Ra Ra Riot

Lee's Palace Presents

Ra Ra Riot

Pacific Air

Wed, March 6, 2013

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Lee's Palace

Toronto, ON

$18.50

This event is 19 and over

www.leespalace.com

Tickets Available at: Rotate This, Soundscapes, The Horseshoe

Ra Ra Riot
Ra Ra Riot
Ra Ra Riot's third album Beta Love is set for release January 22 on Barsuk Records. The album marks the band's first outing as a four piece with members Wes Miles on vocals, Milo Bonacci on guitar, Mathieu Santos on bass and Rebecca Zeller on violin forming the core of the group. Beta Love's songs are informed by the works of cyperpunk novelist William Gibson and futurist Ray Kurzweil's musings on the technological singularity and transhumanism.

Inspired by their lean new lineup, the recording process found Ra Ra Riot's members exploring and re-defining their roles within the new makeup of the group. They built upon demos created mostly by Miles and producer Dennis Herring (Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello, Wavves) at Sweet Tea Studios in Oxford, MS. For the first time in their history the band recorded in a warmer climate and found themselves stimulated by the balmy Southern air and the physical setting of Oxford. Joined by session drummer Josh Freese (Devo, Nine Inch Nails, Weezer) the band enjoyed exploring its potential, experimenting with new influences and exciting sounds.

Mathieu said of the sessions, "Making the record was a lot of fun for us, because we were in a completely different environment, trying a completely new approach. We'd been used to arriving at a session with every song totally arranged and figured out, but in Oxford, a lot of the creative decision-making happened in the studio, on the fly. We wanted to be outside of our collective comfort zone for this record. We wanted to be open to new things happening. There was a lot of building up and tearing down with Dennis—a lot of problem solving, a lot of trial and error, and that was really exciting for us."

Formed in the basements and attics surrounding Syracuse University in 2006, Ra Ra Riot released their debut The Rhumb Line on Barsuk in 2008. NPR Music said their 2010 release The Orchard's "10 songs positively burst with sophistication, precision and polish."
Pacific Air
Pacific Air
There's nothing typical about Pacific Air. Even while growing up in Southern California, brothers Ryan and Taylor Lawhon didn't learn about music via the usual staples, but rather through their mother's unconventional taste in music.

"For most people, classic rock is nostalgic since that's what their parents listened to," exclaims Ryan. "For us, it's Enya, Deep Forrest, Laurie Andersen, and Ray Lynch because that's what our mom played in the house. New Age was our primary music knowledge as kids, and it definitely left an imprint."

Yet, the brothers were influenced by more than just their New Age musical roots. Despite the fact that they are decedents of a rural Alaskan family, Ryan and Taylor were born and grew up in Southern California and have never experienced a winter. The wintertime vibe must be in their blood, however, as their music at times possesses moody and ambient elements while still managing to maintain the warmth of their environment. The two nearly identical brothers drew inspiration from their virtually nomadic lifestyle, moving annually from one town to the next around the West Coast, and finding permanence in their collaborative capabilities. By the age of 15, they were in bands together, and not much has changed since in terms of their process.

"It's a lot like any sibling bond," Ryan comments. "We don't always agree, but we're surprisingly in tune with what we want to do. Taylor writes many of the rhythms and underlying chord progressions, and I'll write many of the melodies and lyrics as well as filling in on the production side. We're a great team."

In March 2012, they uploaded three original songs to a Bandcamp page under their initial moniker KO KO, the name of a boat they considered buying in the Newport Harbor. They had tracked the music on a laptop in the bedroom of their home, utilizing everything from guitars and bass to keyboards, synths, and organ. The setup wasn't fancy or extravagant, but it captured their spirit organically.
Within merely 24 hours of uploading the tracks, a Vice blog contacted the musicians. After two days, their music hit number one on The Hype Machine. A flurry of acclaim began to mount with features by tastemakers including MTV Hive, Disco Naivete, My Old Kentucky Blog, Neon Gold, and many more. The next week, Ryan and Taylor found themselves in New York for the first time to showcase for major labels. Embracing the drastic shift in weather had an incredible payoff for the duo, as their trip culminated with securing a deal with Republic Records.

Sonically influenced by their environment, but emotionally and lyrically exploring profound themes of death and self-exploration, the brothers found a style that is uniquely their own. In many ways, the first single "Float" provides an apropos introduction to Pacific Air's shimmering dream pop. Sun-soaked melodies cascade with bright beats, finger snaps, faint guitar, and laidback whistling as Ryan asks, "If we both get old, will you let me float away?"
The singer reveals, "I was literally floating between different things, and there was a real uncertainty about the future. The lyrics were born out of depression from that, but the music has a summer vibe. It's an interesting juxtaposition. I feel like the song is a youthful perspective on transition."

However, that's only one facet of their forthcoming debut four-song EP for Universal Republic produced by Chris Zane [Passion Pit, Mumford & Sons, The Walkmen]. A majestic organ swells through "So Strange" as synths careen in tandem alongside Ryan's elegant hook.

About the track, he goes on, "It's one of my favorite songs lyrically. 'So Strange' is almost like a sequel to 'Float'. The song talks about what happens after you've decided where you're going in life and your direction. It examines the insecurities implicit in that."

To some degree, Pacific Air's identity remains encapsulated in their name itself. Ryan exclaims, "It's a good description of our music and who we are. We've always lived somewhere near an ocean. It's where we've been most of our lives, and it's fairly representative of most of our songs, but I don't know if I would consider it surfing music. "

The music's otherworldly, sonic perspective really works well anywhere though. There's a universality in the brothers' bond that ultimately makes Pacific Air inviting, infectious, and intoxicating.
Venue Information:
Lee's Palace
529 Bloor St. West
Toronto, ON, M5S 1Y5
http://www.leespalace.com/