Autumn 2012* sees the release of The Poet’s Dead, the third and most accomplished album to date by Regina, SK sextet Rah Rah. Building on the strong foundation of their last release, the critically acclaimed and iTunes Canada championed Breaking Hearts, this new ten song effort effectively captures a band at the peak of their abilities doing what they do best.
The Poet’s Dead, recorded in late 2011 under the production guidance of indie-rock recording geniuses Gus Van Go and Werner F (The Stills, Hollerado, Priestess), clearly displays that Rah Rah has truly fine-tuned the essence of the band and refined the maturity of their sound.
"Recording with Gus and Werner was one of the most rewarding challenges I've ever been a part of,” says band member Erin Passmore. “They understood how and when exactly to push us and I'm so proud of what we've been able to create with their help and guidance."
Lyrically, The Poet’s Dead showcases some of their finest, most direct songwriting yet and is their strongest collective step forward. From the self-reflections of “20s”, “Prairie Girl” and the album’s title track to the wistful hope of “First Kiss” and the twisted anything-for-love paean “I’m A Killer”, the songs discuss maturity, growing up and life in a rock and roll band from a group that have spent much of the past few years doing exactly that. These are songs handcrafted to make you think, to create dreams and to break your heart.
Rah Rah formed as a trio in 2007, originally created by Erin Passmore (vocals, drums, keys, guitar) and Marshall Burns (vocals, guitar). By 2008 they had been joined by Kristina Hedlund (violin, keys, accordion, vocals) and Erin’s brother Joel Passmore (formerly of Despistado and Sylvie) on bass. Later that year another former Despistado member Leif Thorseth (guitar) also joined the band. The band is rounded out by its newest member, Jeff Romanyk (drums, keys, guitar).
The members of Rah Rah share a collective mentality, taking turns taking the lead, both in songwriting and while on stage. The melodic male/female vocals and shared instrumentation traded off seamlessly (Erin Passmore and Jeff Romanyk both play drums, keyboards and guitar, while Kristina Hedlund plays violin, keyboards and accordion), plus a true level of fun throughout ensures that a Rah Rah show will not disappoint.
“The members did a lot of instrument switching and almost everyone in the band sang lead on at least one song,” writes Andrew Sacher of Brooklyn Vegan in a recent live review. “And just in case their catchy songs weren't enough, their stage antics are sure to be remembered, which included throwing "R" "A" & "H" balloon letters into the audience, shooting out confetti, and breaking open a piñata at the end of their last song."
Rah Rah was crowned “Best New Canadian Band” and “Best New Alternative Band” by iTunes Canada in 2009. The band’s songs have also been featured as iTunes Single of the Week and Starbucks Pick of the Week in Canada. The band has toured incessantly behind their previous two albums, sharing tours with the likes of Minus The Bear in Canada and USA, Wintersleep in Europe and Canada, and label-mates Said The Whale. Expect the band to continue touring heavily in support of The Poet’s Dead.
*The Poet’s Dead will be released digitally on October 2nd and physically on October 22nd through Hidden Pony Records
Marshall Burns - Vocals, Guitar
Erin Passmore - Vocals, Drums, Guitar, keyboards
Joel Passmore - Vocals, Bass, Guitar
Kristina Hedlund - Vocals, keys, Violin, Accordion
Leif Thorseth - Vocals, Guitar
Jeffrey Romanyk - Drums, Guitar, keys
Dan Crozier - Guitar
The Poet's Dead (Oct 2012) - Hidden Pony Records
Little Poems 7" single (2012) - Hidden Pony Records
Rahmixes (2011) - Hidden Pony Records
Sailors EP (2011) - Hidden Pony Records
Breaking Hearts (2010) - Hidden Pony Records
Going Steady (2008) - Young Soul Records
Songs For Pasquala EP (2006) - Independently Released.
XPN my morning download
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While we wait for the release of Canadian indie-rockers Rah Rah to release its third full length alb...While we wait for the release of Canadian indie-rockers Rah Rah to release its third full length album, The Poet’s Dead – in the Fall on Hidden Pony Records – we’re going to have to be content with a new 7-inch single out on June 12th. “Little Poems” is the A-Side to the band’s new single that you can purchase here. The six piece band, formed in Regina, Saskatchewan, debuted in 2008 with Going Steady and followed by Breaking Hearts in 2010. In March, 2011 they released an EP. Rah Rah were crowned “Best New Canadian Band” and “Best New Alternative Band” by iTunes in 2009. Their music will completely set you on fire if you’re a fan of Arcade Fire, The Mekons, The Pixies and The Decemberists. With eclectic instrumentation, strong, anthemic guitar based melodies and harmonies that are sure to sweep you in with their energy, Rah Rah are one of the best new Canadian indie-rock band you’ll discover this year. Below, download “Little Poems” compliments of the band and Hidden Pony Records.
