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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Artist of the Day: The Rural Alberta Advantage


The Rural Alberta Advantage may seem like a long and nonsensical name for a band, but it makes perfect sense for this trio. Paul Banwatt, Amy Cole and Nils Edenloff came straight out of Alberta, Canada with their indie rock sound that's something akin to if Neutral Milk Hotel, Yo La Tengo and the Notwist met up and started playing music in a Canadian forest.

The band describes its music as being "about summers in the Rockies and winters on the farm, ice breakups in the spring time and the oil boom's charm . . . but mostly the songs just try to embrace the advantage of growing up in Alberta." With these beautiful and haunting songs about that mysterious cold neighbor of ours, Canada just gained some street cred.

Alberta is both the inspiration behind The RAA's songs and the place where the band formed in 2005. The following year, the RAA released its debut self-titled EP and gained popularity through extensive touring in Canada.  In 2008, Banwatt, Cole and Edenloff recorded their first full-length album, Hometowns, catching the eye of Omaha, Neb., based label Saddle Creek (home to such groups as Bright Eyes, Cursive and Tokyo Police Club). The RAA signed with Saddle Creek in 2009, and Hometowns was re-released.

All of the album’s 13 tracks are full of emotion — emotion that is best showcased through singer Edenloff's passionate raw vocals. While most of the songs broach serious topics, (i.e. heartbreak), the acoustic guitars and synthesizers combine to create an upbeat and interesting sound that keeps your ears guessing.

The RAA is bringing its Canadian rock show to Athens' Tasty World Uptown on Tuesday, September 29.

Formed: 2005 in Toronto, Canada
Label: Saddle Creek Records
Latest Release: Hometowns (2009)
On the Web:,

-Kristen Callihan
currently listening to "Edmonton" by The Rural Alberta Advantage

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