By Nick Jean
A part of what we wanted to do when we started OurBasement was to help draw your ears to new acts we think you’ll love but may not yet have had the chance to hear.
Picture if you would a mellowed-out Black Mountain and you’ll be most of the way to The Radiation Flowers. First brought to our attention by Carl Johnson’s (Library Voices) Instagram post, the Saskatoon-based foursome is made up of vocalist and guitarist Shelby Gaudet, drummer Amber Ross, Christopher Laramee on guitar and bassist Jay Allen. Born from a number of line-up changes from a band called Powder Blue, (with a letter from the Powder Blues Band proving the ultimate catalyst,) they released their second full-length album last year. The self-titled LP is an 11-track masterwork of droning, psychedelic shoegaze.
Now a four-piece after their keyboardist left the band, Allen said in a phone interview from Sault Ste. Marie their newest songs are “less synth-y,” as you’d expect without a keyboardist, “They’re a little less ethereal and a little less dreamy and little more noisy and guitar-driven.”
Below is an example of their earlier sound, a psychedelic track called “Go On Forever” from their first full-length, Dream In Black.
“We don’t want to feel we’re funneled or pigeon-holed into any category and I think our music can really appeal to a lot of people,” Allen said. “We get a lot of different comparisons when people talk to us about our music. Everything from Seattle grunge in the ’90s to ’70s psychedelia to ’90s shoegaze.”
In the first single, “Psychic Attack,” the fuzzed out instrumentation will put you at ease, but Gaudet’s vocals and Ross’ marching beat will get your hackles up and have you checking over your shoulder. You should get used to that feeling, too. It’s ever-present in the album. These Toontown rockers are like the beauty of a bloom in a post-nuclear wasteland. It may be pretty to gaze upon, but it might just try to eat you, too.
The band’s been exceptionally busy as they announced they were in the studio towards the end of May (more on that later) before departing on a self-booked, two-stage cross-Canada tour. The second, eastern leg being the eight-stop Summer Burnout Tour.
Unfortunately, Regina, Winnipeg and Thunder Bay are too late to see them. If you’re in Southern or Eastern Ontario, however, you’ve still got a chance. They have shows throughout the rest of the week in Hamilton, Oshawa, Toronto and Ottawa.
Wednesday, July 20 – Hamilton, ON @ This Ain’t Hollywood
w/ Comet Control and Hawkeyes
Thursday, July 21 – Bowmanville, ON @ Manantler Craft Brewing Co.
w/ Holy Mount
Friday, July 22 – Toronto, ON @ The Silver Dollar Room
w/ B-17, Vypers and Denim Skeletons
Saturday, July 23 – Ottawa, ON @ Dominion Tavern
w/ The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol and David Jackson
As for that studio stint, they have just released a split 7″ with a Swedish group called The Orange Revival for which just 300 copies were made, half of which went overseas. They have copies of that record with them on tour so you can pick one up there.
But that’s not the end for new music. They have also put the wraps on a six-track EP that will be released some time in the late summer or early fall. We’ll have news of that as soon as we can get it.
Check out The Radiation Flowers’ site at www.theradiationflowers.com. Both their full-lengths are available for you to pick up on bandcamp. Do so and you’ll hopefully “get out of the music what we’re trying to put into it,” Allen said, “a pure enjoyment of music.”