Brooklyn Vegan live review
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... The Friday show opened with a set from fellow Canadian band Rah Rah. Their set was full of upbe......
The Friday show opened with a set from fellow Canadian band Rah Rah. Their set was full of upbeat indie pop songs culminating in pretty huge choruses, which often brought to mind I'm From Barcelona (if they had like, 23 less members). The members did a lot of instrument switching and almost everyone in the band sang lead on at least one song. And just in case their catchy songs weren't enough, their stage antics are sure to be remembered, which included throwing "R" "A" & "H" ballon letters into the audience, shooting out confetti, and breaking open a piñata at the end of their last song.
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Dec 4, 2012 Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patric...
Dec 4, 2012
Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Patrick Stolley
There's the old joke, with the set up and the punchline being one and the same, that we've all heard. With the appropriate amount of timing, a frazzled married comedian can say, "Take my wife," pause for a beat and a half and then finish the thought with, "Please," and a general roar escapes from nearly everyone who hears it - man or woman alike. It's this strange pretend/real suggestion that most men were somehow coerced into marrying someone - they had to do it, they had no choice. They were backed into a corner and so they went out, bought a ring, got down on a knee and signed their life away, knowing that there might not be any going back on any of it, without it hurting three times as much. They locked themselves into a long-term agreement that was as binding, as ironclad as anything they would ever get involved with. They felt as if they stepped right down into the center of a set bear trap and there it was now, clamped like a bitch at their ankle, digging gruesomely into their shin bone. They had set the trap and stepped into it themselves, but somehow, they wanted sympathy, or others to commiserate with them about the bad spot they found themselves in. They wanted people to watch as they started trying to chew their own leg off, just to escape - get out of this holy matrimony.
The folks in the band Rah Rah find that they think about the married life good and often, sometimes in the way that it's thought of above, but mostly as something that their characters knew they were getting into. Occasionally, the hand was forced, as one hears on an older song, "Duet For Emmylou and the Grievous Angel," where they sing, "I won't miss you now, but I will once you're gone/And these are the reasons/I keep holding on/Because you are lovely and because you are home," qualities that they size up to be incredibly desirable in a woman. The song is a conversation - divided into two separate monologues, one from the woman's point of view and the other from the man's. Neither of them know what they're going to do with the other one and they vacillate between continuing to sit out there on the lake, with a pole in hand, rather than just cutting bait and walking away.
The big idea in the song is that, if this were any city other than small town Regina, Saskatchewan, marriage wouldn't have even been considered. It would have been more fashionable and practical to just remain single and have fun. The conflict runs throughout this collection of songs, however, where the idea of marriage is still one of romantic sensibilities. It's too hard to deny, so most people don't. Many of the people that this big group of friends (fans of all of the following, it seems: Neil Young, Blondie and Hall & Oates), write about are drawn to the perceived beauty of tying the knot. It's achieving the sunset, the porch and the quiet home, where everything settles the hell down and they can just read books and paint paintings with their best friend, all day and all night. They all find that there's more to it all that. They find out that bouquets wilt and die and that smiles and hugs are never permanent.
Interview Magazine feature
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Three Cheers for Rah Rah By Ryan Reed In the high school cafeteria of indie rock, Canadian sex...Three Cheers for Rah Rah
By Ryan Reed
In the high school cafeteria of indie rock, Canadian sextet Rah Rah would sit at the band-geek table. Their early songs are tuneful and literate but also dense—building layer upon layer of keyboards and guitars and strings, climaxing in massive epiphanies of sound.
The bookish art-school quality of their music remains intact on their third album, The Poet's Dead, which finds the band reflecting on the grueling ups and downs of touring life, romanticizing about the American Dream of domestic bliss. But from a musical standpoint, The Poet's Dead finds the band at its most playful and infectious, poised for an international breakout. Utilizing the skills of producers Gus Van Go and Werner F, their new songs are brighter and leaner, glowing with studio clarity and a hook-first approach to song structure.
