Music Park: Deep Sea Diver @ DC9 — 2/29/16

Deep Sea DiverDeep Sea Diver (Photo Courtesy of Force Field PR)

There was a moment in Deep Sea Diver’s set at DC9 on February 29th, where lead singer Jessica Dobson suddenly ignited and the energy level ratcheted up to 11.

That moment came halfway through the set, in the long intro to “Wide Awake”, a song that left the crowd no doubt they were witnessing a revelationary performance. Just that short burst of rhythm and rock alone was enough to make the show.

Then from boisterous anthem to subdued, yet equally sublime, they transitioned to “Great Light”, a ballad of hopeful love, brought to life through Jessica’s lilting voice, that might break your heart if it wasn’t merely a song.

As Jessica set down her guitar (one of two used during the show) with broken strings poking in every direction, Jessica joked that this is, “literally the first song I play without an instrument in my hands.” And she did need both hands to hold the mic steady enough to take the force of the lyrics.

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Music Park: Radiation City @ DC9 — 2/29/16

Radiation City (from left to right): Dasha Shleyeva, Cameron Spies, Elisabeth Ellison, Randy Bemrose, Patti King (Photo by Holly Andres)

Radiation City’s musical renewal with their third full-length album, Synesthetica (released Feb. 12), has served the quintet well, extending the band’s catalog with catchy guitar licks and roving synthesizers.

At the heart of Radiation City are Elisabeth Ellison on vocals and synths and Cameron Spies on vocals and guitar. I’m not certain how the band’s dynamics worked in the past, but on tour to support the new album with a stop at DC9 on Monday night, the couple dominated the proceedings when trading off on lead vocals, providing the audience with two different yet welcome flavors in their sound.

The crowded room enjoyed quite a full bill with Seattle’s Deep Sea Diver opening, and they make for great tour companions with Radiation City. But more continuity with their tourmates is found in the songs where Cameron takes lead on vocals, as his songs have a similar edge to them with forward guitar and soulful, worldly vocals. Cameron serenades his audience early with Radiation City’s “Winter Blind” from their 2012 EP, Cool Nightmare.

It is a distinguishing feature of Radiation City, however, that the band consistently has strong guitar forward for a dreampop band. The women of Radiation City — Elisabeth and Patti King — flank the rest of the band with their synthesizers on the sides of the stage but they sure do take center in many of the songs, particularly the catchiest of the new crop.

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Don’t Miss: Deep Sea Diver (opening for Radiation City) @ DC9, 2/29/16

Deep Sea DiverDeep Sea Diver (Photo courtesy of Force Field PR)

Deep Sea Diver’s new album, Secrets, hits the streets on Friday, February 19th.

Just in time for you to get a copy and give it a spin (or whatever you say after you download and listen…) before they perform at DC9 on February 29th. They open for Radiation City.

And Secrets is well worth your time. It is heavy on guitar riffs and infused with chorus after melodic chorus. You’ll listen to the album over and over. The live performance should bring new and exciting energy to each song.

Deep Sea Diver has its origins in Seattle. Members are Jessica Dobson on lead vocals (she was the former guitarist of The Shins but left to focus Deep Sea Diver), Peter Mansen on drums, Garrett Gue on bass, and Elliot Jackson on guitar and synth.

The title track and first single, “Secrets”, wants you to show them the way and to remember your first love.

“Always Waiting” is a slow, powerful song that declares aptly, “I’m always waiting for the right words to explain it.”

Check out their full performance live on KEXP (an indie radio station in Seattle):

You can order Secrets here.


Deep Sea Diver
(Opening for Radiation City)
Monday, February 29
Doors @ 8:30pm
All ages

Don’t Miss: Radiation City @ DC9, 2/29/16

Radiation City (from left to right): Dasha Shleyeva, Cameron Spies, Elisabeth Ellison, Randy Bemrose, Patti King (Photo by Holly Andres)

Radiation City, the dreampop quintet from Portland, Ore., aren’t afraid to blend diverse influences into their music, ranging from bossa nova to Northern soul to doo-wop. But the band brought a new sense of urgency to its third full-length album, Synesthetica, scheduled for release on Feb. 12 via Polyvinyl Records.

The principals behind Radiation City confess the band almost broke up, and the founding couple behind the band — vocalist and guitarist Cameron Spies and vocalist and keyboardist Lizzy Ellison — almost ended their relationship.

But they found new life in changing their approach to things and enlisting producer John Vanderslice (known for his work with Spoon and Death Cab for Cutie). The resulting album sounds a bit “otherworldly.”

“We were trying to get to a place where cultural constructs didn’t mean anything,” Spies said. “We wanted to destroy the barriers between all the things we keep separate in our daily lives.”

The lead single, “Juicy,” has a sing-song cadence that occasionally lapses into neo-psychedelia. It’s extremely pleasant on the ears!

Listen to “Juicy” by Radiation City on Soundcloud:

The album takes its name from the condition “synesthesia,” which can cause a person to see colors when they hear musical notes, as Lizzy apparently does! Lizzy and Cameron are joined by their bandmates drummer Dasha Shleyeva, drummer Randy Bemrose, and bassist Patti King, and they are hitting DC9 on Monday, Feb. 29 on their tour in support of the new album.

Seattle indie rockers Deep Sea Diver open for Radiation City. Tickets are available online!

Radiation City
w/ Deep Sea Diver
Monday, Feb. 29
Doors @8:30pm
All ages