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S​/​T

by Rainer Maria

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    Includes unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality downloads of Catastrophe Keeps Us Together, S/T, Anyone In Love With You (Already Knows), Long Knives Drawn, A Better Version of Me, Hell and High Water, Atlantic, Look Now Look Again, and 3 more. , and , .

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1.
I powered up Owned who I was Changed how I look Broke open love I fell enough I took offense Mangled my heart Broke open love As darkness falls into my arms So must you fall I'll take it all I fell enough On the defense Mangled my heart Broke open love (I know I'm breaking down) I don't wanna break down (I know I'm losing out) I don't wanna lose out (I know I'm fucking up) I don't wanna fuck up I know I'm losing out I know I'm breaking down I fell enough I took offense Mangled my heart Broke open love (I know I'm breaking down) I don't wanna break down (I know I'm losing out) I don't wanna lose out (I know I'm fucking up) I don't wanna fuck up I know I'm losing out I know I'm breaking down Broke open love
2.
I got patience, you're cunning Fit to my stray hand like a Schiaparelli glove Let the rest of the world be coarse Sitting around the table all day talking With the suicides and lazy eyes Longing 'til the stars align Let the rest of the world be coarse You stay sweet for me I paint the winters Marching round across our backs I lay upon the ceiling Counting mice escaped the traps Let the rest of the world be coarse Let the rest of the world scream hoarse You speak sweet to me Let me call you mine all the time You stay sweet for me Saw you on the table Constrained they carved your name You lay exposed open eyes It blew my mind to see your grin Let the rest of the world be coarse You stay sweet for me Let me call you mine all the time You stay sweet for me I love your cunning eyes And how you size me up Modigliani eyes I'll call you mine If you stay sweet for me Let me call you mine I'll mark the hour You stay sweet for me
3.
Lower Worlds 03:50
My loves drink deep Love, lust, and fire I hear them cry I hear them weep Will you be mine? Every time they speak Street lights like fire Every time they call I answer polite Will you be mine? Slam shut the doors to lower— Every time I wake To talk desire I hear it wail I answer in kind Will you be mine? Slam shut the doors to lower worlds Every time I wake To talk desire I hear it wail I answer polite Will you be mine? Slam shut the doors to lower worlds Will you be mine? Will you be mine?
4.
I'll never be alone if I can help it I'm talking to the flowers just to have a friend Do you see me? I'm nature's heiress Got a forest for a mattress Watch it grow Up I touch it And it feels real Imagine you were here Then we could do things I'm talking to the walls I like to play pretend Do you see me? I'm nature's heiress In this greenwood It's my palace Watch it grow Up I touch it And it feels real Underneath the dirt embrace Fingertips Pretend a face It feels real I can feel the walls growing closer Canopy of arms embrace me again Do you see me? Nature's heiress Got a forest for a mattress Watch it grow Up I touch it And it feels real Underneath the dirt embrace Fingertips Pretend a face It feels real Was it something That was nothing at all
5.
Blackbird 03:20
I wake up sweating Under the weight of my plans I once made a bargain Now I'm seeing it through to the end What's written on the water What's written in the wind These words will last a lifetime Cause some things just won't end What I am is what I always was Even pawns can take the queen What I am is what I always was Now it's coming back to me I'm back inside the shoebox And it's only yesterday The face that's in the mirror Wants to fall in love again What I am (what am I?) is what I always was Even pawns can take the queen What I am (what am I?) is what I always was Now it's coming back to me Don't stop now Can't walk away The wait is over Blackbird getaway Don't stop now Can't walk away The wait is over Blackbird getaway I once made a bargain Now I'm seeing it through to the end
6.
Possession 02:55
I want you touching I want you open I want no feelings you can own I want your fingers I want you urgent I want you down on your knees again Hold your head Hold your hand I need you bigger I need you honest I need to hear you call for me I need you ready I need you whole and I'll tear you open Call for me again Hold your head Hold your hand I want no feeling Not your possession I want no feeling Not yours I want no feeling again Hold your head Hold your hand
7.
I got flowers round my fingers Branches woven in my hair There is one thing that I value For nothing else do I care Ornaments I rained upon you Ornaments of empty on you Up above the clouds conspire Bound together to conceal In my head the sky was darker All the names I can't reveal Ornaments I rained upon you Ornaments of empty on you Did we cause the failing of the light? Who flies to the safety— There's no trace of where were buried There's no proof of how we felt Round and round around I wound around you like a belt Ornament I hung upon you Ornament of empty on you Did we cause the failing of the light? Who flies to the safety of my hand? Who wants to stay forever empty? I got vines around my fingers Moth wings tucked into my hair Your sex is all I value For nothing else do I care Ornaments I hung upon you Ornaments of empty on you Did we cause the failing of the light? Who flies to the safety of my hand? Who wants to stay forever empty I got flowers round my fingers Branches woven in my hair There is one thing that I value For nothing else do I care Ornaments I rained upon you Ornaments of empty on you
8.
Communicator 03:16
I'm afraid to look at myself Be a dear, turn the light down You just want to eat my heart out I might let you Might let you take it from me You just want to eat my heart out I might let you Let's communicate in whispers, low tones Honestly so far from home You should know when I bite down I won't let go Until you're shaken from me You just want to eat my heart out I might let you We'll let it all break down on the winding bones And when it all came burnt on the page Is that the way it goes on the wall all days? And in my eye it falls anyways on you Be quiet In time be quiet I'm afraid of guarding ashes Burning words and I am aimless You just want to eat my heart out I might let you Might let you take it from me You should know when I bite down I won't let go Until you're shaken from me You should know
9.
Hellbore 04:42
Hellebore, I'll give you the sun When stars fall I'll capture them I believe we've begun To get it right Behind my eyes Into my eardrums You whisper your words I want to hold them Hellebore, Little flower Your poison, mine Misunderstood I'd use you for good No one can doubt this time Evergreen Deadly power You were used to hurt You captivate Complicate Steal the breath of life Behind my eyes Into my eardrums You whisper your words I want to hold them Behind my eyes Into my eardrums You whisper your words I want to hold them