Nylon Mag track premier
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Whether a fan of Grimes, Metric, Fiest or Purity Ring, we'd bet at least one Canadian band is curren...Whether a fan of Grimes, Metric, Fiest or Purity Ring, we'd bet at least one Canadian band is currently on your "Most Played" list.
And now, thanks to an exclusive new track from Regina, SK sextet Rah Rah, we'd bet those stats will soon increase.
Taken off the band's upcoming album The Poet’s Dead, "Prairie Girl" is the kind of song we imagine playing during the end credits of an awesome indie movie- one that leaves you totally satisfied, yet dying for more.
The song's somewhat deceptively upbeat, but as singer Erin Passmore (who wrote the track) explains, it's got a bit of angst behind semi-sweet lyrics.
"I'm so completely a prairie girl, even if I don't want to admit it," says Passmore. "When you're away from your home, you get a different perspective. Like, even though it's your home, you kind of feel like you don't belong. (The song) is a lot about allowing myself to feel that way, and not feeling guilty about it."
Stream the track below and get excited to hear the full album come October 22nd!
Filter Magazine Q&A
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If you are an artist, you understand that art will pull and pull at you until you succumb to it. T...
If you are an artist, you understand that art will pull and pull at you until you succumb to it. The need to create is an indescribable feeling that only an artist will truly understand. And this need outweighs the necessity for money, time and social interactivity. Because if you don’t follow art’s beck and call, you will feel the void inside you begging to be filled. In a sense, art has more control over you than you do over it.
Certainly, if you choose to follow the path of an artist, you are going to receive criticism, whether it is people critiquing your work or your parents telling you to get a “real job.” Following this path may not be something anyone other than you has to understand. Art is just something that’s inside of you and you have to release it because otherwise you suffer for it.
Rah Rah, a folk band from Regina, Saskatchewan in Canada knows all too well this need to create art, and music specifically. In fact, their newest release, The Poet’s Dead, explores this notion of art through the lens of the poet. But poetry is not limited to its definition as a literary art form; in fact, it is a way of life—the very life described above.
The Poet’s Dead will be released on October 22 via Hidden Pony Records. I spoke with one of Rah Rah’s songwriters, Marshall Burns, who wrote “Art and a Wife,” about being a poet, coming to the U.S., and living in Canada. Check it all out below.
How do you feel about your reception in the U.S. compared to Canada?
So far, it’s just been fun. But we haven’t done all that much in the States yet. We are kind of starting over a bit. It’s such a huge country, obviously, and there are a million bands. We’ve had a few small tours there and went to SXSW. We’ve only had good experiences there, so we’re looking forward to spending more time down there.
Why haven’t you pushed yourselves much to come here so far?
A big part of that is the cost of coming down and having contacts to make it down. To get the visas and the paperwork to make it across the border is quite a process, and an expensive process. It’s just been in the last couple years that we’ve be starting to do that a bit more and trying to visit some of these cities more frequently, like Chicago and New York.
For us living in the States, what do you want us to know about Rah Rah?
We just want people to hear the record. We’re really proud of it. It’s a really solid album, and I think if people hear it they’ll be interested in checking out the band. We put on a fun show too. We like to shoot off confetti and we have big balloons. We like to have fun with our shows.
What are you most proud of on the new album?
The band really came together during the writing and recording of the album. In terms of working together, we were really working toward making the songs the best they could be. Everyone was able to put their self-interests aside, and that was an important process for the band to go through. It really benefitted the album as a whole. If the dynamics in the band are strong, that will come through in the music.
After listening to the album, it seems like the idea of a poet is interesting to you. Why do you think that is?
That’s definitely a main theme, lyrically, on the album. It was a conscious decision. There are three main lyricists in the band: Kristina [Hedlund], Erin [Passmore] and I. That makes it difficult sometimes to get everybody on the same page. But we’ve had some discussions about what we wanted to tackle with this album and what we wanted to explore lyrically. And that was one idea we were all working with. The idea of songwriting and making music: what is driving us to be in this band and to sleep on people’s floors every night? It’s a crazy thing that we’ve been doing for four years now, just driving around, crashing on floors, and being away from home for no money. Something is fueling us; it’s poetry I guess, or music.
You’ll see a million bands out there right now making music and touring around. They aren’t doing it for money or any other reason that it’s just something they have to do. That’s a really fascinating aspect of human nature.
