Ra Ra Riot's unlikely birthplace is a peach orchard in upstate NY, where guitarist Milo Bonacci started writing songs during a house-sitting stint in the winter of 2005. The band, made up of Bonacci and fellow Syracuse University students Wes Miles (vocals), Alexandra Lawn (cello), Mathieu Santos (bass), Rebecca Zeller (violin) and John Pike (drums), gained popularity doing local shows, and soon graduated to bigger venues including the South By Southwest and CMJ festivals.
The band members suffered a shocking blow when Pike died tragically in an apparent drowning accident, only weeks before the release of their self-titled EP. Though devastated, they resolved to continue making music together in honor of Pike's memory.
Their debut album, The Rhumb Line, was released on Barsuk Records in 2008, featuring "Can You Tell" and the e.e. cummings-inspired "Dying Is Fine" as singles.
A successful blend of indie rock and chamber pop, the album garnered praise from notable publications including The New York Times and Rolling Stone, and Ra Ra Riot set out on an extensive tour.
During a break in touring, Bonacci and the rest of the group returned to the old farm house in rural New York to assemble their aptly titled sophomore album, The Orchard. Members of Death Cab for Cutie and Vampire Weekend collaborated with the band to complete the final mixes, and The Orchard was released on August 24, 2010.
Ra Ra Riot is currently touring in support of the album, and the video for their new single, "Boy," can be seen here.