Radiation City can best be described by the tags they’ve chosen for their Bandcamp page: electronic, doom wop, dream pop, future, history, girl group, Portland. While the list may read like a forlorn Madlib, Radiation City (sometimes shortened to Rad City to make time for more high fives) is impressively succinct and immediately digestible.
Before joining Tender Loving Empire, a Portland-based label and consignment shop, and before the insane genre-bending they wield so skillfully on their latest album, Animals In The Median, Radiation City was simply a couple; Lizzy Ellison and Cameron Spies. The two created a cassette-only label called Apes Tapes in order to release their recordings. Radiation City started generating some attention due to limited live performances, eventually leading to Ellison and Spies quitting their other bands to focus on Rad City fulltime.
The group has since grown by three, two of which are in a couple, and the fullness of Animals In the Median suggests the band has reached the actualization of their vision. Thanks to Randy Bremrose, Matt Rafferty, and Patti King, Rad City can effectively blend their influences together into dream pop mixed with electronic blips, and a generous helping of 60s girl group vocals. Typos aside, I prefer to call it “doom wop”.
I chatted with Spies about their upcoming set at Timbrrr Fest.
NM: Have you been to Leavenworth? If so, what impressions did it leave with you?
Radiation City’s guitarist and singer, Cameron Spies: Never. We’ve been to nearby Wenatchee on several occasions, though. We love that town.
NM: Since the festival happens in early 2014, what are some of your New Year’s resolutions?
CS: Get in shape. Hone our chops. Read more. Spend more time with family. Collaborate.
NM: Timbrrr! advertises hot toddies. What are some of your favorite recipes?
One shot Bulliett
One shot Fernet
One shot hard cider
One shot fresh ginger juice or grated ginger
Half a lemon, squeezed
One cup hot water
Cayenne pepper and cinnamon to taste
NM: The festival features snowshoeing and other winter-related activities. Do you have a favorite snow sport?
CS: Some of us are skiers;I’m a snowboarder. I haven’t gone in years, and one of the last times I did ended in tears (and a separated shoulder). Being a musician, and given the cost of mountain sports, we seldom get a chance to partake anymore. Timbrrr will be a good opportunity to change that.
NM: Which Radiation City song would you recommend listening to on a brisk winter day?
CS: CS: Either “Winter Blind” or “Summer Rain,” depending on whether you’re embracing the cold or doing your best to forget it.
Timbrrr Fest! takes place January 10-11 in Leavenworth, Washington.
More in this series:
- Temple Echoes
- Kevin Long
- Wild Ones
- Barna Howard
- Lotte Kestner
- Joseph Giant
- The Moondoggies
- Full Lineup Announced
- You Me and Apollo
- Hey Marseilles
- The Lonely Forest
- Timbrrr Fest Preview