Do you consider yourself a poet?
Anyone who is writing lyrics or words down on a page is a poet, in my opinion. So in that sense, absolutely. I equate the idea of a poet with the idea of a musician or an artist. The poet is symbolic of art in general. A poet is anyone who expresses themselves artistically in any way, which is pretty much everybody. It’s not like the 18th Century British guy in a top hat writing. It’s anything that is coming from the heart is being expressed in an interesting way.
How does living in Regina influence you in terms of art or music? How would you describe the music community there?
It is very supportive and there are a lot of great people. People ask us that a lot because we come from a smaller city and it’s notoriously cold. Of course it has shaped us, but that would be the same for anybody anywhere. Wherever you grow up is going to shape you. It’s hard to pin down exactly why that is, but it definitely has.
Regina brought us all together and put us in the band; it’s always been good to us. There’s a reason why we’re still living there. People always say, “You should move to Toronto or Vancouver.” But we’re really quite happy in Regina, and that’s where our family is. There are good people there. Until that changes, we’ll probably stay there.
Pop Matters 20 questions
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They're Canada's next big thing, a band with pop smarts and a live show that can't be missed, and he...They're Canada's next big thing, a band with pop smarts and a live show that can't be missed, and here they tell us everything you need to know: why Bob Dylan is amazing, which Prime Minster they're not a fan of, and which band they'd like to eat vindaloo with.
It continues to amaze just how long it takes for some bands to get the payoff they deserve.
Case in point: look at Rah Rah: here’s a group of energetic Canadian songsmiths who have gone from party-hearty rock ‘n’ roll animals to established pop veterans, gaining great notoriety in their homeland but only recently did they start making inroads in the States and abroad. The original founding trio of Erin & Joel Passmore and Marshall Burns (multi-instrumentalists all) slowly began absorbing members of other bands like Despistado, creating a sound that was energetic but not without a through-line of actual musicianship, as violins, keys, and numerous things being pounded on created a sound that was dense but accessible, thoughtful but also dance-inducing as well. In short, the group was very much out to do their own thing, and are still waiting for the world to catch up.
Now, with this year’s The Poet’s Dead garnering attention even before its release, the group is slowly working their way into the mainstream. Since their formation in 2005, one of the hallmarks of the group has been their raucous live shows, featuring pom-poms, Pop Rocks, and a whole slew of colorful clothes that helped the group form a bond with their audience in the form of a giant party. Yet despite their unabashed enthusiasm, The Poet’s Dead shows the group a bit more stripped down, a bit more formal, and very much in tune with their vision. “Prairie Girl” would be a carefree hit in lesser hands, but is a wonderfully smart song in Rah Rah’s, smart and catchy at the same time without having to concede to anything. It’s what makes the group’s sound work, and is what is bringing them attention still even months after the disc’s release.
Now, founding member Marshall Burns takes another step forward with PopMatters’ 20 Questions, here revealing an affinity for Bob Dylan and Moonrise Kingdom, discovering Howlin’ Wolf for the first time, and which band he would’ve felt most at home with while wearing a leather jacket and eating vindaloo . . .
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1. The latest book or movie that made you cry?
When I was 13, I read the Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman and the ending made me tear up. I haven’t cried since.
2. The fictional character most like you?
The little boy in the new Wes Anderson movie Moonrise Kingdom. He is a romantic and naive to the greater world but is also very calculated.
3. The greatest album, ever?
Either Time Outta Mind or Blood on the Tracks by Bob Dylan. Lyrically he is unparalleled, while his talents as a guitar player and singer are greatly underappreciated.
4. Star Trek or Star Wars?
Star Trek all the way. One tour Kristina (violin/keyboards) and I watched all of The Next Generation on my laptop on the back bench of our old van.
5. Your ideal brain food?
Listening to new music that really floors ya. The other night I was played Howlin’ Wolf for the first time. I’m still trying to process that..
6. You’re proud of this accomplishment, but why?
I was an internationally-ranked table hockey player. It’s nerdy, and probably lame, but I still think it’s one of the best sports going!
7. You want to be remembered for . . . ?
Being a fair person, writing some good songs, and telling some good jokes.
8. Of those who’ve come before, the most inspirational are?
Musically for me it all comes back to Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, and Neil Young. I also love Woody Allen’s humor and the way that he tells stories.
