Retsin

Tara Jane O'Neil met Cynthia Nelson in 1993, when their respective bands (Rodan, Ruby Falls) were embarking on their first sets of extended national tours. Sharing a love of simple home recording techniques and melodic indie rock, the two became romantically and musically involved in 1994, collaborating as Retsin while retaining membership in their other bands, as well as participating in a number of varied projects and acting in the independent feature film Half-Cocked. The following year, the duo signed to the staunchly independent Simple Machines label, on which they released their debut full-length, Egg Fusion. Constantly involving themselves in innumerable bands recordings, O'Neil began working with her chamber folk outfit the Sonora Pine, while Nelson set about recording the first Ruby Falls LP. For the next two years, Retsin toured extensively, both with and without a rhythm section, as they increased their aptitude for playing acoustic-based music in a live setting. On one of those tours, opening for New York City's Ida led to a folky collaboration that was recorded in one day, called Ida Retsin Family. After Simple Machines folded in 1998, Retsin found kindred spirits in the proprietors of the Chicago-based Carrot Top label. Over the band's following two records, 1998's Sweet Luck of Amaryllis and 2001's Cabin in the Woods, Retsin blossomed into a capable neo-folk outfit, all but abandoning the electric guitar and standard instrumentation of indie rock for banjo, accordion, and violin. ~ Bryan Carroll

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