Song of the Day: Rainer Maria – Lower Worlds

photo by Shawn Brackbill

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Lower Worlds” by Rainer Maria from the upcoming 2017 album S/T, out August 18th on Polyvinyl Records.

Rainer Maria – Lower Worlds (MP3)

Madison, Wisconsin emo group Rainer Maria’s existence has always been closely tied to chaos. Whether it was the group’s tendency to use a sonic assault of guitars to back their emotionally piercing lyrics or their on-and-off-again nature (upcoming album S/T finds the group reuniting for the second time), the group has always kept fans and listeners on the edges of their seats. So, when 2006 album Catastrophe Holds Us Together ironically signaled the groups second break up and the years went by without any murmur of a reunion, it appeared like entropy had finally gotten the best of them. It seemed the band had truly moved on in the eleven-year break in which band members Caithlin De Marrais released two pop-rock leaning projects, Kaia Fischer studied Buddhism and came out as trans, and William Kuehn moved to Syria. But just as chaos destroys, so to can it create, and after an eleven-year hiatus, Rainer Maria announced their return with S/T single and song of the day “Lower Worlds.”

While the group members clearly grew individually during their time away from the band, “Lower Worlds,” shows that Rainer Maria has grown as a unit as well. The song is crisp but fierce, displaying steady but swaggering guitar riffs that march along to riot-inducing vocals. The song certainly feels less “emo” than previous Rainer Maria work, but the sonic grit and stimulating lyrical assault that Rainer Maria built their name on are certainly still present. Time and time again Rainer Maria have bottled the chaotic capacity of life into four-minute intervals, and “Lower Worlds” is a triumphant announcement to the world that they are back, conquering chaos once again.

Rainer Maria will be in Seattle to play Neumos on October 5th. In the meantime, keep up with the band on their Facebook and website and watch the music video for their 2004 track “Ears Ring” below:

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