Thursday, March 31, 2011

Broken Bells - "Meyrin Fields EP"

Just a little over a year after the release of their Grammy-nominated self-titled debut, Broken Bells, the collaboration between Danger Mouse and James Mercer are set to release the Meyrin Fields EP out this week on Columbia Records. The EP consists of the title track which was originally released as the B-side to single for “The Ghost Inside” as well as three previously unreleased tracks, “Windows”, “Heartless Empire”, “An Easy Life” that were all recorded during the same sessions that produced their highly praised debut.

“Meyrin Fields”, the title track opens the EP with a rumbling beat and blips and beeps along with multi-tracked vocals for another futuristic spin on their brand of psychedelic 60’s inspired pop. “Windows” features a rubbery trip-hop guitar line that propels the song forward and an outstanding sing-along chorus. The bouncy “An Easy Life” stands out with a room-filling vintage organ and James’ unique melodic vocal style that most resembles his work with the Shins. And “Heartless Empire” closes out the EP with a surprising wall of double-fuzzed guitars and reverb-drenched vocals.

Usually there is a reason B-sides and previously unreleased material didn’t make it onto the album, but the four songs on the Meyrin Fields EP are just as good if not better. So it’s a good thing Broken Bells have decided to continue recording and touring because we would be missing out on some spectacular music if this was a “one-and-done” project!

For more info click here:

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat - featuring an exclusive remix of Keegan DeWitt!

1. Keegan DeWitt - "Two Hearts (Neon Parade SLOW-RE-MIX)" (Keegan's super-catchy foray into dance-pop is set to a smooth, hazy R&B groove and slowed down by up-and-coming producer Neon Parade who has also chopped up and slowed down some of his favorite 80's and 90's pop songs on his Soundcloud.) NP: Keegan:

2. Secret Cities - "Love Crime" (After laboriously recording their excellent debut over 5 years, released just last summer; they return with their second album, Strange Hearts out today on Western Vinyl. The result is restless and limitless, with sunny 60's baroque-pop with a side of melancholy...much like life.)

3. Generationals - "Greenleaf" (The twinkling and upbeat, piano-led single from their new album, Actor-Caster out now on Park The Van, modernizes their 60's pop style with electronic elements for an intriguing new sound.)

Bonus: Sharks - "Can't Hardly Wait (Replacements Cover)" (The UK band is touring the States with like-minded bands Social Distortion and Chuck Ragan supporting their US debut The Joys of Living 2008-2010 out now on Rise Records.)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Obits - "Moody, Standard and Poor"

Indie rock veterans Obits return today to remind us how it is done with the Sub Pop release of their second album, Moody, Standard and Poor. Featuring former members of Drive Like Jehu, Hot Snakes, and one of my 90’s favorites, Edsel, they combine elements of punk, surf and garage rock for an explosive sound with scrappy melodies and snarling attitude.

Album opener, “You Gotta Lose” sets the tone with a propulsive rhythm and tightly woven guitar lines like the soundtrack to a violent car chase. The rubbery guitar chugging of the moody “I Want Results” stands out with an anthemic screamed chorus that features blasting guitar chords. The robotically tight rhythm of the spacey surf rock in “Everything Looks Better In The Sun” is a testament to the band’s skill. The revved-up rockabilly of “Killer” features dual guitars jockeying for position in a race to the finish. Former Edsel frontman Sohrab Habibion takes over lead vocal duty from Rick Frosberg on the fuzzed out “Shift Operator” and later on the feedback-drenched “Standards”. Standout track “No Fly List” is all high-octane rockabilly with fiery vocals and another standout, the super-danceable 50’s inspired “Naked To The World” is so instantly memorable, you will swear you have already heard it before. The short instrumental “Spot The Pikey” features assistance from Seattle’s The Unnatural Helpers and a “Tequila!”-like mid-song shout-out. “New August” features a dusty Spaghetti Western meets spy film vibe. And the rumbling “Beggin’ Dogs” and the unhinged, cascading surf-rock instrumental “I Blame Myself” close out the excellent album.

Moody, Standard and Poor is anything but standard and the perfect force to keep you awake on a long drive - equally melodic and relentless.

Download "Shift Operator" here:

For more info click here: and

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ball of Flame Shoot Fire - "Pots and Knives"

The Brooklyn via Pittsburgh band Ball of Flame Shoot Fire make some of the best, most unclassifiable, and quirkiest art-pop on their excellent second album Pots and Knives. They just released it on their Bandcamp page for a limited time as a free download. The eclectic 5-piece band has played with like-minded bands such as Man Man, Yeasayer, Here We Go Magic and Grizzly Bear.

