Radiation City first emerged in 2009 after Cameron Spies and Lizzy Ellison fell in love and left other projects to start writing together.
They booked their first show in February of 2010 at former Portland venue Someday Lounge, but Ellison had no idea that it would fall three days after the devastating loss of her father. The show was canceled and it wasn’t until late fall of that year that they finally debuted.
“I fell off the map for eight months. We started recollecting ourselves and getting out of depression,” Ellison shares, opening up about the loss for the first time.
Within a few months, the burgeoning band brought on Randy Bemrose, Matt Rafferty and Patti King, quickly gaining local critical attention, playing PDX Pop Now! in 2011 and '12, winning Willamette Week’s Best New Band poll in 2012, and signing with Portland-based label Tender Loving Empire.
“Time has caught up with me,” Ellison confesses.
Recalling the years, the dates blur together—memories of 2009 and 2010 seem like a lifetime ago as the band mark their sixth year together. Through breakups, changes in lineup (Rafferty moved on to other projects in 2015) and labels (they released their third full length this spring on Polyvinyl Records), the group have managed to grow artistically through thick and thin, with a masterful sense of their artistic vision alongside a sense of family that always stays true.
“We don’t always get along but we’re always really proud of the final product," Ellison notes.