White Light Riot is an American indie rock group based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Members include brothers Mike Schwandt (vocals, rhythm guitar) and Mark Schwandt (drums), Dan Larsen (bass), Randy Tomes (Keyboards) and Zack Caroll (Guitar). White Light Riot is sometimes abbreviated as WLR, and more rarely as NRA.
In early 2005, brothers Mike and Mark Schwandt formed the band. During their junior year in high school at Robbinsdale Armstrong High School, Mike was studying abroad in England and Mark took on the task of finding additional band members. He recruited Dan Larsen, a bassist in their jazz band and invited another classmate, guitarist Joe Christenson to join the ensemble.
White Light Riot was formerly named 'The Evening Glow' but changed their name almost immediately.
In late 2005, White Light Riot released their first EP "The Dark Is Light Enough", produced by Erik Appelwick (Tapes 'n Tapes) on October 30, 2005. In early 2010, "Bitter Beginning" and "Out of Sight" were featured in the Destineer Games title Triple Crown Snowboarding for Nintendo Wii.
In 2006, the band signed with 50 Records, a Minneapolis-based independent record label. "Atomism," the sole album they released on 50 Records, was recorded at Pachyderm Studio in Cannon Falls, MN; produced/co-engineered by Brent Sigmeth(Grant Hart, They Might Be Giants, Ramblin' Jack Elliott), co-engineered by Paul Marino (The New Congress, Desdemona) and mastered by Bob Ludwig. It was released nationally on August 21, 2007 by RED Distribution. The CD release party was held on June 23, 2007 at the Fine Line Music Café in Minneapolis, MN.
In 2009 lead singer Mike Schwandt posted on the band's Myspace and Facebook Pages that they ended their contract with 50 Records. Schwandt explains we "finally broke free from their grasp.". Around this time, guitarist Joe Christenson left the group and was replaced by Zack Carroll, who previously played with This World Fair and Catchpenny.
In January 2010, the song "Forever in the West" was featured on the season finale of the VH1 program Secrets of Aspen.
After parting ways with their record label, the band spent 2010 recording their self-titled follow-up album with Paul Marino at Urness Hall at St. Olaf College, Fuzzy Slippers Studio, and The Terrarium. The album will be released on May 2, 2011.