Rainer Maria: “Lower Worlds”

Photo by Shawn Brackbill

Rainer Maria is a band from Madison, Wisconsin named for the great Austrian poet and thinker Rainer Maria Rilke (I probably knew of Rilke first, thanks to Ray Wylie Hubbard’s love of him). The trio released five, cult-classic albums before breaking up in 2006, and the last decade has seen a lot of changes for the band members. Singer/guitarist Kaia Fischer studied Buddhism in New York before living in Thailand and coming out as a trans person. Singer/bassist Caithlin De Marrais released a few solo albums, and drummer William Kuehn traveled the Middle East.

But now the three are back together with a new album called S/T (music speak for “self-titled,” but it’s actually just called S/T). Ten years is a long hiatus for a band, especially one that was originally built on a youthful, punk-inspired fire. Yet a song like “Lower Worlds” is the best kind of veteran-made music: wiser, but still in-your-face. It’s a pumping, breathing song, more Zeppelin than Sex Pistols (and proof that slower tempos can be just as invigorating and overwhelming). “Slam shut / the doors,” De Marrais screams on the chorus, but if anything, they’re flinging the doors wide open for a new generation of fans.

“Lower Worlds” appears on S/T, out now via Polyvinyl.

–Art Levy // host, Sunday 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., producer, My KUTX

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