9. The creative masterpiece you wish bore your signature?
The first Ramones album. I think I woulda felt pretty badass wearing a leather jacket and eating some chicken vindaloo with Joey down on the Bowery.
10. Your hidden talents . . . ?
I’ve gotten pretty good at making mojitos lately. I’ve been living at my cabin all summer . . .
11. The best piece of advice you actually followed?
My parents told me to take my time with school and focus on making music. I am still taking classes when I can, but I don’t feel badly anymore about putting off school to see where the band can take me.
12. The best thing you ever bought, stole, or borrowed?
When I was 14, my neighbor Les lent me his Telecaster for a year. Before that I had only played acoustic guitar. It was a revelation.
13. You feel best in Armani or Levis or . . . ?
I like my clothes to be somewhat clean, to somewhat fit, and to preferably not be made in China.
14. Your dinner guest at the Ritz would be?
Wilco. I would ask them about their gear and how they balance their personal and professional lives. Every interview I’ve seen with Jeff Tweedy he appears very articulate with well thought-out and unique ideas about songwriting and music in general.
15. Time travel: where, when, and why?
To a future time when space travel is cheap. To an alien planet. I wanna go to space.
16. Stress management: hit man, spa vacation, or Prozac?
Hanging out at my cabin. I like just sitting on the beach, doing the daily crossword, sitting around the campfire and listening to records.
17. Essential to life: coffee, vodka, cigarettes, chocolate, or . . .?
I don’t drink coffee or smoke. I love beer, potato chips, and the Blue Jays, but I wouldn’t say that they are essential in that I could live without them if I needed to . . . family and music are the true essentials but that is obvious . . .
18. Environ of choice: city or country, and where on the map?
Country. Lumsden Beach in the Qu’Appelle Valley. Thirty minutes north of our home town Regina, Saskatchewan.
19. What do you want to say to the leader of your country?
You have slashed funding to arts and culture, torn apart environmental protection, and shown disregard to First Nations. I have lost all respect for you.
20. Last but certainly not least, what are you working on, now?
Rehearsing with Rah Rah for a fall full of touring. It’s gonna be a lot of fun and I’m really excited to start playing our new songs live.
Rah Rah - Breaking Hearts - Review
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The concept behind Rah Rah is a familiar one for Canadian indie rock fans: a collective of friends...
The concept behind Rah Rah is a familiar one for Canadian indie rock fans: a collective of friends bashing away on guitars and violins, trading off lead vocals and coming together for shouted group choruses and harmony-laden crescendos. The comparisons are obvious, especially when you hear a song like "Arrows," which barrels along like the caffeine-addled spawn of "Cause = Time" and "Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)." Thankfully, such comparisons only tell half of the story for Rah Rah. They branch out on the electro-tinged "Beaches," which places the band members' voices overtop a sparse arrangement consisting of little more than a canned drum loop and kitchen-sink percussion. Other forays include twee ukulele ditty "Communist Man" and thundering, romantic apocalypse "Breaking Hearts." These songs show that even though Rah Rah may seem a little familiar, there's plenty of room on the Canadian music scene for another baroque rock ensemble.
NXNE Showcase Review - Things That Go Pop!
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The last day of NXNE always feels a bit like the circus has left town. Big-ticket performers are gon...The last day of NXNE always feels a bit like the circus has left town. Big-ticket performers are gone, fewer venues are hosting NXNE gigs and festivalgoers are showing major symptoms of battle fatigue. But over at Yonge and Dundas Square on Sunday night, the announcers assured throngs of eager fans: "Sunday -- and the party's still going!"
Miraculously, they were right. There were still a few gems left to hear in Toronto, starting with aforementioned New Jersey hip-hoppers De La Soul, who put on a vibrant show that felt more like an improvised blend of samples, music education and out-and-out block party than the rote rundown of hits I'd arrived expecting. The set involved a lot of audience participation, as Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo split the adoring masses into two halves, staging a mock rivalry in which fans had step up their singing and hand-waving abilities to prove their side of the crowd was the most hip hop.
Throughout this generous performance, De La Soul heaped praise on their Toronto supporters, giving shout-outs to Choclair and Kardinal Official, and noting, "You know why we're here? Because we love y'all." They also paused between all of the call-and-response to explain the importance of soul (and James Brown in particular) and emotion in hip hop - telling us to feel the music inside us, "like hip-hop sex." After reminding us that they were from an older generation of rappers, ones who got sued a lot for sampling honest-to-God records, the East Coast legends proved their considerable street cred by closing out their set with some old-school hits - including Me, Myself and I and the terrific Saturdays and Ring, Ring, Ring - that whipped the audience into a full-on frenzy.
