Two previously unreleased recordings by the late River Phoenix and his band, Aleka’s Attic, will be issued on Valentine’s Day, as part of a single that also includes a new solo track from his sister, Rain Phoenix, in collaboration with a longtime family friend, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe.
“It’s so hard to believe he’s been gone for 25 years,” Rain Phoenix said in a statement. “It really made me think about the construct of time, how we create it to make sense of things, and how especially with grief, it never really snaps to a grid. That said, a quarter of a century has a definite weight to it, and I felt compelled and guided to share River, the musician, with the world.”
The two vintage tracks featuring River Phoenix on lead vocals are “Where I’d Gone” and “Scales & Fishnails.” The new Rain Phoenix/Stipe song, “Time is the Killer,” is described as “a very grown up song about the nature of time and its effect on love and grief.”
Rain Phoenix was a member of Aleka’s Attic with her brother, who was two years older, during the group’s 1987-93 existence. After the band’s potential deal with Island Records in the early ’90s fell through, Aleka’s Attic recorded an album’s worth of material with the intent of putting it out independently, but the material never got an official release. Rain announced on her Instagram page in December that she has plans for all of it, writing, “Over time all pieces will be included as I continue to release Aleka’s Attic singles and eventually the (full length) record. It may take years but, you can expect inclusion!”
River Phoenix was 23 when he died on Oct. 31, 1993.
The single will come out on a new label, Kro Records, in conjunction with Rain Phoenix’s LaunchLeft imprint. A video teaser for the song “Scales & Fishnails” featuring old home movie footage of River and Rain was put up Thursday.