Mercury Radio Theater
Gig Seeker Pro

Mercury Radio Theater

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Avant-garde


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos




a cross between the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and Braid-like moments of time signature trickery and angular guitar rock, all orchestrated by the Trenchcoat Mafia. Mercury Radio Theater has stunningly outdone themselves.

This is math-rock with a purpose, experimentation with a point. And The Blue Eyed Model sounds like no one else.
(Lujo 2005)
Review date: 2006-01-10 18:17:56 by Mike Wood

There are precious few groups brave enough to incorporate elements of legitimate performance art into what they're doing; fewer still are able to pull it off. However, PA's own Mercury Radio Theater make the cut.
Chip Ralston

Fans of concept albums will find a demented concept here, and average garage/punk rock fans will find a decent garage/punk rock record that isn’t of the norm. Either way, you’re getting the unexpected with Mercury Radio Theater.
~Cy Fard
Staff Writer

This record is a concept record put together by a math-rock/punk rock/surf punk band called Mercury Radio Theater. The band blends all of those sounds together into a manic, instrumental cacophony of herky-jerky guitars, start-stop drumming, jagged angular rhythms and synth breakdowns. The sound is fun and energetic.

This release is a little hard to describe. Mercury Radio Theater is unlike anything I've ever heard before. This entire album is one big story that mixes instrumental tracks with narration. It's extremely short, very weird, and listeners are either going to love it or absolutely hate it...Its unique blend of traditional storytelling and music will be openly embraced by some people and found hard to swallow by others. But there's no denying that the music presented here is unique, no matter what you think of it.

A lot of times, bands get gimmicky, which can either be a spark plug to their creativity or a firewall restricting what they are truly capable of. Philadelphia's Mercury Radio Theater are fortunate enough to do something different with their band. They are an instrumental surf-punk band whose songs are the soundtrack to the narration/stories that are 'broadcast' in between each song. Weaving a story environment like the old radio shows of the past, before television took over...The songs really paint a picture of what is unfolding in the story, and build up suspense not just via storytelling but making you wait a few minutes for the next tidbit of information. I really can't see how a release like this could be much better... - Web-Quotes!

"All of These Things Do Not Belong"

Okay, already, we get it: pop-punk isn't leaving us any time soon. However, while the mainstream stews in this over-compressed-for-the-Clear-Channel-near-you vegan chowder, a few artists are avoiding the mandate that distortion is the only way to express their angst. Calibretto and Mercury Radio Theater prefer to take the aggressive road sans numbing overdrive, instead rocking out in a dynamic fashion, synthesizing a Dead Milkmen meets Squirrel Nut Zippers-cum-Bright Eyes approach.
Opting to combine forces (they call this a "split" album -- one group takes the even tracks, the other the odds), the bands perform as if their lives depended on it, pushing meters into the red, then backing off suddenly to showcase a cool groove or guitar lick (particularly the machine gun Classical/Dan Fogelberg runs on "We Put the Fun Back in Funeral"). Carnival organ, callus-inducing acoustic guitar, hyperactive basslines and frenetic drums flit from 12-bar blues to rockabilly to surf-rock to prog-rock, with the operative word being rock. Calibretto vocalist Joe Whiteford (Mercury Radio Theater is essentially an instrumental band) screams, squirms and coos, adopting characteristics from Jello Biafra, Siouxsie Sioux, Roy Clark and John Flansburgh, literally calling the band to arms, then dropping into a seizure.

Despite the perceived humor and pisstake song titles such as "The Object of My Infection" and "Big Money, Big Money, No Whammies, No Whammies, Stop!", both bands are deadly serious about their craft and seem determined to woo you away from the red-eyeshadow-clad posers on M2. Without gimmicks or a stylist telling them what to do, they're free to channel their talents and energy into whatever their murmuring hearts desire. The results are consistently solid and refreshing.

-- Dave Madden - Splendid

"Death and Life of The Undead Boy"

This record isn’t like anything you’ve listened to recently. First off it’s all instrumental. Before that turns you off, there are a three things going for this record.

First off, it’s evil surf guitar rock. Check. It’s different.

Second, it’s a concept album, telling a very well written story. This is what they say about the story, “’The death and life of the undead boy’ tells the story of Victor the vampire boy and his adventures trying to cope with school, his home life and meeting girls.”

And three… okay, so it’s instrumental but they have narration in between the songs, and get this, the narrarator is Joe Jack Talcum, from the greatest band ever, The Dead Milkmen.

The story is very child-storybook style. So there will be about a dozen narrarated rhymed lines progressing the story, then the accompanying song follows. The music itself is very surf-rock based and mainly in minor key – which of course sounds right because it is about an undead boy.

The booklet is basically a childrens’ storybook, illustrated by Joe Whiteford, lead singer of Calibretto. The booklet itself would make a great storybook for a preschool child, if you wanted that kid to turn out goth or something. Look at the artwork here - it's really good.

So while some might see this band as a novelty, it’s not gimmicky because the concept and the music are solid. If you’re looking something different, this album is worth checking out. I'm giving the album a higher grade because this work is more than music - its art is musical, it is literary and and it is visual.



2011-Kilroy (Independent)
2007- Sponsor a Zombie Short Film and EP (Independent)
2005- The Blue Eyed Model (Friction/Lujo records)
2004- All These Things Do Not Belong (standard recordings)
2003-Death and Life of the Undead Boy (angryson records)
2002- Three Inches of Terror
2001- The Manhattan Zombie Massacre
streaming songs on



In a smoke filled rock club in old city Philadelphia, there’s a crowd of kids mulling around waiting for the next band to start. A night filled with bands that sound just like all the others on the radio, the crowd is bored and waiting for the headliner. Until, that is, a booming echoing presence over the sound system tells them to pay attention. When Mercury Radio Theater takes the stage there are solid math rock beats accentuated by running bass lines that interplay with melodic guitars. Altogether excluding things like scratchy throaty singers and mundane rhythm guitars is what makes Mercury Radio Theater different. As the show proceeds the crowd finds that there is not just exciting instrumental music to listen to, but also a story narrated by a creepy disembodied voice and pictures projected onto a screen provide the visuals for the terrifying tales.

In the Spring of 2011 Mercury Radio Theater will release their 3rd album to the anticipation of a fervent cult fan base. The release of this 3rd album, simply titled “Kilroy" will be a fan favorite as well as a delight to the uninitiated. “Kilroy" will feature jagged, fast paced guitar riffs, accompanied by driving, frenzy filled bass lines and machine gun drumming. The album features expeditious punk/instrumental songs that illuminate the narrative of an aged werewolf and his young companion. The album is a continuation of Mercury Radio Theater’s “The Death and Life of the Undead Boy” and "Blue Eyed Model" which they released in 2003 and 2005 respectively, to both critical and fanatical praise.