“As If To Say, You Won’t Stay…” – Lark, Radiation City

There’s a moment in your adoption of a band into your regular rotation when they feel like they’re yours. Your discovery: your private little lullaby from which you draw happiness, heartache, catharsis, a pep-talk or dance to start the day. You know it can’t last forever and that one day, if they make you feel this way, they’ll make others feel it, too, until that lullaby becomes a collective anthem.

Sometime in summer 2011, an old friend sent an email notifying me and others that his new band was coming to New York and that he’d love to see us at the show. As friends do, we happily obliged; we wanted to see our buddy who lived on the other side of the country and support his new venture. So we bought our tickets, waited for the day of the gig and crossed our fingers that our post-show congratulatory remarks would not just be awkward, lip-service to a friend but earnest appreciation for what we’d heard.

For the past two years, through two releases – 2011’s The Hands That Take You and 2012’s Cool Nightmare EP – Radiation City have felt like they’re “mine”, even as their following grew and the buzz oscillated more wildly. Yet, with Animals in the Median – the band’s second full-length album, released this month – I realize the time has come where the lullaby will become the anthem….but for once, I know my love for the music will continue.

As someone who makes a living trying to monetize a product, it’s hard for me to not think in terms of profitability and all the components that drive it. But in 2 years’ worth of conversations with Cam, Lizzy, Randy, Matt and Patti of Radiation City, I’ve not heard a single goal mentioned. I’ve not heard a single utterance of money or target audience. Radiation City make the music they love and share it with whoever wants to listen. Their music is radio-worthy but not made for radio. Like their two releases before it, Animals in the Median is a beautiful album for all its unpredictability. It twists when you expect it to turn. It steadies when you expect it to rise. And it crescendos just when you thought you’d never get the pay-off you’d hoped for. Like all good things, it is delayed gratification or as the band put it in a Baeble Music interview* from that initial 2011 tour, “addition by subtraction”. What you get as a result, is music that gets better with each sitting. Two years of listening in, and this still holds true. While you are sustained by the beautiful vocals, clever lyrics and a well-measured dose of popiness, as the listener, you ultimately feel like you’ve earned the pay-off and the intimacy through attention to detail and discovery.

The track record of Radiation City to date suggests that even as they transition from the band I selfishly consider “mine” to that of a widespread following, they will only get better with time. So, for once, I’m comfortable letting go in the knowledge of what lies ahead. But for now, I – along with that growing audience – can simply enjoy Animals in the Median and the waning moments of our private lullaby.

Suggested Listening:

“Lark” from Animals in the Median:

“Foreign Bodies” from Animals in the Median: “Hide from the Night” from Cool Nightmare: “Babies” from The Hands That Take You:


*Baeble Music interview from 2011:  

Photo courtesy of

“So Long” is the latest single off Radiation City’s upcoming sophomore release, Animals in the Median, which Portland, OR-based label Tender Loving Empire will release on May 21st. The track effortlessly plays with genre conventions – it takes on elements of campy, 60s girl rock with almost playful harmonies that seem to elide through the music … 


Radiation City - “Zombies”


Check out Radiation City performing at the Cathedral of Junk in Austin, Texas! The band played “Lark” and “Foreign Bodies” from their new album, Animals in the Median.

Radiation City is at radio now and going for spins!

“Zombies” is the second single from the Portland, OR-based band Radiation City’s upcoming Tender Loving Empire Records release, Animals in the Median, and what i love about this song is that it sounds like it was heavily inspired by 60s pop, modern indie rock and even 70s funk – at one point you’ll hear guitars being played with wah wah pedal during the bridge. It playfully meshes genres and time periods. With the promise of warmer weather, this particular track feels and sounds – well, summery. 

The band will be touring to support their upcoming release, which is slated for a May 21st release, and it’ll include stops in Davis, CA; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; San Diego, CA; Austin, TX; Dallas, TX; New Orleans, LA; Atlanta, GA; Durham, NC; and two NYC area dates – 6/12/13 at the Mercury Lounge and 6/13/13 at the Paper Box; as well as several other dates across the rest of the country. 

Animals in the Median shimmers like a unearthly mirage, weaving together misty melodies, analog electronics and the siren vocals of keyboardist Lizzy Ellison to create a poignant sense of faded optimism and missed opportunities.” - Mother Jones’ review of Animals in the Median

Read Mother Jones’ full review of Animals in the Median, the new record from Radiation City!

Animals in the Median is at radio now and going for spins!

Things that piss me off about anti-cap arguments

•SeaWorld cannot legally release those whales; it is out of their control

•Loud music does NOT affect the animals in any way

•Average lifespan and median age are not comparable

•Most orcas were born in captivity and wouldn’t survive more than a couple of weeks in the wild

•Lolita is nothing to do with SeaWorld. Stop blaming them for her sad situation.