The Rural Alberta Advantage
The Rural Alberta Advantage 'Departing' March 1, Reaches New Heights On Epic Sophomore Album
New Yorkers: The RAA To Play Rare Intimate Set At Mercury Lounge Jan 12, Now Sold Out "Every One Of [Their] Songs Just Goes For It, In A Racing-Toward-The-Sun Kind Of Way. This Band Could Be Huge." - Pitchfork Media
After a breakthrough 2009 that saw them earn comparisons to The Arcade Fire and Neutral Milk Hotel, capture SXSW buzz playing on a bill with Grizzly Bear, sell out a tour, sign to Saddle Creek, and score a "Breaking Out" featuring in SPIN Magazine, The Rural Alberta Advantage are poised to explode in 2011 with 'Departing,' out March 1 on Saddle Creek.
With The Rural Alberta Advantage's new album, the band further refines the exuberant guitar work; everything-on-the-table singing; songwriting full of conviction and detail; and majestic, keyboard-sprinkled arrangements that have won them so many fans. 'Departing' strings together themes of small towns, Canadian fall and winter, break ups, and redemption and serves as a companion piece to their beloved debut album 'Hometowns.' Highlights include the affecting "North Star," the stark regret of "Tornado," and the storming, percussive surge of "Stamp," all of which vividly set the scene.
'Hometowns' earned them acclaim from outlets as disparate as Stereogum (which named it one of the top 50 albums of 2009) and the Wall Street Journal (who said that the band is "starting to catch fire").
Pitchfork Media gave it an 8.0, raving that "songs this good deserve to be heard by audiences as large as their sonic scope."
Meanwhile, All Music Guide said, "If there was an award for 'Most likeable album of 2009,' RAA would win by a landslide... Can't wait to hear the next one." And Associated Press called them a "buzz band."
The group consists of singer/guitarist Nils Edenloff, also the chief writer in the group; Paul Banwatt, whose raucous percussion pushes the songs into overdrive; and multi-instrumental Amy Cole, who provides keys, percussion, and backing vocals. Borrowing a regional slogan, Edenloff grew up in rural Fort McMurray, Alberta, and draws on his experiences there in his songwriting.
The Rural Alberta Advantage are set to play a rare intimate show to preview the upcoming release at New York's Mercury Lounge on January 12, which is now sold out. Further 2011 tour dates are in the works.
Departing Track Listing:
1. Two Lovers
2. The Breakup
3. Under the Knife
4. Muscle Relaxants
5. North Star
7. Tornado '87
8. Barnes' Yard
9. Coldest Days
10. Good Night
Album art: http://shorefire.com/clients/raa
JAMES VINCENT MCMORROW
My name is James Vincent McMorrow My debut album is now out in the world. For more information on myself and it, please feel free to visit my website. Regards.
IN TALL BUILDINGS
[Erik Hall's] tunes are dense and textured, veering from the jaunty "The Way to a Monster's Lair," colored by a swooning clarinet line from NOMO bandmate Elliot Bergman (the only other musician who appears on the recording), to the minimalist "Flemishing," which unfolds over a hypnotic nine-plus minutes. Listening to the record, it's little surprise to hear Hall name-check a diverse array of influences, including Steve Reich, Neil Young, Maurice Ravel and Gillian Welch.
Best of Chicago 2010 ... A promising debut record filled with gorgeous indie-pop.
In Tall Buildings is the aural representation of a pleasantly scattered mind.
[Hall's] spacious, handcrafted pop, awash in synthesizers, reverb, and bedroom-recording static, evokes rootless melancholy without wallowing in it.
It bristles with conviction and purpose. ... The album finds ways to add touches that could easily have been jarring if not for Hall's steady hand and singular vision. ... There's no mad scientist at work here. Only a guy crafting beautiful songs and augmenting them with a feathery touch.
LOUD LOOP PRESS
Erik Hall has had his share in the music biz, playing with NOMO and Saturday Looks Good to Me. Now, he's set to release his own album under the name In Tall Buildings, which comes out this week on Whistler Records. This track sort of has the old feel of Rogue Wave, but you can tell that Hall spends his time dabbling with every instrument possible. It's full of layers, but in the sort of way that doesn't weigh you down. Listen up.
AUSTIN TOWN HALL
The Way to a Monster's Lair has that great yearn you hear in Mark Linkous, or Carter Tanton, or Neil Young, or any other man you imagine leaning over his guitar and bleeding songs out onto his scuffy basement carpet.
In Tall Buildings is the title of this record, the name of the band, and the title of a John Hartford song. This "band" is really Erik Hall and his songs. Erik is a natural multi-instrumentalist, equally at home playing electric guitar and percussion in NOMO, fuzzed-out bass in His Name Is Alive, or Motown-inspired drums in Saturday Looks Good To Me. But here we find him, for the first time, in his own element, alone in his home studio, layering track upon track of vocal harmonies, guitars, pianos, and heavy rhythms, to create his solo debut as a veritable one man band.
This is rock music, informed by Erik's array of influences. Imagine a Thom Yorke remix of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, or if Gillian Welch were to sit in with Steve Reich & Musicians. Bubbling synth sequences, driving distorted drum beats, interwoven finger-picked guitars, and pulsing woodwind chorales all find their way into the mix. Erik's lyrics unveil a personal world through stark imagery: a monster's lair, a bed of soft linens, a spilled glass of wine, a shared whiskey bottle, a plummeting star, and a walking man.
The story of the album starts in Ann Arbor, where Erik got his music degree from the University of Michigan and sold cheese at Zingerman's Deli. A planned move to the east coast fell through as a long-term relationship unraveled, and new songs started to appear. Erik headed home to Chicago, and, in a high-rise overlooking Lake Michigan, he slowly crafted his first record. It's not so much a breakup album as it is a document of a man making a new beginning, and finding his own voice.
For a couple years In Tall Buildings sat in the slow cooker while Erik spent months at a time on the road with NOMO and His Name Is Alive, returning home to put all his earnings into recording equipment and all his time into songwriting. Tape delays, spring reverbs, half-broken synthesizers, funky organs, mics, preamps, mixers, and an old Fender Starcaster guitar all found their way into his apartment and onto his songs. He maxed out his credit card, recorded vocals in a linen closet, and called in favors to make it happen, and after four years and countless hours producing himself, here is a beautiful and challenging record.
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