It’s time to pay heed to the music of the resistance. And, no, we aren’t talking about the songs coming out of Trump protest projects such as Our First 100 Days, or Dave Egger’s 1000 days, 1000 songs. What we are referring to something more bipartisan. It’s a music and storytelling experience created around Amazon’s original series The Man in the High Castle dubbed “Resistance Radio”. The project simulates a radio station that is the voice of the resistance with DJs sending messages of hope. The songs broadcast on the station are covers of tunes from the early 1960s (the time period in which the show is set) produced by Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) and Sam Cohen, and sung by the likes of Beck, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, Kevin Morby, Grandaddy, The Shins, Benjamin Booker, and more. The radio station has been live for about a month. You can listen to it at www.resistanceradio.com. Last week, the songs were released via 30th Century Records as Resistance Radio: The Man in the High Castle Album. Amazon celebrated the project at SXSW with a party and concert. Below you’ll find videos and photos from the performance. It was billed as a one-off event that found many of the artists who appeared on the record performing the songs for the first and likely only time.
Based on the book by Philip K. Dick, The Man in the High Castle imagines what America would be like if the Axis powers won World War II. The story is set in 1962 and finds the former United States divided up, with Imperial Japan ruling over the West Coast and Nazi Germany in control of the East. Between the two is a lawless neutral zone where rebels and holdouts hideout. It’s also the place from where the pirate radio station of the resistance is broadcasting.
In terms of crafting the music for the project, Burton and Cohen selected 18 songs from the early 60s and recorded instrumental versions. They then enlisted artists to lay down vocals, with James Mercer of The Shins being the first guinea pig. His cover is of pop standard “A Taste of Honey”. Some of the songs are more recognizable than others with Angel Olsen covering “Who’s Sorry Now”, and Sharon Van Etten offering up “The End of the World”, while Karen O delivered the more obscure “Living in a Trance”.
On March 14, Sam Cohen assembled the Resistance Band at The Belmont in Austin, TX and previewed songs off the album with the help of Grandaddy, Kelis, Benjamin Booker, Kevin Morby, Matt Popieluch of Big Search, and Josh Netsky of Maybird. Below you’ll find Grandaddy crooning “Love Hurts”, Kelis powering out “Who’s Lovin’ You”, and Kevin Morby performing “I Only Have Eyes for You”.
Resistance Radio: The Man in the High Castle Album is available for purchase now at Amazon and iTunes. As for the series, Season 3 is the works, a release date has not yet been announced. We assume it will return towards the end of 2017.