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Broadcast singer Trish Keenan dies from pneumonia complications

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Broadcast, the British band that specializes in lovely and textured electronic pop, has lost their singer, Trish Keenan, who died Friday due to complications from pneumonia at age 42. Warp Records, the band’s label, announced that Keenan, a native of Birmingham, England, died in a hospital after battling the illness for two weeks. Other news outlets have reported that Keenan was suffering from a strain of the H1N1 flu.

When Broadcast debuted in the mid-'90s with a handful of singles (that Warp eventually gathered together for their 1997 release, ‘Work and Non Work’), the buzz was that they were something like a moodier Stereolab. Indeed, Keenan’s voice was a sultry anchor for transcendent atmospheric burbles that were inspired by ‘60s psychedelic music, film scores and dissonant experimental music.

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The art-pop group never had too much success in the mainstream -- despite ‘The Book Lovers’ making an unlikely appearance on the ‘Austin Powers’ soundtrack -- and Broadcast saw significant changes in personnel over the course of their four LPs, but they had a devoted following that kept the packed house rapt at their last appearance in Los Angeles, at the Troubadour in November 2009. At the end of Broadcast’s set, Keenan performed a song with a fellow cultivator of the dark and mysterious, Vincent Gallo.

Warp’s statement said that ‘this is an untimely tragic loss and we will miss Trish dearly -- a unique voice, an extraordinary talent and a beautiful human being. Rest in Peace.’

Above is a video for ‘Winter Now,’ a track from Broadcast’s 2003 album, ‘Ha Ha Sound.’ The band’s most recent album was 2009’s ‘Broadcast and the Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age.’

-- Margaret Wappler


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