released June 15th, 2010

from the album - Holocaust Of Giants

from all music

The New York City-based trio Rasputina was led by singer/songwriter Melora Creager, a classically-trained cellist who backed Nirvana on the group's final tour. In 1992, Creager placed a want ad seeking other cellists to form a rock band; among those responding was Canadian musician Julie Kent, and with the later addition of Polish native Agnieszka Rybska, Rasputina was born. The three cellists' image further developed by the addition of tightly-laced vintage Victorian costumes, their gothic chamber-pop soon caught the attention of Sony, who issued the group's debut Thanks for the Ether in 1996; Transylvanian Regurgitations, an EP featuring remixes by fan Marilyn Manson, appeared a year later, and in 1998 Rasputina resurfaced with How We Quit the Forest. By the new millennium, Rybska and Kent had been replaced with Nana Bornant and K. Cowperthwaite. A deal with Instinct surfaced in 2001 and the magical mystery of Cabin Fever appeared the following spring. Bornant's stay was brief; she left in June 2002 and Cowperthwaite followed four months later. Zoe Keating (cello) and first ever male bandmate Jonathon TeBeest were quickly added to the beautiful chaos of Rasputina just in time for the 2003 release of the Lost & Found EP. Frustration Plantation, their most cohesive work to date, appeared in spring 2004. In 2007 the group released Oh Perilous World, a loosely-connected song suite culled from newspaper clippings that lead singer Melora Creager gathered over a two year period, then juxtaposed with the band's signature 18th century steampunk imagery.

album review

On Rasputina's seventh album, bandleader Melora Creager reconstitutes a new lineup including a new male member, cellist/singer Daniel DeJesus to continue her exploration of the string trio/pop song approach she has made her own over the course of nearly two decades. Released in a year when Joanna Newsom made her own most sprawling artistic statement to date, it's become all the easier to see how Creager and Rasputina served as a touchstone for many who followed. The lyrical focus of Sister Kinderhook is clear enough from the title and art alone the early decades of America and numerous features and story from a more rural existence. Framing the album with a song about "Sweet Sister Temperance" and using lyrics from "My Porcelain Life," Emily Dickinson is as much of a signal as anything, and not surprising given Rasputina's fairly consistent vision regarding a female-centric continuum of artistic inspiration. Elsewhere, there's explicit references to New York history ("Calico Indians," describing the Anti-Rent War of 1844) as well as more imaginative stories of the darker fairy tale variety ("Holocaust of Giants," "Snow-Hen of Austerlitz"). Yet it's the sonic variety of the album that stands out all the clearer, ranging from the high notes and closely sung words of "The 2 Miss Leavens" to the contrasting vocals and slowly descending chords of "My Night Sky" to the rumbling music box percussion and chimes of "Olde Dance" and those are just three songs in order out of 14.

Track Listing

1 Sweet Sister Temperance
2 Holocaust of Giants
3 The 2 Miss Leavens
4 My Night Sky
5 Olde Dance
6 Humankind, as the Sailor
7 Calico Indians
8 Snow-Hen of Austerlitz
9 Dark February
10 Utopian Society
11 Afternoon of the Faun
12 Kinderhook Hoopskirt Works
13 April Sketch
14 My Porcelain Life