The music oozed by Radiation City is so warm and romantic that it’s a bit tedious to see the Portland band categorized time and again as indie rock, a genre that at times feels like it’s been hijacked by aloof, sullen drones.
“When I see that, it’s kinda — it’s a little bit baffling,” says Cameron Spies, guitarist and a vocalist for the band. “For one, indie rock is such a broad, general-ass word. The roots of our music are more in older styles of music, vintage styles if you will.” He adds, “The fact that we got lumped in there is more of an aesthetic.”
Yes, on appearances alone, the svelte all-white band with a pinch of retro styling looks like your average indie darling, but the similarities stop there. Radiation City’s waterfall of vocals — everyone in the band sings (Elisabeth Ellison, Randy Bemrose, Matt Rafferty, Patti King) — meshed with fuzzed-out guitar and drums is more Mad Men pool party than Portland hipster slouch.
Perhaps that’s because the band tries to reimagine old sounds. “The initial inspiration for this band was a couple of bossa nova records that we love and were playing all the time,” Spies says. He notes that Frank Sinatra and Dusty Springfield have also been inspirations, which can be heard on the sparkly 2013 album, Animals in The Median (also see their cover of “Fly Me to the Moon”).
The band’s fourth album will be out in early 2015. “It’s taken the longest of any of our records to make,” Spies says.
Portland pop outfit Wild Ones and Eugene’s alt-pop Pluto The Planet join Radiation City at 8 pm Saturday, Nov. 15, at WOW Hall; $5 adv., $7 door, student discounts available. All ages.