about

If you happened upon the front page of the New York Times arts section on April 13th, 2006, you might likely have been taken by one of two reactions. Perhaps “Who?” Or maybe for the long devoted adherents, “Finally!” There they were, a trio who came up in the idealistic confines of Madison, WI, and the fertile incubator that was the Midwest’s ‘90s indie rock scene, now perched atop a Brooklyn warehouse with the sunset-drenched Manhattan skyline behind them. Momentary conquerors at what would turn out to be the tail end of a decade of trailblazing creativity, Rainer Maria had reached a mountaintop of sorts, and yet by the end of the year they’d be bidding farewell to sold out crowds at the Bowery Ballroom and Williamsburg Brooklyn’s now almost mythical DIY haunt, Northsix.

A decade earlier, during the summer of 1995, Kaia Fischer, William Kuehn, and Caithlin De Marrais, collectively Rainer Maria, were getting their start in a college town not necessarily known as a nexus for any scene. That isolation may have proven fruitful as they crafted their own unique sound, spinning raw and tumultuous emotion into introspective rock songs, with literary and philosophical interests and influences that endeared them to many also searching through the underground for their place in the world. A self-titled EP released in 1996 would be followed by signing to the then nascent Polyvinyl Records and the release of their first full-length albums, Past Worn Searching and Look Now, Look Again.

Those first releases, paired with an ambitious amount of time spent in DIY spaces, basement shows, and rock clubs throughout the US, fostered a dedicated following for the trio while connecting them to other scenes and musicians throughout the country. Rainer Maria, likely without realizing it at the time, were on their way to cementing themselves as an early cornerstone for Polyvinyl, and as ambassadors of the mid-west indie rock scene now so revered by later day musicians and fans. In 1999 they moved to New York City, in part to be closer to family and loved ones, but with the added effect of further unconsciously spreading that gospel.

Throughout the first half of the aughts, Rainer Maria would release three more full-length albums. Evolving their sound as they tightened their craft, the band continued to hit the road with opening acts ranging from Ted Leo and Rilo Kiley to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, whom Rainer Maria took out on tour for the then young band’s first string of East Coast dates outside of New York. By 2006, however, Rainer Maria were feeling the strain of having spent life since their late teens as part of the same band. Collectively, they felt a desire to explore other avenues of living, and so, after a few rapturous farewell shows attended by fans from around the world, Rainer Maria hung up their hats.

De Marrais moved out of the City, releasing two well-regarded solo records of intricate, meticulously crafted pop. Kuehn spent time living in Syria and Yemen, studying and playing music with a variety of artists with all sorts of different approaches and ideas. Fischer studied Tibetan language and Tibetan Buddhism at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University, a journey that brought her into a traditional-style Tibetan apprenticeship and eventually to living in Asia. (During this time, she also came out as a trans person.)

Over the years that followed, offers for shows would come in every so often, but the band were neither emotionally nor geographically prepared to seriously entertain them. Slowly but surely though, they migrated back to the New York City area, and perhaps more importantly, had moved further along on their own personal journeys. So when the latest offer came in a few years ago, the three got together for dinner to catch up and feel out where they all were both personally and musically. While none of them yet felt the allure of the stage, all three were excited with the idea of writing and recording together again, and so in lieu of any new shows, they began the process of writing the songs that would become S/T.

Guided by their shared history as songwriters, and buoyed by their recent adventures and explorations in music and life as individuals, S/T fits like well worn boots with the spring of new soles. Intuitively written without much post-mortem intellectualization, the album benefits from its origin as an exercise in fun between old friends who didn’t necessarily have the intention of releasing a new record when they started down the path.

The lyrics are full of natural imagery, influenced by the more pastoral setting outside De Marrais’ window—soil and greenery, weather patterns, and other markers of country life. While sonically, S/T retains and even amplifies the core grit and vigor that Rainer Maria has always had as a band. The album also benefits mightily from Kuehn’s hand at production, his first time doing so for a Rainer Maria release. His bandmates implicit trust in him is a guiding force allowing each song to take on its own distinct life without losing a sense of overall cohesion.

In listening, one gets the feeling Rainer Maria were far from the end of their road together as they stared towards the horizon from that rooftop in April 2006, but rather have much further yet to travel.

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released August 18, 2017

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Rainer Maria Brooklyn, New York

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