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Sister Kinderhook (Bonus Track Version)

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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.

Biography

Formed: 1992

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

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 Julia 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...
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Sister Kinderhook (Bonus Track Version), Rasputina
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