Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Towing the Rhumb Line: my being a fan of Ra Ra Riot

As a serious music enthusiast, I oft go out and buy and watch indie bands. There are a lot of really good indie outifts there but it’s also a hit and miss proposition. Some albums I buy end up in the garbage bin or used CD shops elsewhere.

With Ra Ra Riot, I struck gold. I picked out their debut album The Rhumb Line on a whim and instantly fell in love with their music.

Interesting bit about New York’s Ra Ra Riot, they are now signed to Barsuk Records which became famous because of Death Cab for Cutie. The two bands share the gift of melody but that’s where the similarity ends. What adds to the lush sound is the string section of Rebecca Zeller (violin) and Alexandra Lawn (cello). They are far more than a hip addition. The strings can be every bit intense as guitar solo. Think Boyd Tinsley on what he does for the Dave Matthews Band. 

Behind the music, there’s a hidden pain and intensity after losing drummer and vocalist John Pike who mysteriously drowned after a show in Rhode Islands. The song “Dying is fine” a staple of their live shows became all the more poignant after Pike’s death. In the band’s second album, The Orchard, the band still pays tribute to their former bandmate with the song “Massachusetts” where Pike hailed from.

If you like the music of Broken Social Scene and Death Cab for Cutie then you’ll love Syracuse's Ra Ra Riot.


I prefer to buy CDs to this day to add to my huge collection of over 3,000 discs. I don't purchase fake or pirated CDs. I don't download illegally. I support the music industry not music pirates who are lazy thieving bums.

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