It’s the title song from the L.A.-based Alt-Folk Band upcoming new EP
We’re happy to join with Vance Kotrla’s great L.A alt-folk band Sci-Fi Romance to bring you this premiere of “The Rain Becomes A River,” the title song of their new EP, to be released on May 8th.
“The inspiration behind this song and video,” said frontman-songwriter Vance Kotrla, “is the feeling of being helpless to control anything beyond the way you respond to calamity. It’s about the single-minded drive to press on toward something better you hope lies ahead, despite all the obstacles that want to overwhelm you.”
“We’ve had heavy songs on our previous albums,” he continued, “though they were the exceptions in otherwise more acoustic, lyrical settings; this is the opposite.”
“These songs,” he said, “are heavier and louder and more insistent, because the world feels heavier, louder, and more insistent. These songs are my response.”
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This song is a perfect example of that heavy insistence, as is the first single, “When The Levee Breaks,” which came to Kotrla in the wake of watching his hometown of Houston crumble during Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Stripping the Led Zeppelin classic to its most stark and loud form, “Levee” suddenly took on a new life in sharing the experience of watching one’s childhood roots and family face destruction from afar.
About this fusion and the heavy folk he creates, Vance told VoyageLA that most of his songs are based on acoustic guitar, and inspired by “people like Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly, who hold up the folk music firmament. But I also started my musical journey as the drummer in a death metal band. What winds up coming out of this band is sort of… heavy folk music?”
The group was formed by Kortla in 2010 as a solo project. It has featured a rotating cast of musicians, including international opera soprano Kristin Vogel, while remaining steadfast in delivering soberingly honest portraits of life across four albums and three EPs during the last decade.
The new EP follows their fourth full-length album, 2018’s Dreamers & Runaways, which was the band’s most ambitious and politically-forward work to date.
They’ve received a lot of acclaim from fans and the press for their visceral, intense merger of folk with the intensity of modern times, a dynamic which has only intensified in our current moment.
This meeting of “folk music with barely-controlled rage” wrote PopMatters, “is one that isn’t seen very often anymore, and offers something unique in the ever-more crowded Americana genre.”