NXNE could easily have ended on that high note, but as the festival demonstrates year after year, there is always considerable homegrown talent to discover, and the final band I saw, Rah Rah, felt like a real discovery. Based out of Regina, this six-person collective (three guys, three girls) put on a set that was a slow burn. Some of Rah Rah's earlier songs - centred around guitars, keys and drums, but with some accordion and violin thrown in for good measure - felt very western Canadian, with hints of alt-country in both Marshall Burns' guitar and Neil Young-y vocals.
But as the set continued, the Rah Rahs morphed into something far more impressive. All six bandmates displayed considerable musical chops, and there was something awe-inspiring about watching all of them swap positions and instruments throughout in some inspired onstage version of musical chairs. Regardless of who was playing, all six clearly have a knack for well-crafted indie pop, pairing clever lyrics and truly pretty harmonies with enough shimmering guitars to earn them comparisons to Broken Social Scene.
I'm curious to see if Rah Rah's discs capture the same passion and energy they exuded onstage, where at different moments, the band members playfully mimed out key lyrics, sprayed listeners with confetti and smashed a pinata to bits, all while creating an addictive wall of sound with their various instruments. The crowd ate this up, and by gig's end, it felt a little like attending a raucous high school house party hosted by a band of misfits. They provided the perfect, upbeat closer for this year's NXNE, and I expect to be hearing a lot more from them.
This Week's Feature: Rah Rah - Breaking Hearts
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IN A NUTSHELL Simply put, Breaking Hearts is a great album from a great band. THE STORY I hones...IN A NUTSHELL
Simply put, Breaking Hearts is a great album from a great band.
I honestly didn't know what to expect from Breaking Hearts, Rah Rah's second full-length release. I mean, yes, I was obsessed with their first full-length, Going Steady, and yes, I've probably seen them live enough times that I should have a good idea of where the band is headed, sonically speaking. Despite those two facts, however, I'd still be hard-pressed to define the band's sound, let alone predict where they'd go next -- after all, for me, a big part of what made Going Steady such a success was the way it very clearly showed what the band wasn't (specially, they weren't just another Broken Social Scene/Arcade Fire clone) as much as it showed what they were, so I wasn't sure what they'd do once they'd gotten over breaking away from those first impressions.
It turns out that I shouldn't have put so much thought and/or worry into it. In many ways, Rah Rah-circa-Breaking Hearts are still simultaneously defining themselves as being similar to a cross between BSS and Arcade Fire, and something entirely different. On one hand, you have plenty of group vocals (i.e. "Henry"), and accordions, and big, chaotic climaxes in which the band sounds like they're barely holding things together ("Hurt Me Bad").
On the other, though, you have more than enough evidence of them being their own band, and this is what makes Breaking Hearts truly worth listening to. Songs like "Lightning" and the title track are certainly big and messy and chaotic, but they're all those things in a way that's identifiably Rah Rah. Whether it's the way Marshall Burns and Erin Passmore play their vocal styles off each other, or the way the band is able to bring order to their chaos (there are thirteen songs on here, and the average length is under three minutes), or just the way the band is clearly having fun, it's nearly impossible to listen to Breaking Hearts and not get sucked in.
It's probably that last factor -- the sense of fun -- that sets Rah Rah apart. What made the band so attractive in the first place was the palpable sense of joy that came through in their recordings, and it's great to see that that joy has remained even after three albums, numerous trips back and forth across Canada and enormous strides forward in songwriting ability. It's present in spades on Breaking Hearts, and I can't imagine listening to the album and coming away not feeling it.
Rah Rah - Breaking Hearts - Review
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There’s a line partway though Regina-based Rah Rah’s second album that sums up the band’s sound: “Go...There’s a line partway though Regina-based Rah Rah’s second album that sums up the band’s sound: “Go whistling in the rust” — the band’s pitch-perfect wall of pop is set against an aged and well-worn backdrop. Breaking Hearts shows a brighter, fuller production than Rah Rah’s catchy 2008 debut, but still retains its folky small-town roots.
