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Half-life glowing

Denton’s Radioactivity devises happy-sounding sad punk debut

Denton artist Jeff Burke said he dealt with the culture shock of living in Japan with music.

That music became the debut LP of his band, Radioactivity.

“I’ve known all of these guys a really long time, and have played with them in other bands,” Burke said. “I moved abroad in 2008 and came back in 2012. While I was gone, I wrote a lot of songs while in Japan. I just needed an outlet for the songs.”

Radioactivity brought Burke, guitarist/singer of the Marked Men, back together with Marked Men bassist/singer Mark Ryan, who started the band Mind Spiders while Burke was abroad. Burke also enlisted two other musicians he’s played with before: guitarist Daniel Fried and drummer Gregory Rutherford, both of Bad Sports and a host of other bands.

Burke, who traveled to Japan for work, said being in Asia was, at times, overwhelming.

“I guess I had a creative spurt,” he said. “I wrote a couple of songs there to kind of pass the time. It was kind of natural. I was in a new environment. These songs, I would say, are a result of my situation. I was just in a very foreign place, just the fact of me being without friends and family.”

He sought out a music community overseas and ended up in a band of Japanese rockers.

“It was definitely different working with them. I definitely had to listen to their style and their playing a little more than I would probably listen to a band of my friends over here,” he said.

Radioactivity is a straight-forward indie-punk affair, with Rutherford pummeling the drums, Burke and Fried kicking out buzz-saw jams to Ryan’s exuberant bass lines. Burke said he starts with the music and then writes lyrics. The record is a trickster, setting the poetry born of loneliness and stranger-in-a-strange-land musings to the sunny side of punk music.

Radioactivity finished up a regional tour in Denton last month and plays Club Dada, 2720 Elm St. in Dallas, on Tuesday night with Parquet Courts.

Radioactivity is out on vinyl on Dirtnap Records. Hear it online at

— Lucinda Breeding


Radioactivity is:

Jeff Burke — guitar and lead vocals

Gregory Rutherford — drums

Daniel Fried — guitar

Mark Ryan — bass