Schaarschmidt. His steady persistence is largely responsible for this label's continued existence. Cheers to you, Ralf. Your love of this label is truly inspiring.  

    I'm especially pleased to announce our remote involvement in the promotion of Ralf's latest noise project...

    Buzz Rodeo 

    Ralf Schaarschmidt - treble guitar, voice
    Gernot Schad - bass guitar
    Helge Gumpert - drum set

    Buzz Rodeo represent the latest project by music super fanatic and all around good guy, Ralf Schaarschmidt. The Stuttgart trio capably blend equal parts noise and melody in a fine manner. Steady providers of mid-tempo, the trio deliver an abrasive post-punk sound worthy of repeated spins. 

    Says Built On A Weak Spot:

    Buzz Rodeo is a band that I already felt rather familiar with despite not hearing a single note prior to the groups debut album Sports. The reason being that it contains member Ralf Schmidt, who has a notable past in bands like Bhang Dextro, Are We Electric?, Mink Stole and Tiger Shower Caps…all of which have shared some common traits…one constant being that they were noisy to some degree or another. With Buzz Rodeo, I’d say that it’s easily the most post-hardcore influenced project that Mr. Schmidt has taken part in, as Sports wastes little space and time while blowing through eleven tracks of furiously paced jagged rock jams that is in line with groups like Fatal Flying Guilloteens, early-Call Me Lightning, Bear Claw, and of course Drive Like Jehu. If that’s what you’re looking for then you’ll likely find Sports to be a solidly consistent effort. It’s likely not going to surprise, but it by no means disappoints and is worth the run through if this is within the realm of musical interest to those out there.

    Says 10 Fucking Stars:

    This German band reminds me of the ‘90s so much that I’m shocked the music is coming out of mp3s and not a cassette. That was my first impression. My second was that Buzz Rodeo sounds kinda like Shellac, but mostly reminds of STNNNG. The Stuttgart trio doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it also doesn’t try to cover their weaknesses with being balls-out crazy, like a poor man’s Pissed Jeans. It stands out in a positive way among the contemporary wave of noise rock bands. 11 good songs – they probably wouldn’t be hurt by some Electrical Audio production. 

    Says Shiny Grey Monotone:

    Start with 'Umber' era Bitch Magnet, then work in a less mathy version of Trumans Water, a less bass-y and staccato version of Shellac, some Six Finger Satellite, and give it a bit of that Midwest Big'n drive. It comes out very "nineties", but as a compliment, in so much as the nineties put a fine point on what post-hardcore music sounds like, with it's noise rock and math rock and indie rock, and rock rock and all that. Buzz Rodeo is a throw back for sure, but they've thrown back to a particular sweet spot in contemporary music, so I'm not complaining. Very well played, very well balanced, and very enjoyable all the way around. Highly recommended.

    Says Staticfraction:

    Aggressive, powerful, frantic, scratching and clawing rock. Pure energy thwacking you in the skull and kicking you in the stumps! You'll find some buzzsaw sounds on this tasty treat similar to Shellac, Sonic Youth, Drive Like Jehu. So if'n yer into to those bands and good things to make your day better, then chug this down pronto.

    Written by Matt Lebens — October 31, 2015

    Dormant, Not Dead.

    We're essentially dormant at the moment. With much less grace than the similar route taken by Touch and Go. Don't count us out, though. Store will remain open with as quick a turnaround on orders as grad school and early-stage childrearing will permit. Typical order gets a little something extra in lieu of added business days per order. Expect a righteous sale on all items at the front end of this fine new year!


    Thanks, as always, to those of you who've been a part of this project from the get-go. Artists, customers, enthusiasts, etc. 1-luv. 

    Written by Matt Lebens — January 29, 2015

    About 2014

    Another year in label hiatus has lead to a bit of the cabin fever. At this time the best I've got to offer those interested in Radio Is Down is an update of sorts, surely including some things I enjoyed musically or otherwise. 

    The future owner of this negative balance project turned three this year. She's a beauty. Olive-James Conrad Lebens continues to develop and grow in unimaginable ways. There's truth to what many referenced regarding the changes one goes through when raising a child. It's hard not to embrace the promise of what these little people will contribute to our fine earth. Olive-James had a righteous meltdown upon my attempt to cloak her in a hand-crafted (thanks, Katie!!!) Radio Is Down sweater again. Instead of pushing my brand you get this:

    And then she took an interest in the drum kit:

    Olive-James, graduate school, and the general keeping together of shit at home dominated much of the year's available time. An absolute high for the year was my wife's urging me to attend, at great cost, the Drive Like Jehu reunion at San Diego's Balboa Park. By random chance I found myself in good (Yakima, WA) company while gently nestled within the city's gay-male district. My sweet ass was naturally a hit. Several attractive men, some of them veteran clothing designers, didn't want to eat my ass so much as they wanted me to eat theirs. Took a respectful mulligan. 

    Much of my musical upbringing was spent at the teat of Drive Like Jehu's Mark Trombino. The S/T and Yank Crime records put on a clinic I'd participate in on a daily basis as I learned to beat the hell out of my drums with technical precision. Below you'll find a photo of Trombino in action and a photo of his kit at the end of the 30-min reunion set. These guys, after playing to an estimated 3800, came back an tore down their own gear. Nothing but class.




    Full group at the organ pavilion:


    Another thing I fixated on this last year was the song Blank Screen by Dead Rider. Phenomenal. Easily one of the best I've heard in the last 10 years. I feel the need to share with every person I encounter. Have at it:


    Orders for Radio Is Down recordings were few and far between. I can't blame you given the nonexistent advertising budget and the general lack of legitimate activity. Those who wandered and found the site: Thank You!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Best to you and yours in 2015.


    Matt RID





    Written by Matt Lebens — January 22, 2015