Rainer Maria to Reunite for New Year’s Eve Show

Marc Hogan

By Marc Hogan

Lead News Writer
on 10.15.14 in News

In 2002, Rainer Maria went on tour with an opening band called Rilo Kiley. A dozen years later, Rainer Maria are long defunct, and Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis recently released her third solo album, The Voyager, on a major label. Now the Madison, Wisconsin-born, Brooklyn-transplanted indie-emo trailblazers are back for at least one show — and a fresh chance at getting their proper due.

Rainer Maria are scheduled to perform on New Year’s Eve at New York’s Bowery Ballroom, as Brooklyn Vegan points out. The show will be the first from the group of singer/bassist Caithlin De Marrais, guitarist Kyle Fischer and drummer William Kuehn since 2006, when they played their farewell concert at Brooklyn’s North Six (now the Music Hall of Williamsburg).

Rainer Maria’s intricate, wordy, often-bittersweet songs existed at a crossroads between pre-Jimmy Eat World emo and pre-Arcade Fire indie rock, meaning their timing was never quite right to capitalize fully on either boomlet. Formed in 1995, the band released several albums on Midwestern indie stalwart Polyvinyl, among them 1999′s Look Now Look Again, 2001′s A Better Version of Me and 2003′s Long Knives Drawn. Their final release, 2006′s Catastrophe Keeps Us Together, was on the Grunion Records label. De Marrais also issued a spare, understated solo album in 2011, Red Coats, via End Up Records.

“When we were first getting lumped in with the Midwest emo scene, bands like Promise Ring, Braid and Joan of Arc, I was perfectly happy, because I love those bands,” De Marrais told me in a 2004 interview for UR Chicago. Now, the revolving dictates of fashion have made those types of groups the face of emo once again, with reunions in recent years by the Promise Ring, Braid, Joan of Arc precursor Cap’n Jazz, Mineral and Polyvinyl’s own American Football; newer bands such as Special Explosion and the Hotelier are also carrying the DNA from this particular family of emo. Rainer Maria might never get as huge as their one-time supporting act’s Lewis, but they still have a vast audience of should-be fans to reach.

No other reunion details are available just yet, but here’s to a happy, Rainer Maria-filled 2015.