A midpoint highlight, the guitar-driven “Lightning” chugs along, mounting in intensity with its thunderous cymbal crashes before settling down and sliding into the sweet, piano-backed “Waltz.” The variety in the music allows for lyrics ranging from sincere to silly, where the wounds of city living share space with Nietzsche jokes.
With vocal singalongs, duets, cheers and chants, Breaking Hearts is relentlessly kinetic and infectiously catchy. Every band member seems to get a chance to sing, giving the impression of a Broken Social Scene-esque collective. By the end, all the oohs and aahs are enough to melt even the most hardened cynic’s cold, cold heart.
Pop Rocks - Rah Rah - Going Steady
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Young Reginan melodic pop five-piece Rah Rah are part of a small but growing list of Canadian musica...Young Reginan melodic pop five-piece Rah Rah are part of a small but growing list of Canadian musical acts whose prairie upbringings have inspired music that sounds whimsical, airy and essentially pretty, with simply guitar parts, jazzy drumming and a soft violin or two. In this vein, Going Steady, Rah Rah's debut, sounds quite familiar. Yet, upon a second listen, the album loses some of its prairie rock similarities due to certain uncharacteristic experimental bouts of heavy guitar, punchier drumming and male vocalist Marshall Burns' excessive, yet well-placed, use of the word "fuck," which thrust the band into their own sardonic league of admirable musical juxtaposition. Lyrics are where Rah Rah prove their worth, intelligently and playfully projecting teenage themes of troubled romance and infatuation onto the listener. Going Steady is immensely creative, witty and wise-beyond-its-years, and Rah Rah are definitely up-and-coming, having proven with this record that they are extraordinarily capable and relatable musicians. (Young Soul)
By Jessica Carol
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There's just something compelling about this band, whether it's Burns's earnest delivery (shades of ...There's just something compelling about this band, whether it's Burns's earnest delivery (shades of a baritone Neil Young), the catchy tunes underpinned by rock solid musicianship, or the fact that one of their songs calls for a sound effect created by chewing candy into the microphone.
NXNE: All over the map
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"...Regina natives Rah Rah played an intriguing show at The Boat Club. Very accomplished despite the..."...Regina natives Rah Rah played an intriguing show at The Boat Club. Very accomplished despite their youth, Rah Rah plays immense, poetic rock tunes, particularly when Erin steps out from behind the drum kit to pair her feminine dulcet tones with the masculine sensibilities of lead singer Marshall’s voice. Most Regina lyric: “It is fashionable to be single in big cities, but not in small towns/In Regina, Saskatchewan, I fell in love with her frown.” Most Montreal lyric: “If I’d have crossed the language barrier, I might have married her....”
- Amy Luft
Rah Rah - NXNE Showcase Review - 2008
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There’s no doubt that Rah Rah are Canadian. Their beyond catchy but blunt rock songs were dressed wi...There’s no doubt that Rah Rah are Canadian. Their beyond catchy but blunt rock songs were dressed with keyboards and violins, and in a very Weakerthans-esque manner they brought their awkward sing-along inducing live performance to a crowded audience at the Boat that couldn’t help but clap along! Bred in Regina, their songs (mostly about love) really had a sense of home weaved into them, for example, “It’s fashionable to be single in big cities, but in Regina, Saskatchewan I fell in love with her frown.” It leads me to believe in the near future we’ll be hearing a lot more from these prairie dwellers.
by Sari Delmar
Rah Rah - Going Steady - Review
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Regina six-piece Rah Rah come awfully close to being another Arcade Fire copycat band. Most of the s...Regina six-piece Rah Rah come awfully close to being another Arcade Fire copycat band. Most of the songs on their debut album, Going Steady, are urgent with staccato guitars, marching drums, surging violin crescendos and collective shouting by the male and female band members.
They save themselves from crossing the line with the breezy, folky My Guarantee and Duet For Emmylou And The Grievous Angel, an unrushed tune about how being single is fashionable in big cities but not in small towns. The lyrics, in fact, are where Rah Rah really come into their own; Going Steady’s a realistic, vivid lament on the frustrations of young love.
Top track: My Guarantee
by Carla Gillis
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Rah Rah? What’s all the excitement for? The Regina six-piece released their first record late last ...Rah Rah? What’s all the excitement for?
