Radiation City

“The Color of Industry”

This one hits the sweet spot in which DIY sensibility and serious pop know-how—not to mention the 20th and 21st centuries—magically blend. Even as the vocals are processed into an AM-radio-ish and/or ’40s-cartoon-ish kind of tinny chipperness, the music feels stout and committed, with its precise, multifaceted groove, its purposefully constructed vibe, and the accumulated grandeur of what the band throws at us over the course of four minutes.

I call your particular attention to the interplay we hear between the rather cheesy organ and a swaying, swelling chorus of trombones beginning at 2:23—an entirely unnatural pairing that is made to sound entirely natural. When this gives way at 2:57 to, of all things, the warm strum of a simple acoustic guitar, the surprise might blow the mind except that it also strikes the ear as exactly what was then required.

Radiation City is a quartet from Portland, Oregon. “The Color of Industry” is a song from the album The Hands That Take You, originally self-released on cassette in February, coming out in a more standard release in September on Tender Loving Empire, the Portland-based arts collective/record label/retail store run by Jared Mees, last seen around these parts back in February.