Friday, September 27, 2013

Rainer Maria ‎– Atlantic (1999)

On Sunday during a band practice I attacked myself with a drumstick when it slipped out of my hand and cut up a large area under my left eye. Because I'm such a rock star i finished the song before doing anything about it, and by then i had painted my snare drum a pinky colour, and I looked like I was doing a pathetic imitation of a Scottish warrior. Anyhow, lying in bed with antisepctic cream all over my eye area after watching the Superbowl, which was a damn good game by the way, I was listening to this ep and it managed to distract me from the pain of my eye. 

Rainer Maria have this astounding ability to rock without you really noticing it. This was not an element of theirs readily available on their first record, a gritty angst ridden scream fest of an album, and at first i didnt appreciate the change on the second record, because I naively thought they had forgot to rock. But just because you are playing these wonderfullly pretty pop songs, it doesnt mean you can't rock. This single is very similar to the last album, three songs with a greater emphasis on the girl vocals, which though suit the new sound, is one of the things that annoys me, because I thought the dual boy/girl vocals thing was such a great (and original) concept. But the songs, especially 'atlantic' are so good that this one little flaw seems so unimportant that it really doesnt matter. Buy this record, but don't do what i did and buy it at tower records for six pounds on import, and don't attack yourself with a drumstick either.
Dan Baker

Rainer Maria's Atlantic EP gathers three pretty, earnest songs that continue the quieter direction of Look Now, Look Again: the ballads "Atlantic" and "There Will Be No Night," and the relatively upbeat "Soul Singer." The first two songs in particular showcase the group's talent for writing subtly hypnotic guitar figures and feature some of Kyle Fischer andCaithlin De Marrais' best singing and harmonies. "Soul Singer" sounds more like standard-issue Rainer Maria, with driving guitars, catchy songwriting, and, once again, those harmonies. Atlantic documents another interesting musical shift in one of emo/indie rock's most engaging bands.
Heather Phares

Rainer Maria ‎– Look Now Look Again (1999)

DeMarrais' austere and slightly husky phrasing shines onLook Now Look Again (Polyvinyl, 1999), an album that refines all elements of Rainer Maria's approach. The best songs are more than music: they are psychological studies. Rise is an elegant, hymn-like composition that relies on a calm delivery (recalling Nico's childish odes) and on hypnotic strumming (the guitar-piano progression being eerily reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon). Discordant counterpoint and syncopated drumming form the backdrop for another noble vocal flight by DeMarrais, Lost Dropped And Cancelled. On the contrary, Breakfast Of Champion charges with blind fury and lets the male/female vocal harmonies duel almost free-form, with little respect for the melody. 
To the trio's credit, they animate each song with turbulent instrumental parts and creative interplay. To their credit, most songs have an impetus that is almost punk. On the downside, the noisy, chaotic arrangements of Feeling Neglected and I'm Melting do not seem to benefit the album's atmosphere.

Rainer Maria's Look Now Look Again could quite possibly be the last great album from the now tired emo rock scene. Using the loud-soft dynamics of emo and the catchy playfulness of indie pop proves to be a delicious combination, and Rainer Maria pull it off with grace and intelligence. Sometimes sentimental, but never too sappy,Look Now Look Again showcases the band's strongest attributes: boy-girl vocal dueling, stripped down production to reveal the core emotion of a song, and the melodic and furious attack of a band in its prime. Guitar, bass, and drums tastefully play cat and mouse, weaving in and out of each other, laying a solid foundation for Caithlin De Marrais' poetic lyrics. Her verbal gymnastics are a pleasure to listen to, lyrics like "Like foreign post/I leave twice a day, but take a week to get there" or "I'm certain if I drive into those trees/It would make less of a mess/Than you've made of me" are examples of her subtle wit. Although they probably will not be the messiahs of a dying genre, Rainer Maria will be a band whose creative future is beyond promising; Look Now Look Again is their proof.
Dale T. Nicholls

Oh god it's the new Rainer Maria and I at last own one. I could write some stuff about it, but the truth be told - this is my =2nd favouritest band in the world (I can have lists if I like), so I am not exactly going to tell you it sucks. Even so, I haven't seen a bad review of it yet. People keep saying: "well, it's not perfect, and there's bits that don't seem quite right, but, but, I love it!". Maybe that's some of the inherrent appeal of this band - that they aren't spot on all the time. Yup, the production is nice (an improvement on previous), yup the instrumentation is nice, yup the vocals are nice. And it all gels together fantastically, in a whirl of flawed emo indie rock beauty. 

It's not as dark sounding as the last album (though the occasional lyric begs to differ: "And I'm certain if I drive into those trees, it'd make less of a mess than you've made of me"), relying more on twinkly, sweet pop, or persistent, repetitious guitars that chime away, or even perhaps the occasional more driving track - "Breakfast of Champions" careens away at the start - and Kyle sings less too. The lyrics seem a bit more positive overall, though they are still exceptionally vulnerable, and poetic without being too obscure. I particularly love "Lost, Dropped & Cancelled" and "I'm Melting!" which are just awwwww-inspiring. But they do still do have those impeccable dual vocals from Kyle & Caithlin that just make you go. (just go). And "Feeling Neglected" could have quite easily been culled from "Past Worn Searching". 