The Regina six-piece released their first record late last year on Young Soul records, and Going Steady has been in heavy rotation on college stations across the country. They’ve also been cruising the festival circuit, playing Pop Montreal a few years back alongside Malajube and Wintersleep.
That’s a pretty sweet gig for some kids from Regina.
True, but don’t underestimate them. Rah Rah’s sound is equal parts orchestral pop, dreamy lyrics and soaring co-ed vocals; it’s reminiscent of what made Arcade Fire’s Funeral sound so exciting, though there’s also a generous serving of Neil Young in their debut. However, they won’t let the comparisons go to their head, as bassist Joel Passmore explains over the phone from his home in Regina.
“It’s nice to be compared to bands like Arcade Fire; they’re a great band, there’s no question. But we’re happy to just be ourselves.”
Does the name Joel Passmore sound familiar?
Passmore, along with guitarist Leif Thorseth, was a member of the now-defunct-but-popular-in-their-day group Despistado, who were signed to Jade Tree records. He also plays in the group Sylvie with his sister Erin, who’s a founding member of Rah Rah.
There’s a lot of member sharing going on.
And that’s exactly what Passmore loves about the Regina music scene, though he admits that it really sucks in the winter. “I’ve always thought about moving, just because of how ridiculously absurd the winters are. But it’s a really supportive community.”
The band seem more like a rotating collective than a solid group. Rah Rah started with Marshall Burns on guitar and keyboard, Erin Passmore on drums and Kyrie Kristmanson on bass, who left the band to go to school. After Kristmanson left, Joel volunteered to jam with the remaining two members. “Over the following year, we had some people just come over and play music together just for fun, and that became the band,” he says, explaining the addition of Kristina Hedlund on violin and Samra Sahlu on keyboards. “There’s no question that we’re all committed to it, though, when you go from just getting together with friends and playing, to touring and putting out records. But it’s quite casual and a lot of fun. That’s the reason we all do it.”
Yeah, but they’re pretty serious, right? Aren’t they “Going Steady”?
If you consider stuffing themselves into a tour van crossing the country to be a serious commitment, then yes, Rah Rah are in it for the long haul. “This will be our first coast-to-coast tour,” Joel says, “though we’ve played Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal before. When we played Pop Montreal, we were just excited and happy to be there. We were lucky, they were awesome shows and close to capacity. Now we’re ready to just play and have fun, and meet new people.
“Quite often we’ll get together before a show and just start jamming. That’s more what we’re about.”
And all that jamming is bound to produce another release from the band. When they finish touring at the end of June, Rah Rah will meet up with producer Kees Dekker in Montreal to work on a new album.
“We have at least 16 songs that we could record right now. We’ll be playing a couple of new ones on tour to test them out.”
Relix - On The Verge
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Mutually Assured Inspiration by Amy Jacques The high-energy Canadian sextet Rah Rah try to have...Mutually Assured Inspiration
by Amy Jacques
The high-energy Canadian sextet Rah Rah try to have fun with their often theatrical performances and engage their audience, whether it’s by “shooting off confetti, tossing out giant balloons or breaking heart-shaped piñatas,” says Marshall Burns (guitar, vocals). “I see the studio and the stage as two distinct art forms and our live show reinforces that idea.” Also known for their instrument swapping, Rah Rah have undergone several iterations since Burns first played music with high school friend Erin Passmore (drums/guitar/keyboards) circa 2004. The indie-rock group released their third album (and U.S. debut) The Poet’s Dead in October. “When we get together to start writing, it is a process of mutual inspiration cultivated from all of our diverse musical and non-musical experiences,” Burns offers. He says that the band plays tunes that sound “like a back-alley street fight between Steve Earle and the girls from Fleetwood Mac, [and] Karen O is taking bets on the side,” and notes the influence of Crazy Horse, ‘90s hip-hop, Björk and David Bowie among individual band members. As for what’s next: “Just touring to promote the new record,” Burns says. “Hopefully, we’ll be spending a good chunk of time in the U.S. over the next year where everything is cheap and maybe go back over to Europe where nothing is cheap but everything is awesome!”
From 15 - 90 minutes, as required.
|Jul 26, 2013 Friday||12:00 PM||Gateway Festival||Bengough, SK, CA|
|Aug 9, 2013 Friday||12:00 PM||Regina Folk Festival||Regina, SK, CA|
|Sep 20, 2013 Friday||12:00 PM||Heart Of Glass Heart Of Gold 2013||Ruoms, FR|