Hot Band Alert: Ray & Remora share ’90s-inspired indie-pop originals on debut album “Startle It Up”

Ray & Remora press photo

Ray & Remora

Synth-fueled indie pop duo Ray & Remora made their mark on the Los Angeles music scene in 2014 with their debut EP 1994, which featured covers by prominent indie rock artists of that era such as Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr, Guided By Voices, etc. Their video for the cover of Pavement’s “Gold Soundz” even featured cameos by Pavement front man Stephen Malkmus, Kim Gordon and Jeff Goldblum. While the band cemented their coolness with 1994, Ray & Remora, comprised of Dan Crane (‘Ray’), Amanda Walker (‘Remora’) and additional members Jeff Liffmann on keyboards and Damon Kellard on drums — they have really been able to reach deep within to unlock bright, emotionally intelligent and original songs such as title track “Startle It Up,” “Don’t Shoot Me Down,” and “Soft Brown Heart.” All the aforementioned songs can be heard on Ray & Remora’s debut full-legnth album Startle It Up. The new record is available for pre-order on digital, vinyl, and CD —and will be officially released on September 16 via Aeronaut Records.

For the band there was a definite difference in approach when it came to writing and recording covers vs. piecing together all original material. As Walker reveals, “the covers felt almost like a test run. When Dan and I started playing music together we were just trying out how our styles would meld whereas Startle It Up was crazy! A lot of these songs we’d been playing for almost three years and I had written a bunch of these songs before we all met. Our writing, recording and music-making style together felt almost effortless.” Crane continues, “The 1994 EP was recorded almost exclusively in my home studio in Echo Park and there are no live drums on the record. After the EP came out, Damon and Jeff joined the band and we all spent a long time shaping the songs into what we ultimately ended up tracking for Startle It Up.”


Despite the differences between the the two albums the iconic ’90s indie rock influence was instilled in Crane long before Ray & Remora’s seeds were even planted and continues to shape the band’s sound and direction to this day. Crane shares, “My adult musical formative years were in the early ’90s. [Don’t do the math, please.] I had a post-college band in SF called Connie Comfort, which cribbed liberally from Superchunk, Nirvana, etc… I think the bands you absorb in your early 20s will never leave you. The first song Remora and I ever worked on together was covering “Like a Fool” by Superchunk, which I still consider one of my favorite songs of all time. Now, we tend to write songs that start slow, sad and then go epic — and that’s exactly what “Like a Fool Does. I fucking love that song.”

When it comes to the band’s personal song preferences, “Hearts Do Change” tops vocalist Amanda Walker’s list as her favorite song on the album. “It was the first song I wrote specifically with Ray & Remora with the whole band in mind. We played a bunch of songs I had written prior to our meeting because we needed a repertoire of songs that weren’t covers and “Hearts Do Change” was the first pure “Ray & Remora” song from scratch, as a band, where we officially locked in.” Bandmate Dan Crane’s favorite “Don’t Shoot Me Down” was a song he had be tinkering around with for a very long time for about the last decade. “I discovered the chord progression in Paris while touring with my old band Nous Non Plus,” shares Crane. “There was a piano in the apartment where we were staying and one rainy, melancholy day I just started playing those chords. To me the song is about how easy it is to feel literally shot down by a friend/lover who metaphorically shoots down your idea or deceives you.”

We recommend taking a listen to Startle It Up when it drops this Friday and discovering your favorite tunes. Like me, you may find yourself pleasantly head-bopping and clapping along to “The Happening” or embracing a quiet moment with the solemn but punchy ballad “It’s Just.” Los Angeles concert-goers can also hear the new songs live when Ray & Remora play Chinatown Moon Festival on Saturday, September 17th at 6 PM on the LA Weekly Live Music Stage.

For future show dates stay tuned to their Facebook page. The band has also begun rolling out new music videos and will continue to do so throughout the coming weeks. Spoiler alert! Per Crane: “Look out for cameos from mermen and some of the nation’s best air guitarists. No joke.”

Feature by Emily Saex


Watch Ray & Remora’s video for “The Happening.”

Ray & Remora album cover photo

Ray & Remora “Startle It Up” Track Listing:
1. The Happening
2. Hearts Do Change
3. It’s Just
4. Startle It Up
5. Soft Brown Heart
6. Don’t Shoot Me Down
7. Histories
8. Honey Beware
9. Creep Up
10. Skinned Knees
11. Baby Please

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