The most exciting release this week is a reunion album from a band I had never listened to – Rainer Maria’s “S/T”. I saw a recommendation somewhere in the blogosphere which is why I listened to a few singles which immediately impressed me. The new album is not a disappointment and I’m enjoying it quite a lot. I don’t know if it sounds like their earlier work, but I have a feeling I wouldn’t like their older albums as much as their new one.
Rainer Maria is an indie rock/emo (I don’t consider this new album emo by any means) originally from Madison, WI but now based in NY. First forming in 1995, the band had an EP out in ’96 which led to an album release in ’97. They released their second album in ’99 and then another EP in ’01. They continued to build a worldwide fan base and released their most accomplished album yet in ’03 “Long Knives Drawn”.
They would go on to release two more albums the next two years before breaking up at the end of their ’06 tour. Then 8 years later they reunited for a New Year’s Eve concert at the Bowery Ballroom in NY. They played some more shows the following year. Then this summer, they released several singles from their new album and released “S/T” today.
After Rainer Maria broke up at their peak, singer/bassist Caithlin De Marrais moved out to the country and tried a solo career, drummer William Kuehn spent time living and studying music in the Middle East and guitarist/singer Kaia Fischer studied Buddhism in Tibet and came out as a trans person.
The three friends found themselves all back in NY again, reflected on their significant life changes and decided to write some new music. And I’m happy they made that decision. “S/T” is a confident, heavy and spacious slab of indie rock that is very welcome right now. I’ve featured three songs below to check out from their new album.
“Suicides and Lazy Eyes” – Driven by a bombastic beat and a fuzz heavy bass line, this song makes an immediate impact. It’s also a good example of how the band can simultaneously mix heavy and spacious into their sound.
“Lower Worlds” – The band doesn’t pause between tracks on the album, kind of giving the vibe of a live show with one track moving right into the next. The transition between “Suicides…” and this song is seamless. But once you hear the distinctive bassline on this track you realize the song has changed. I love the riff on this track.
“Possession” – Starts off a little softer, but the rhythm section kicks in hard. I like how each of the three instruments is prominently featured in the mix and the guitar effects work really well to create a cohesive sound. Good stuff.