Tommy Bobcat, Radio Friendly | Music Feature | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Tommy Bobcat, Radio Friendly 

Album Review

Published September 11, 2013 at 11:33 a.m.


(Self-released, digital download)

One of the most tiresome and aggravating details of the music business is genre labels, but, if done right, a good genre tag can strengthen a reputation. A bad label is just a useless talking point for the purposes of unnecessary classification. Burlington-based musician Tommy Bobcat (aka Thomas Mason) is a hard-to-define artist who easily defies nearly every genre label. Accordingly, though he calls his latest album Radio Friendly, it really isn’t.

According to Bobcat’s press release, his third solo recording’s title was inspired by the fact that the term had never been applied to his music before. There’s some merit behind this omission, for Radio Friendly is unlikely to appeal to mainstream radio’s thirst for familiar formulas. At no point on this collection will a listener be reminded of Robin Thicke or Daft Punk.

That’s not to say that Radio Friendly is abrasive or overly obtuse. Songs such as “Liquid Neglect” and “Ferry to Provincetown” are smooth, lazy affairs that allow the listener to drift away to an inner Elysium. But the album is not purely a dreamy affair, either; tracks such as the slightly jarring “The Bay” and the rocking “Gesundheit!” (clearly influenced by Primus) add extra flavors to this full-length smorgasbord.

The complexity of Radio Friendly alone should appeal to Tommy Bobcat’s experimental and prog audience, while the likable funky jams of the jocular “Meat Sweats” and breezy “Charity Stripes” are sure to draw in some first-time listeners. The album’s versatility is due in part to its soundtrack-like quality and reliance upon instrumental compositions. In short, Tommy Bobcat lets the jams flow without singing doggerel — a decision more acts would do well to follow.

The release of Radio Friendly marks the end of an era for Tommy Bobcat: This eclectic purveyor of good vibrations is relocating to Boston. Thankfully, he isn’t also switching careers, and his next musical project (which has something to do with should be out soon. In the meantime, we can enjoy Radio Friendly in all its left-of-the-dial splendor.

Radio Friendly is available at Tommy Bobcat can be followed at

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Benjamin Welton


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation