Place is the first EP by Rainwater, a follow-up to the Seattle band's 2016 debut album Swimming in Sunlight. A document of a cross-country move from New York City to the Pacific Northwest, these songs embody the ramshackle amble of the long drive itself. Full of radiant guitars, shuffling drumwork, and wide spaces, they glide like American roadside. As hushed and quietly beautiful as their debut, the serene atmosphere belies the anxieties in the lyrics. Like a diary written in the backseat, songwriter Blake Luley looks back at the places in the rearview and wonders about all the uncertainties waiting at his destination. Can home and happiness be carried with you, or are they forever elusive? Rainwater are hopeful, but deeply thoughtful, staring out the window. These thoughts are crystallized on lead single "Rolling Train", which clacks along like its namesake before dissolving into lingering echoes of longing.
Made with musicians from New York (Aviva Stampfer, Dane Zarra, Neil Acharya, Patrick Curry) as well as Seattle (Amy & Drew Fitchette, Jesse Botello, Storm Benjamin), the EP's bicoastal nature is reflected in a surprising variety of sounds and influences that nevertheless cohere into a singular vision. Beyond the familiar bedroom dream-pop sounds Rainwater has previously explored, they have also found themselves heavily inspired by the Ethio-Jazz of Mulatu Astatke, Angelo Badalamenti's Twin Peaks score, and the songwriting of Neil Young. Songs like opener "Driftwood" and the closing title track float on beds of vocals and hum with negative space. On "Coffee," a reverbed guitar solo drifts into a loping organ rhythm like a passing cloud, while "Ordinary Pain" escalates a doo-wop influenced shuffle into a soaring post-rock crescendo in under 3 minutes. These songs may pass by like hazy daydreams, but they are full of detail. The raw emotion invested in this EP suggests that this is not an odds-and-ends release of stylistic experiments, but a cohesive statement in its own right, and a sign of more curious, heartfelt music to come from Rainwater.
released November 3, 2017
All songs written by Blake Luley
Arranged & performed by...
Blake Luley: vocals, guitar, synth, piano, bass, percussion
Amy Fitchette: vocals on tracks 1-4
Aviva Stampfer: vocals on track 3, bass synth on track 6
Patrick Curry: drums/percussion on tracks 2, 3, 4 & 6
Drew Fitchette: drums on 1 & 4
Dane Zarra: guitar on tracks 2, 3 & 6
Jesse Ramos Botello: bass on track 4
Neil Acharya: saxophone on tracks 2 & 6
Storm Benjamin: marimba on track 1
Recorded by Blake Luley & Bryan Pugh
Mixed by Blake Luley
Mastered by Timothy Stollenwerk
for Stereophonic Mastering
Artwork by Noam Stampfer
Design & Layout by Ryan McCardle