Ra Ra Riot emerged in the great indie rush of the late 2000s alongside other pop-leaning rockers like Vampire Weekend, Passion Pit and Local Natives. They have close ties to Vampire Weekend, in particular: Ra Ra Riot’s 2015 earworm “Water,” also from 2016’s Need Your Light, is a collaboration with former Vampire Weekend member Rostam Batmanglij. Rostam is as skilled a producer as he is a musician, and “Water” is still as catchy today as it was almost four years ago, when Wes Miles first pleaded, over brooding piano and heavy beats, “Don’t punish me for what I feel.”
The band also recently released a new single, “This Time of Year,” which is the first from an album due out sometime next year. Ra Ra Riot stopped by the Paste Studio on Tuesday, Dec. 4, to play that tune, a slightly stripped-down version of “Water” and “Backroads,” a yet-to-be released song that will also appear on the new record. Watch the whole set below.
Ra Ra Riot are originally from Syracuse, N.Y., but are now based in Brooklyn. Their most recent full-length album was Need Your Light, plus this year they shared a 10th anniversary reissue of their debut album, The Rhumb Line. Rostam has been keeping busy too. This year, he produced songs for musicians like Maggie Rogers, released a dreamy new single (from his forthcoming second solo album) and guided us to good taste in a series of curated Spotify playlists.
Again, you can watch Ra Ra Riot perform in the Paste Studio below. Further down, watch them perform in the Paste offices in Decatur, Ga., circa 2009.