Animals in the Median
Tender Loving Empire
Dreamy and wistful is the default mode for plenty of modern bands that haven't figured out who they want to be when they grow up, but the striking Portland, Oregon quintet Radiation City shows how to do it right. Their second album, Animals in the Median, shimmers like a unearthly mirage, weaving together misty melodies, analog electronics and the siren vocals of keyboardist Lizzy Ellison to create a poignant sense of faded optimism and missed opportunities. Hazy gems such as "Wash of Noise" and "Lark" echo the melancholy retro-futurism of Stereolab, albeit with a more delicate touch, while the gauzy "Wary Eyes" evokes the gently eerie sensation of hearing soft music from another room at 3 a.m. Ellison and company could create a great soundtrack for David Lynch.