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Ra Ra Riot

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  • Ra Ra Riot

  • Ra Ra Riot

  • Ra Ra Riot


Biography All Music GuideWikipedia

Group Members: Mathieu Santos

All Music Guide:

Combining indie rock with chamber pop flourishes (courtesy of a small string section), Ra Ra Riot formed while the band's six members were attending college in Syracuse, New York. Milo Bonacci (guitar), Alexandra Lawn (cello), Wesley Miles (keyboard/vocals), John Pike (drums), Mathieu Santos (bass), and Rebecca Zeller (violin) first came together in January 2006, creating an eclectic sound that allowed them to play alongside the Horrors, Bow Wow Wow, and Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin within a year of the band's formation. After pulling up stakes and relocating to New York City, the band recorded a self-titled EP and prepared to release it during the summer of 2007. That June, however, Pike died after disappearing one night from a party in Fairhaven, Rhode Island. His body was later found in nearby Buzzard's Bay. Several weeks later, the mourning bandmates issued a statement confirming their continuation as a band.

Ra Ra Riot joined the roster at V2 Records later that year before switching their American operations to Barsuk Records, who signed them in May 2008 and released their debut album, The Rhumb Line, in August. Reviews were positive, and Ra Ra Riot spent the better part of a year on the road, where they toured with bands like Death Cab for Cutie and headlined their own performances as well. During a lull in their schedule, the musicians decamped to a peach orchard in upstate New York, where they spent several weeks writing songs and recording demos. Those songs eventually made their way onto The Orchard, Ra Ra Riot's second album, which appeared in August 2010. In 2012, Lawn announced she had left the band. The band did not replace her and began work on new material. In 2013, Ra Ra Riot delivered its third studio album, the more synth pop-inflected Beta Love.


This article is about the band Ra Ra Riot. For other meanings of riot, see Riot (disambiguation). For other uses of Rara, see Rara (disambiguation).

Ra Ra Riot is an American indie rock band from Syracuse, New York, consisting of vocalist Wes Miles, bassist Mathieu Santos, guitarist Milo Bonacci, violinist Rebecca Zeller, and drummer Kenny Bernard.


Ra Ra Riot formed in January 2006, playing at houses and venues around the Syracuse University campus. They recorded a demo in February 2006. The band started to attract attention due to their energetic live shows, enough to gain an appearance at the CMJ Music Marathon, fewer than six months after their formation. Following this appearance, their live show received the first of several favorable reviews from SPIN.com, who called them "one of the best young bands we've heard in a really long time". They went on to open for Art Brut and Bow Wow Wow in New York City, toured the UK twice on their own, then returned, opening for the Editors (footage of which can be found on Crackle); they also toured North America supporting Tokyo Police Club. Their first solo headlining tour of the U.S. was completed in 2007, and in early 2008, they embarked on a second. The band was also invited to play the Iceland Airwaves Festival, in Reykjavík, Iceland. They have recorded three sessions on the national online radio station WOXY and three for the acclaimed Daytrotter sessions at Futureappletree Studio 1 in Rock Island, Illinois.

In 2007, they made their first appearance at South by Southwest and headlined a show at the Seaport Music Festival in New York City. The band returned to appear again at the South by Southwest Music Conference in March 2008.

On June 2, 2007, at 3 a.m., the band's original drummer, John Ryan Pike, of Hamilton, Massachusetts, went missing under suspicious circumstances at a party at Wilbur's Point in Fairhaven, Massachusetts after a show in Providence, Rhode Island. A search party discovered his cellphone on the beach at Buzzard's Bay. His body was discovered June 3, 2007 at 4:10 p.m. in Buzzards Bay; Pike was believed to have drowned. No foul play was suspected. Ra Ra Riot issued a statement a few weeks after Pike's funeral that they would continue as a band.

In July 2007 an eponymous EP of six songs was released on the Rebel Group label. In the winter of 2007, the band signed to major label V2 Records. To celebrate their new label deal, Ra Ra Riot released "Dying Is Fine" and "Each Year (RAC Mix)" on 7" vinyl as an A/B single. In December 2007, the band announced that they had finished recording new songs for their debut LP. During their show in Cambridge, Massachusetts on April 25, 2008, the band announced their new album "would be released in August. If not August then September" 2008.

