Fresh off their sophomore release, Portland quintet Radiation City kicks off our live from MFNW broadcast at the Doug Fir Lounge with a smooth and sultry bang. After releasing The Hands That Shake You in 2011, the group steadily rose to local fame, growing from a duo to a trio before eventually adding an additional two members and releasing their sophomore album on Portland label Tender Loving Empire. Known for their unique and impressively encapsulating array of sounds, Radiation City’s music is a breathtaking journey through genres.
Opening their KEXP MFNW set with a soft pounding beat, the group launched into the dreamy “Babies” and “Color of Industry” off their first album before continuing on with the more recent “Heart of Mine.” Blending in and out between Beach House style atmospheric synth sounds and incredibly groovy bossanova style beats, it’s evident that while Radiation City does have a taste for the softer side of music, there’s no discrimination between new and old sounds as they seamlessly intertwine acoustic and synth sounds.
The most remarkable aspect of their performance was the group’s incredibly vocal talent. While the band’s female vocalists brilliantly handled the brunt of the singing duties, on several songs the entire group would swell together with a sound highly reminiscent of a Herb Alpert trumpet solo in the most beautiful way possible.