First truly great album of 1999 for me. I know that it is going to be a long time before I press a combination of buttons other than "Direct + 3" on my CD remote when I am uncertain of what I want to hear next. 

My only complaint? It's not long enough. Caithlin could sing to me forever. I wouldn't get bored. Repeat play mode anyone?
Andy Malcolm

The band's second LP, Look Now Look Again, was released in April 1999 to the open arms of fans and critics alike. Stellar reviews and write-ups appeared in The New York Times, Alternative Press, Magnet, CMJ, and The Village Voice to name a few. Rainer Maria appeared in Spin three times in the latter half of 1999 and Look Now Look Againwas named one of the magazine's 20 best records of the year. The band would go on that year to record and release Atlantic, a three-song CDEP recorded at Pachyderm Studios (P.J. Harvey, In Utero) in August. Just days later, the band relocated to the East Coast.

Rainer Maria ‎– Past Worn Searching (1997)

Nestled inside any other genre, Rainer Maria's caterwauling duets would probably be hung by their britches — but this is American emocore, which necessitates musicians caress while sounding like atonal Wire demos. A tricky business, to be sure, and it's not an envious occupation. Past Worn Searching repeatedly builds on the deception of traditional rows and loud-soft choruses, puncturing holes in transitions, never minding the inclusion of off-key belts and stories of Hepatitis A. This is mostly a neutered trick despite itself. The album never overcomes its usual trappings either in the album's own ingredients — one can see the volume jolts coming a mile away — or the genre itself. In many ways, a beggar's version of the Tiny and Vanessa dynamics in Ultrasound.

Dean Carlson

Rainer Maria takes a unique approach to traditional emocore on Past Worn Searching, building their frenetic songs from a groundwork of delicate guitars and lovely male/female duet vocals. 
Jason Ankeny

Talk about preserving your anonymity. The cover of this CD - some kind of brownish / purpley textured thing. No band name, no album title. On the side of the box, in the tiniest writing ever, these 'minor' details are revealed. Of course, only an emo band would practice such self-effacing / pretentious (depending on your POV) behaviour, and that's what Rainer Maria are. 

You bought that Van Pelt album yet? You wanna substitute talky bloke for guy & gal vocals? Vocals that tug at your heart from every direction? You want to make it a little noisier? You got Rainer Maria then. Personal lyrics and melancholy tunes to drag you down, down, should that be what you want. Alternatively, a beautiful noise. 

Like the Van Pelt, RM deal mainly in simple, slightly minimal songs, occasionally exploding into sporadic action with bursts of emo-rock. "Half Past April" establishes everything they do in one song. The noisy, shouty vocalled section, against the more subdued, less intrusive bulk of the song. 

No bad songs on here, though admittedly once you've honed a style such as this, I expect it'd be pretty hard to mess up, as you can do virtually anything, and so long as it has some structure and ain't 'art', it sounds awesome. 

First time I listened to this, it rained. What an emo cliche. I'm going to put it on next time it rains too. Music for the depressed wuss in you. Go on, you know you want to.
Andy Malcolm

Past Worn Searching, Rainer Maria's first album, signaled the beginning of Rainer Maria as a full-time band. Recorded at the sweltering hot, now defunct Ghetto Love studios in Chicago during the summer of 1997, Past Worn Searching and its stripped-down production ushered the full arrival of dueling vocals, sonic excess, and youthful exuberance. That fall, Rainer Maria toured the entire continental U.S. for the first time — more than 50 shows booked by Kuehn himself, including a west coast tour with Braid.

Rainer Maria ‎– Rainer Maria (1996)

Wisconsin trio Rainer Maria, led by singer songwriters Kyle Fischer and Caithlin DeMarrais, specialized in a solemn and touching blend of "slo-core".

Rainer Maria is the first CD release by indie rock band Rainer Maria.
Rainer Maria ‎– Rainer Maria (1996) 320kbps

Friday, September 06, 2013

February Stars Union

Mid to late 90’s emo band from IL.

Once again, there is no info on this band, except for the fact that they were together during the 90's and from Illinois. They played sweet emo jams similar to My Favorite Citizen, Boys Life, and Christie Front Drive. There's a male and a female vocalist and which sounds really cool. Sometimes they scream a bit too which is interesting. Unfortunately they only have 7 songs. Evergreen Trio, who they did a split with, is also a very good band, but I think they only have the songs on the split.

1998 - Kicked Out Spokes 256kbps

Various Artist ‎– For Want Of... (1995)


A Christie Front Drive – After The Parade 
B1 In/Humanity – The In's And Out's Of A Waste Of Flesh
B2 Baby Harp Seal – New No Truth (Live)
C1 Torches To Rome – Torches To Rome
C2 Solar Bomb Kit – Wicked I Shift
D1 In/Humanity – Rocket Park
D2 Kurt – Franklin (Kleiner Landbesitzer)