Rainer Maria was an indie rock/emo band originally from Madison, Wisconsin, later residing in Brooklyn, New York. Named after the German-language poet Rainer Maria Rilke, they formed in the late summer of 1995 and released five full length albums, a live DVD, numerous live recordings, and EPs. In its earlier days, the band had a dual male and female vocal line-up; later, Caithlin De Marrais took over most singing. The gender ambiguity of the name Rainer Maria paralleled this and was one of the reasons it was selected as the band's name.[citation needed]

The band's many tours and intimate live shows at venues such as Brooklyn's North Six (which lead singer Caithlin De Marrais referred to as "home" during her final show because it also served as the band's rehearsal space), Washington, D.C.'s The Black Cat, the Bowery Ballroom in NYC, and Chapel Hill's Cat's Cradle helped to grow its fan base and fuel album sales.

On November 6, 2006, the band announced, through Pitchfork Media, that the December 16th show at New York City's Bowery Ballroom would be their last. It was accompanied by this statement:

The band played their last show on December 17, 2006, at North Six in Brooklyn. They opened with "Artificial Light" and closed with a lengthy version of "Rise." Referring to the intensity of the show and the enthusiasm of the crowd, guitarist Kyle Fischer at one point remarked jokingly in-between songs "we should break up every night."