On May 19, 2008, the band announced that they had signed to Barsuk Records. Their debut album The Rhumb Line was released on August 19, 2008 in the United States and Canada. It was released in Europe via V2/Cooperative Music on September 22, 2008. The music video for "Can You Tell" won Best Music Video in the 2009 Finger Lakes Film Festival on November 7, 2009.

In the spring of 2009, Barsuk released an EP, Can You Tell, featuring remixes, early demos and live recordings. The band released their second album, The Orchard, on August 24, 2010. It was produced by Ra Ra Riot and Andrew Maury. Nine of the 10 tracks were mixed by Death Cab for Cutie's Chris Walla, while one was mixed by Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij.

In January 2011, Ra Ra Riot were nominated for the 10th annual Independent Music Awards under the Pop/Rock Album category for The Orchard. Also in 2011, their song "Boy" was featured in a Honda Civic commercial and "Boy" was used in an episode ("A History of Violins") of the TV show Royal Pains as well as in an episode of Shameless. On February 10, 2012, cellist Alexandra Lawn announced that she would be leaving the band.

The band's third studio album, Beta Love, was released on January 22, 2013, and coincided with a live worldwide Internet broadcast of the band's concert that night at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn, New York. The album was the band's first studio album since the departure of Lawn and marked a shift in their musical style away from their earlier baroque pop and more towards synthpop. A video was produced for the song "Dance With Me".

^ "SPIN.com – We Depict a Ra Ra Riot". SPIN Magazine. Retrieved 2008-02-27. ^ "Ra Ra Riot announce debut UK shows". NME. 2007-04-02. Retrieved 2007-08-16. ^ "Ra Ra Riot to accompany Editors on tour". 2007-09-17. Retrieved 2008-02-28. ^ "Ra Ra Riot Amped for Tour". Pitchfork Media. 2007-01-23. Retrieved 2008-02-28. ^ "Best Music Blog Winners". Nielsen. Archived from the original on 2007-12-17. Retrieved 2007-12-25. ^ "Ra Ra Riot listing at SXSW festival". South By Southwest Festivals and Conferences. 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2007-02-27. ^ "Ra Ra Riot Drummer John Pike Found Dead". NME. 2007-06-04. Retrieved 2008-02-28. ^ "Ra Ra Riot News". Rarariot.com. Retrieved 2013-02-06. ^ "Ra Ra Riot Ready New Record | News". Pitchfork. 2010-05-25. Retrieved 2013-02-06. ^ "Ra Ra Riot". Independentmusicawards.com. Retrieved 2013-02-06. ^ Martins, Chris (2012-11-13). "Ra Ra Riot's Dancey 'Beta Love' Swaps Strings for Synths, Reinvents Band | SPIN | SPIN Mix | Songs". SPIN. Retrieved 2013-02-06. ^ http://uncoveredmusic.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/ra-ra-riot-dance-with-me-official-video/
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eMusic Features


Interview: Ra Ra Riot

By Kevin O'Donnell, Contributor

Ra Ra Riot were one of 2008's hottest indie-rock success stories: a preppy, college-educated sextet of friends who mixed gorgeous chamber-pop strings with tight, New Wave beats — think of them as a modern-day version of Fleetwood Mac. But Ra Ra Riot came close to falling apart: Just before releasing their debut, the band's founding drummer John Pike was found mysteriously dead in the waters of Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts, in June 2007. He was 22… more »


Who Are…Lost in the Trees

By Laura Leebove, Managing Editor

Some indie rockers simply accent their songs with strings and horns, but Lost in the Trees's symphonic elements — along with frontman Ari Picker's acoustic guitar — serve as the foundation for the folk collective's second release, All Alone in an Empty House. Re-released by ANTI- with the vocals and nearly all the instrumentals re-recorded, Empty House is at times haunting, majestic, delicate, overwhelming and celebratory. With the whole work revolving mostly around Picker's family's… more »


Who Are…Ra Ra Riot

By J. Edward Keyes, Editor-in-Chief

The Statement-of-Purpose lyric comes late in the debut by New York quintet Ra Ra Riot — long after we've been through sluggish winters and drowned ghosts and trips to Gloucester. It's simple and direct, and repetition makes it stick: "We've got a lot to learn from each other, we have got to stick together." This is no idle sentiment. Over the course of a fistful of months, Ra Ra Riot went from whirlwind of hype to… more »

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