Barrier Rift

New law makes it harder than ever to host an all-ages show in Arizona

"We just hooked up as friends," Seven says. "He was in a band at the time and I was doing RFA on my own and I'd made a demo. They broke up and I said, 'Hey, let's get together, and he said, 'Love to, but I'm moving to Arizona.'"

Koerner's reason for relocating? Possibly a long-held fascination with the romantic mystique of the desert? Not quite. "I said, 'I'm moving to Arizona to find a chick,'" Koerner recalls with a laugh.

The Phoenix transplants teamed with Elas in September '96 and immediately followed a tack contrary to most bands'. Before they had played a single gig, they began recording their debut CD, figuring that by the time they started gigging, they'd be nearly ready to spring some product on their audience. The result of those recordings, the 23-track CD killjulie sounds like what it is: a fully formed concept executed with considerable skill. The disc gives away Seven's fetish for the music of his youth, British synth bands like Depeche Mode and OMD, as well as the poppy glamour of early Duran Duran. At the same time, pulsating tracks like "Girlfriend for a Day" show off enough Trent Reznor-inspired industrial harshness to make the group a favorite of the goth kids who used to storm the now defunct Atomic Cafe.

Clearly, this is music built for the studio, but RFA (which now includes former band sound man Mason Thorpe on drums) insists that these songs can be delivered live, without the group coming off like a bunch of wonky computer programmers.

"There's not a lot of difference between what we do and what, say, N17 does," Seven says. "We play to a DAT, and because we're electronic, there's some stuff we just can't do, but we do as much as we can. It's a matter of practice. I think we have to practice more than the average band 'cause we play with a computer. It's a lot more demanding than free-form. Free-form requires talent, but I think this takes more discipline."

Radio Free America is scheduled to perform on Sunday, December 27, at Boston's in Tempe, with Digital Free Loner Boy. Showtime is 9 p.m.

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