Rural Alberta Advantage – Don't Haunt This Place
Paperbag Records has been a treasure chest for me recently. It seems like every band on their label appeals to me in some way. The Rural Alberta Advantage are a stand-out even among a sea of gold.
RAA is the baby of Alberta-born (natch) songwriter Nils Edenloff. After a move to the big city of Toronto, Edenloff coped with his new surroundings by writing about the place he had just left. Before he knew it he was hosting an open mic night with drummer Paul Banwatt. They soon rounded out their trio with the stunningly beautiful singer Amy Cole.
Their debut record, Hometowns, was released in March and it's a beauty. RAA's songs are haunting and touching and always seem on the verge of breaking. Edenloff's voice floats in front of and behind the indie-folk, piercing into your consciousness. It's Banwatt's percussion, however, that grabs hold of you with a kung-fu death grip. This is evident from the outset on "Don't Haunt This Place", which I've listened to, I don't know, a hundred times since I discovered it. He drums quick and sharp and what at first seems like an odd compliment to the laid back folk soon becomes the most indispensable factor. Add in Amy Cole's gorgeous harmonies (I have a bit of a crush on her, if it's not obvious) and you have the makings of a great new band.
RAA are heading on a Canadian tour in late October, so check out their MySpace page for dates. Hopefully they'll do the States soon. Support them in person and pick up the album, Hometowns, from Paperbag Records.