|Ra Ra Riot (Photo credit: Shervin Lainez)
There is something so immediate about Wes Miles' voice, pure and sweetly sincere. I could identify it instantly this week as a new song "Water" was released ahead of his band Ra Ra Riot's fourth full length, Need Your Light (due February 19 from Barsuk Records.) This track is a collaboration with Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij, a musical compatriot in the band Discovery from 2005 to 2009 (with one self-titleld EP). The story goes that Miles was staying with Rostam last January and they simply started writing again. Rostam has stated that he felt that the live quality of Miles' singing hadn't quite been captured on record, so he took on producer duties as well.
Take a listen to "Water" via the lyric video, and see how nicely the vocals are isolated in order to spotlight Miles' endearing qualities in song, all while rhythmic beats and swirling synths surround him. Rostam also serves as producer of record for another tune in the new collection, "I Need Your Light." After the last album, 2013's Beta Love, Miles had planned to take more of a break but after a few months he says "the inspiration came very quickly." I'm still aglow from catching the band on tour in support of Beta Love after interviewing Miles for PopMatters, witnessing the group's infectious energy and impressive musicianship from the front row. Thrilled to know there's more to come from one of my favorite bands of all time, and looking forward to hearing the whole thing in February!