If you’re a fan of Orson Welles and 1930s Hollywood, you’ll appreciate Philly’s Mercury Radio Theater for their name. If you’re a fan of adventurous music – gypsy punk, theatrical klezmer and general exotica – you’ll dig how they sound too.
The band has been kicking around the Philly scene for the past 15 years under the leadership of Buddy Mercury and his eight bandmates, who weird sax, horns, vibes and accordion in addition to the standard guitar-bass-drums. In the past, their music has covered dystopian sci-fi themes. The currently-in-progress Fabulous Red Menace is themed around Eastern European propaganda set in an American context.
So of course, there’s the opening “Company Motto” which opening the band’s Key Studio Session with a monotone zombie-esque chant – “Conform, consume, arrest and then resume” – before launching into a propulsive jig. “Minimum Wage” is about stretching the dollar, but through a very Western lens, while the very theatrical “I Don’t Owe You Know More” sounds the most like an old-time radio play of all the selections, complete with sound effects and a whimsical narrative about a bad visit from the repo man.
Give the band’s performance a listen below, download it at our Soundcloud page and catch the spectacle in concert this Saturday night, May 16th, when Mercury Radio Theater opens for Northern Arms at Johnny Brenda’s. Tickets and more information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar.
Mercury Radio Theater, The Key Studio Sessions