Rural Alberta Advantage

The Rural Alberta Advantage

The Wild

Saddle Creek (US) / Paper Bag Recordings (CAN)

Rating: 3.5/5




I had a friend who once moved to Alberta, not for the oil money, but to become a doctor.  He always had aspirations of returning home, but between the affordable cost of living and other monetary advantages, he still lives there to this day.  While he resides in the big city, there’s another perk that comes to mind with the province – sharing a home with The Rural Alberta Advantage.  Whereas the rest of us require tuning in to Spotify or some other user generated playlist to hear the band, the same friend often speaks highly of being able to flick on the radio and tune in to the Alberta indie-folk trio at any time of the day.  Considering that the band’s latest offering and fourth full length, The Wild, continues the band’s upward trend, that is an advantage worth bragging about.

Central to the entire operation remains the distinct ragged nasal call of front man Nils Edenloff.  Sharing obvious vocal similarities with genre mates Deer Tick, Edenloff’s unconventional allure continues to make The Wild unique amongst its peers.  But what makes The Wild stand out against the band’s prior efforts is the level of instrumental polish and complexity that The Rural Alberta Advantage flirts with.  Lyrically, opener “Beacon Hill” is as raw and honest as the band’s most powerful work.  Written shortly after the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires that decimated one of Alberta’s most iconic oil towns, lines like “there’s a voice, screaming in the haze” project a sense of vulnerability often unacknowledged by Albertans during boom times.  Meanwhile, “Bad Luck Again” instrumentally explores a backdrop of pitter pattering percussive patterns against the band’s warm landing female vocal accompaniment.  By all accounts The Rural Alberta Advantage should struggle for this sort of appeal, but that just isn’t the case.  “Dead” reinforces the outright catchiness that the band forces from in their asymmetrical formula, smoothing out rough edges with horn blasts as the track accelerates to a stampeding trot.  Other effective approaches include “Brother,” which adds to the emphasis with chorus clinchers of brooding bass, while “Toughen Up” reels it back to tamer ground, bringing to mind lesser known Cage The Elephant singles.

The worst that can be said about The Wild is that even with its careful updates to the band’s tried and tested sound, the album continues to stick close to its predecessors.  Without suggesting that they throw convention entirely to the wind like Portugal. The Man earlier in the same year, the band’s next step may do well to infuse something less expected – without compromising that unmistakable Rural Alberta Advantage feel.  An endeavour easier said than done.  In the meantime, fans will surely embrace The Wild for its undeniable folk charm and unique indie sensibilities.

The Rural Alberta Advantage – Beacon Hill

Rural Alberta AdvantageToronto indie-folk trio The Rural Alberta Advantage have premiered a new song.  The track is titled “Beacon Hill.”  The track details the wildfires that led to the unprecedented evacuation of onetime home of Fort McMurray, AB earlier this year.

Listen to the song below.  A new album is expected to drop later this year via Saddle Creek (U.S.) / Paper Bag Records (Canada).

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The Thermals Announce New LP; Premiere First Track

The ThermalsThe Thermals have announced details for their seventh full-length album.  The disc will be titled We Disappear, and is due out March 25, 2016 via Saddle Creek.  The band just premiered the first track, “Hey You,” which can be heard here courtesy Pitchfork.  

We Disappear was produced by Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie) and was recorded in Portland at Kung Fu Bakery (The Shins, Tegan and Sara) and in Seattle, WA at The Hall of Justice (Nirvana, Mudhoney). 

Video: Rural Alberta Advantage – Not Love Or Death

Rural Alberta AdvantageCanadian indie-folk group Rural Alberta Advantage has premiered a new music video.  The video features the song “Not Love Or Death” from their 2014 full length, Mended With Gold, available now via Saddle Creek.  

Watch the video below.

The twelve-track album was recorded at Toronto’s Candle Recording with the band’s long-time live engineer Matt Lederman (Hayden!!!Besnard Lakes) alongside co-producer Leon Taheny (Owen PallettAustraF*cked Up).

