Charlie Thornton and Rob Wash of Radar // Courtesy of Keith Vlk

Premiere: Radar gets crafty for new ‘Overcast’ video

Their plans for a big album release were scrapped, but Woodridge rock band Radar are forging ahead with single release and a new video.

The Woodridge rock duo Radar was anticipating a big release show for its upcoming album, “Goodnight, Nurse,” and a full summer of performances, but the coronavirus pandemic had the power to crush even the best-laid plans for most musicians around the Chicago area. 

Rob Wash and Charlie Thornton of Radar weren’t immune to that. A day after quarantines were put into place, they got the masters back for the album. With everything on the Chicago music scene put on hold, they took a step back from their planned release schedule to see how things would shake out. But last week they forged ahead, releasing the single “Overcast,” followed by today’s drop of the video for the track. 

The first single from the band’s album, which is due out September 18, is a solid building block for the release. It’s grungy rock, but with an elevated flair. The chorus — “This overcast is killing me” — pulls the curtain back on that somewhat universal gloom many of us are having a hard time shaking nowadays, but it does so with lighter harmonies reminiscent of a rocked-up Weezer’s “blue album”-era song. It has plenty of punch, but you’re too busy having fun with it to notice that it hurts a little, too. 

Musicians have had to be innovative, coming up with creative ways to put together videos while many couldn’t actually be in the same place because of public health concerns. 

So Radar took to “arts and crafts time,” Thornton said, to create the new video. 

Putting out a call on social media, the band asked fans who wanted to be part of it to send in selfies. With cutouts and paper-bag puppets that he and his wife created of the band members and fans, Radar put together a clever, lo-fi video for the song. 

“A lot of people we knew,” Thornton said. “But there were some people that I was like, ‘I don’t know who this person is, but I’m glad that they want to be a part of it.’”

The video is a fun accompaniment to the song, which Thornton says he wrote during a gloomy, rainy day. And even though they are on the verge of releasing a full set of music, they’re already working on more. 

“I feel like our stage show just got better as we hit our stride,” Thornton said, “and then it was like, hey, do nothing for the next seven months.”

Charlie Thornton and Rob Wash of Radar // Courtesy of Keith Vlk

With even more music already cooking, they decided it was time to start releasing what they were already excited about, despite it being a less-than-perfect situation. 

“I think they’re some of our best songs. We’re proud of it. I want to show it to people,” Wash said. “So the idea of flipping that switch and saying, ‘All right, we’re going to start writing new music and recording new music.’ It doesn’t feel right. As much as I’d love to get back into the studio right now because what else is there to do? But it’s not giving justice to what we’ve accomplished so far.”

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