2011 Artist Survey: Radiation City

Feb 01, 2012 Web Exclusive
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For Under the Radar's 9th annual Artist Survey we emailed some of our favorite artists a few questions relating to 2011. Pick up a copy of Under the Radar's Best of 2011 Issue for Artist Survey responses from !!!, Acid House Kings, The Antlers, Art Brut, Beirut, Blonde Redhead, Camera Obscura, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., The Dears, Rose Elinor Dougall, The Drums, The Duke Spirit, Elbow, EMA, The Horrors, I Break Horses, Islands, Little Dragon, My Brightest Diamond, Nada Surf, Marissa Nadler, of Montreal, Okkervil River, Peter Bjorn and John, The Rapture, The Rosebuds, SBTRKT, S.C.U.M, and Vivian Girls. 

There are even more survey responses in the digital version of the issue and we are also posting more surveys on our website. Here's a survey from Radiation City.

Randy Bemrose

Radiation City

Top 10 Albums of 2011

1. The Beach Boys: The SMiLE Sessions-A seminal album that never was, this is the follow-up to Pet Sounds that was meant to pick up where the preposterously produced "Good Vibrations" left off. The first three sides of this collection of LPs is the album as it was first intended, utilizing the original tracks, arrangements, etc.
2. Unknown Mortal Orchestra: Unknown Mortal Orchestra-That a rock record can use such a stellar array of funky breaks is a testament to its genre-blurring genius. That the live band fills such timeless pockets with vitality leads me to believe I will love this three-piece for a long while to come.
3. St. Vincent: Strange Mercy
4. Starfucker: Reptilians-Considering death has never felt so generative as when couched in the fun that this dance music inspires. It points to the notion that this world should be celebrated to the point that we let it go, and the worlds beyond this one need not be so scary.
5. Kurt Vile: Smoke Ring for My Halo
6. Point Juncture, WA: Handsome Orders-After years of experimentation (with line-ups, soundscapes, side projects, et al), these four have matured into a band that knows what it wants. Handsome Orders is a solid modern rock record from a band that's come of age.
7. Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues
8. Beyonce: 4-Graceful in adulthood, marriage, motherhood, fame, haute couture; on the silver screen, mega-stages, or a horse...B is KILLING IT. The B-sides cut from this album could go gold. What's left are diamonds: a long time coming, extremely rare, exquisitely crafted, and fabulously polished.
9. Bon Iver: Bon Iver  
10. Deerhoof: Deerhoof vs. Evil

What was the highlight of 2011 for you and/or your band?   
Playing a sold out show at the Troubadour in LA.

What was the low point of 2011 for you?
We don't dwell on such things.

What are your hopes and plans for 2012?
We plan on finishing and releasing our sophomore album [and] taking it on tour in the U.S. and abroad, and we hope to see you then.

What are your thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street protests? Do you stand with them? Are they accomplishing anything?
It's about time that the general populace made their voices heard en masse. Hopefully it will create a climate of awareness that will allow our leaders the political (and actual) capital to address the gross inequity between the oligarchs and the rest of us who have to live by their rules. Personally, I don't have a problem with somebody making 10, 100, or even 1000 times more than I do if they are providing a good, a service, or something that benefits the society that we live in. The exception I take is with those who make 10,000 or 100,000 times what I do by working in a financial system that devalues currency, repossesses homes and property, and leaves the burdens of infrastructure, entitlement, and war on the little guy.

Several stages collapsed in 2011. Are you worried about festival safety? What else can be done to make stages and festivals safer?
I am not worried about the safety at festivals. If organizers are, they should hire better engineers.

Has it become less financially viable to survive as an independent band this year?
Yes. It has become less financially viable to survive as a band, period.

Which album would you like to see a band play in its entirety?
Miles Davis: Sketches of Spain.

Which song do you wish was being played in the delivery room while you were being born?
Kool and the Gang: "Celebration."

What's been the best day of your life so far and what's been the worst?
My best day ever was the first birthday I spent in New Orleans. Succinctly: migas and watermelon juice for breaky, a trip to the aquarium and through the biennial, a $50 shave that was worth every penny, a walk through the graveyard (on All Saints), Mod Night at Saturn Bar with The Pharmacy as an opening act. My worst was the first time I got kidney stones.

Who has better taste in music, your mom or your dad?
My mom introduced me to The Beatles, The Beach Boys. My dad introduced me to Tom Petty, The Traveling Wilburys. Edge: Mom. My mom introduced me to The Muppets, Weird Al; my dad, Spin Doctors, TPOTUSA. Edge: Mom. My mom is a huge fan of Rod McKuen, Paul Simon; my dad is a huge fan of Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler. I like every one of these artists, but by a landslide: Mom.

What's the smartest decision you've ever made in your life?
Quitting my day job.

What would be the title of your autobiography?
Rose City Rose.

Who's the best lyricist in indie rock (besides yourself)?

Beck.

Are there any songs that make you tear up? Which ones?
Anything off of After the Gold Rush by Neil Young.

If you heard that the world was ending who would be the first person you'd call?
My sister.

Besides your parents, who has been most influential in your life?
Josh Hodges (of Starfucker), Rawn Erickson II (of Internet fame.)

What do you wear to bed?
A smile.

What's the biggest lie you've ever told?
I once dated a girl for nearly a month under an assumed name.

Will you go to your next high school reunion? If you've already been to one, what was it like?
I went to two on the same day. One was the traditional reunion mix of people who I really didn't know all that well in school. We watched a Portland Trail Blazers game mostly. The other group was the circle of girlfriends I was close to, including a high school sweetheart who hosted the party with her husband (who, by the way, she dumped me to date senior year). I brought my girlfriend at the time and received a great many warm hugs, dagger stares.

In general, do you consider new communications technology to be a good thing or something that further separates us from real human interactions?
It does both.

What is the biggest hindrance to your creativity?
Physical pain.

(www.radiationcity.muxtape.com)



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