The Joup Friday Album: Broadcast- Tender Buttons

Broadcast Tender ButtonsVastly underappreciated in their creative heyday, and still an untouched gem for many, Broadcast were a dire part of indie lore. The group formed in England in the mid 90’s and consisted of vocalist Trish Keenan and multi-instrumentalist James Cargill. They put out five records over the course of their career, which was cut short when Keenan tragically passed at 42 in 2011. The albums they left behind though were nothing short of hypnotic and bewildering; stylistically bringing their own flavor to indie electronic and dream pop with a slight shoegaze tinge. Their sound earned them many comparisons to the group Stereolab, but I personally always connected with Broadcast more. Their ability to add a level of warmth and sensuality to this genre always resonated with me, and there’s no better example of them doing this at their best than on 2005’s Tender Buttons.

What makes Tender Buttons such a standout is that it doesn’t stray from the stylistic choices the band made on their two previous records, but it does provide a more intimate, stripped back version of what they were doing before. Their record directly preceding this, 2003’s Haha Sound, is an excursion in how to create really big sounding indie pop with sparse tools at hand. Buttons doesn’t try to create as many sonic head rushes; it’s more assured and charming in it’s simplicity, delivering matter-of-fact, rudimentary tunes with pretty short run times that stick with you. This really makes Tender Buttons the perfect record to get into Broadcast as a whole.

Opener “I Found The F” is probably the most dream pop-centric cut on the record, with its slow-burn, puttering drum beat, and gently strummed guitar leads that combine to create a cinematic black and white noir landscape in your head with its sound. An amazing way to kick off the record! The second track, “Black Cat, is an utter head rush of a track, with lots of keyboard trickery going on both in the performances themselves and the incredible production. It’s such a simply written verse- course -verse track, but it’s great because of that; there’s so much texture that you can pull new sounds out with every listen. I highly recommend grabbing your best pair of headphones to listen to it. For being such an emotive record, Tender Buttons reaches its biggest emotional peak with “Tears in The Typing Pool.” Featuring just Keenan on vocals and a gently strummed acoustic guitar for most of the track, Keenan’s vocals and the keyboard flourishes that come in at the end are tear inducingly beautiful, and the track as a whole is a great center piece for the record.

Here we are and not a moment too soon here’s Tender Buttons by Broadcast; if this is your first introduction, welcome and hopefully you find the sound evident on this record as engrossing as this writer does. If you’re already a fan, then I’m just telling you what you already know aren’t I? Stream Below:

Tagging: Amy

Daniel R. Fiorio

Writer, blogger, record collector/music fanatic, comic book junkie, jerkstore/all around nice dude from the south suburbs of Chicago

One Response to The Joup Friday Album: Broadcast- Tender Buttons
  1. Tommy Reply

    I loved Broadcast, and consider myself so fortunate that i got to see them live once in 2009. I get why people made Stereolab comparisons, but i always thought there was something deeper to Broadcast’s sound. Coincidentally enough, when i saw Atlas Sound, also in 2009, Trish Keenan joined them onstage to do vocals on “Quick Canal,” a song that Stereolab’s Laetitia Sadier sang the first time around. Anyway, great write-up. Been a while since we heard from you.

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