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Ra Ra Riot: You Will Be My Beta Love
Let's Start A Riot
Formed in '06, Ra Ra Riot got their start playing houses and venues around the campus at Syracuse University. Fewer than six months after the band's creation, they appeared at the CMJ Music Marathon. Following that appearance, SPIN.com called them "one of the best young bands we've heard in a really long time" - the first of many favorable reviews. It's been a roller coaster ride ever since.
The Rhumb Line
Before the release of their debut LP, The Rhumb Line, the members of Ra Ra Riot would experience tragedy. The band's original drummer, John Ryan Pike, went missing around 3am during a party on June 2, 2007 at Wilbur's Point in Fairhaven, Mass. A search party found John's cell phone along the beach of Buzzard's Bay - his body was discovered June 3, 2007 at 4:10pm in Buzzard's Bay. He is believed to have drowned - no foul play was suspected.
John was credited as a writer on four songs from The Rhumb Line, including the poignant track Dying Is Fine, inspired by E.E. Cummings' poem dying is fine)but Death. John was known for his acts of kindness, and his mother set up a blog to honor his memory and inspire all of us to simply be kind to one another.
"In an effort to find a way that I could honor Johnny and make him proud of me, I have decided that on every full moon I would ask everyone I know to try to remember to do one, small, act of kindness". Paula Brophy Pike
Forgive Us, Oh Life, The Sin Of Death
Ra Ra Riot's sophomore effort, The Orchard, was released on August 24, 2010. If you have heard of Ra Ra Riot before today, it's most likely because of the second track on the album, Boy.
Ra Ra Riot was nominated for the 10th Annual Independent Music Awards, in January 2011, under the Pop/Rock Album category for The Orchard.
When I Fall In Love
Unfortunately, this would be Alexandra Lawn's last album with Ra Ra Riot. On February 10, 2012 news of the cellist's departure broke in an open letter to fans:
"While this is not a ‘goodbye’, the time has come for me to leave Ra Ra Riot.
Thank you for the wonderful 6 years — so many beautiful places visited, with incredible fans & close friends made along the way. I will carry on what I have learned from each and every one of you in future endeavors, whether it be music, becoming a pilot, or the next Iron Chef.
Playing music with Rebecca, Milo, Wes, Mathieu, John, Kenny, Gabriel, and Cameron has provided some very special opportunities in my life, alongside all the talented and amazing bands that have shared the stage with us throughout. I have learned so much from all of you, and most importantly, you have have taught me to strive every day to be a better musician and songwriter.
In addition to Alexandra's letter, Ra Ra Riot released a statement of their own - in part, it reads:
"Allie’s decision to leave the band reflects a true sense of self-awareness and is a testament to her continuous quest for contentment. Taking active control over your destiny is a sign of strength, and I am happy for Allie that she is pursuing whatever it is that she is looking for." -Milo & Ra Ra Riot
The third studio album from Ra Ra Riot, released on January 22, 2013, is directly influenced by sci-fi author William Gibson and inventor-futurist Ray Kurzweil, according to the band's members. The new album heavily features the synthesizer, while Rebecca Zeller's violin assumes more of a support role.
In the traditional human fashion, critics and fans remain split on the band's new synthpop sound. As a result, I challenge each and every one of you to watch the group's official Beta Love video below and refrain from dancing, or at the very least, smiling. The video features stock footage from Dance Party, a local TV show that aired in the ‘80s on KOFY in San Francisco. It was directed and edited by David Dean Burkhart, a fan who created the video and sent it to the band.
Now We're Getting Closer
"Why, tell me, why?
I wanna reach you with this binary mind
Cause if I do I'm sure that we'll be complete
That's why I need this binary mind
So I can forget how lonely feels" -chorus to Binary Mind