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The Rural Alberta Advantage

The Rural Alberta Advantage

Mended With Gold

Saddle Creek

Rating: 3.5/5




The Rural Alberta Advantage is one of those rare exceptions (along with Deer Tick) to the rule that really pitchy, wiry vocals will eventually become unbearably grating.  The Canadian prairie trio has a  been at it now for two full lengths and is now fresh on their third with their fanbase offering up quite the opposite of fatigue.  Originally discovered by music vendor eMusic, the band has since found a comfortable home to grow from with Saddle Creek.  As found in their latest effort, Mended With Gold, growth has been characterized by filling out The Rural Alberta Advantage’s foundation of earthy tones with a host of subtle production layers.  

The Rural Alberta Advantage’s strength rests in their effortless ascent into cloud spanning grandois and easy retreat into shadowy everglades.  The sheer scale of songs like “Not Love Or Death” boldly traverse new ground as drums thump loudly and various electric intricacies sparkle where the band plugs the sonic gaps and fills in instrumental holes.  The result is particularly anthemic and lofty but without losing that down to earth The Rural Alberta Advantage charm.  

In natural contrast, songs like “On The Rocks” centre around a damper, more sullen quality.  The reverberating hum of the electric backdrop accent’s Amy Cole’s cutting piano notes as they fall in place alongside Nils Edenloff’s screechy pitch.  Songs like “Our Love…” and “This City” further take advantage of such a fleshed out feel in a way that suits the band like a glove.  When it comes to tracks like “Terrified,” you’d have to be a pretty big grump to not fall in easily with this toe tapping, hand clapping mentality.  The worst that can be said about the album’s lesser moments (i.e. “To Be Scared”) is that some of songs don’t quite “pop” or stand out, but they never feel like they’re dragging their feet.

At it’s core, Mended With Gold is just a really solid, listenable dose of indie-folk that builds on The Rural Alberta Advantage’s previous success.  It would have been easy to fault The Rural Alberta Advantage had they opted to play it safe in their prior minimalism, but Mended With Gold skirts any concerns with the band’s most varied performance to date.  This is good new for fans and just about anyone else curious about checking out these prairie goers.

Rural Alberta Advantage – On The Rocks

Rural Alberta AdvantageCanadian indie-folk group Rural Alberta Advantage has premiered a new song from their upcoming third album.  The track is titled “On The Rocks” and is set to appear on Mended With Gold due out onSeptember 30, 2014 via Saddle Creek.  

Listen to the track below.

The twelve-track album was recorded at Toronto’s Candle Recording with the band’s long-time live engineer Matt Lederman (Hayden!!!Besnard Lakes) alongside co-producer Leon Taheny (Owen PallettAustraF*cked Up).

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Tours: The Thermals

TheThermalsPortland, OR’s The Thermals will be heading on tour this June.  The band continues to support their 2013 full length, Desperate Ground, available now via Saddle Creek.

Tour dates are below.

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Videos: The Thermals – The Sunset

TheThermalsPortland, OR’s The Thermals has premiered a brand new music video.  The video features the song “The Sunset” from their recent full length, Desperate Ground, released back in April via Saddle Creek. The album follows 2010’s Personal Life, released by Kill Rock Stars.

Watch the video below.

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The Thermals – Born To Kill

TheThermalsPortland, OR’s The Thermals have debuted a brand new song.  The song is titled “Born To Kill” and is set to appear on their upcoming full length, Desperate Ground, due out April 16, 2013 via Saddle Creek. The album follows 2010’s Personal Life, released by Kill Rock Stars.  

Check out the song below.

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Saddle Creek Record Store Day 2012/Albums

CursiveSaddle Creek has announced 4 vinyl releases for Record Store Day 2012. They will be re-issuing classic albums from Cursive, Icky Blossoms, The Mynabirds, and PUJOL;all of which will include codes for MP3 downloads. See below for a release breakdown of the titles in independent record stores on April 21.


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Video: The Rural Alberta Advantage – Muscle Relaxants

Canadian indie rock group The Rural Alberta Advantage has released a brand new music video.  The video is for the track “Muscle Relaxants,” appears on the group’s sophomore album, Departing, released this past March on Saddle Creek (US)/Paper Bag ecordings (CAN).

Check out the video below.

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Bright Eyes – Shell Games

Bright EyesBright Eyes is offering their first song from their upcoming full length as a free download.  The song is titled “Shell Games,” and will be off the album The Peoples Keys, due out on Saddle Creek on February 1, 2011 (digital) and February 15 (physical).  Frontman Conor Oberst recently stated that the band would be moving away from their traditional folk leanings, and towards a more alternative sound.

Download the track here.