“Cod” opens the kaleidoscopic album with spacey, floating synths and horns before turning into a cabaret-style, sea-shanty sing-along. The first single “Keep House” features falsetto vocals and a funky groove incorporated with twinkling disco synths for a standout moment. The strange psychedelia of “orz” features surging bursts of abrasive noise in between campy, talk/sung verses. “Flintlock” is a favorite with musical theatre flair, schizophrenic vocals, tinny guitars and a jubilant horn melody you will be humming the rest of the day. Another favorite “Little Accountant” features skronky horns and a rootsy sound, like if The Band had backed up Bryan Ferry or Bowie instead of Dylan with vocalist Jess Tambellini’s unhinged vocal stylings. The deadened drums and alien-sounding fractured synths make “The Gliave” sound like it is being beamed straight from CBGB’s from 1977. Another standout, the twitchy “Swamp Talk” is led by a tight, funky bass line and colorful vocals with ringing guitars and atmospheric keyboards building a dense backdrop befitting the song title.

The beyond experimental Pots and Knives may not be for everyone but I can’t get enough of the weird but rewarding melodies and the band’s unique sound.

Download Pots and Knives here:

Download the song "orz" here:

For more info click here: and

Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Strokes - "Angles"

After a four year hiatus with most members chasing their muse on various solo projects, The Strokes returned this week with their highly anticipated new album Angles. First and foremost, this is not Is This It but it is also not First Impressions of Earth either. So if you can get past the lofty expectations and anticipation, Angles is a surprisingly memorable affair even if it is a little disjointed.

Standouts include the neon-reggae of the album opener “Machu Picchu” (which might be about Pokemon) and the dueling guitars and swagger on the excellent first single, “Under Cover Of Darkness”, which could be remembered as one of their best songs. Gone though is the “cooler-than-thou” 70’s post-punk that made Is This It so great and in its place is a sound transfixed with New Wave and power-pop, like the very Cars-like “Two Kinds of Happiness” that also burns with a fast paced flickering guitar solo just as hooky as any of the choruses on the album. Strange detours like the icy synths on “Games” sound like a chillwave remix of a Strokes’ song and the spacey “You’re So Right” feels out of place here like a leftover from Julian’s solo album. But “Taken For a Fool” picks back up with tinny guitars and a twitchy rhythm and “Gratisfaction” is just plain shout-it-out power-pop fun.

While much has been made of the inner-band strife and the disappointment of following up such a game changing album, taken for what it is, Angles will surprise and satisfy even the most jaded of fans.

For more info click here:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. The Lonely Forest - "I Don't Want To Live There" (Already Northwest faves, they were handpicked by Death Cab's Chris Walla as the first signing to Trans, his Atlantic Records imprint. Walla also produced and engineered Arrows, their super-melodic and anthemic fourth album.)


2. 1, 2, 3 - "Riding Coach" (Hazy synths and smooth falsetto vocals highlight the R&B-leaning new track from the Pittsburgh duo of singer/songwriter Nic Snyder and drummer Josh Sickels' upcoming record due later this year on Frenchkiss Records.)


3. California Wives - "Tokyo" (On the heels of last year's excellent Affairs EP, the Chicago four-piece sets the mood for bouncy indie-pop perfection with dreamy synths and thin guitars on this catchy new stand-alone single out now in anticipation for their new album due later this year.)


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Protest The Hero - "Scurrilous"

Already considered one of the most inventive and skilled young tech-metal bands on the scene today, Protest The Hero have progressed even more with the release of their third album Scurrilous, out today on Vagrant Records. The new album shows them experimenting with straight-up old school trash, touching on jazz and fine-tuning their soaring theatrical prog-rock tendencies into a cohesive and aggressive yet highly melodic form of metal that is distinctively their own.

The first single and album opener “C’ est La Vie” charges out of the gate with twisting guitar lines and soaring vocals along with metronome-melting rhythm changes for the perfect introduction to the album or even for the first time listener. Stand out track “Hair-Trigger” features some seriously funky slap bass as well as vocalist Jadea Kelly who also contributed memorable vocals to their debut Kezia. “Tandem” is split between speedy cerebral metal parts and slower groovier sections with lyrics from vocalist Rody Walker that are more personal and relateable than the more thematic lyrics of past albums. “Moonlight” blends arena-rock, metalcore and jazzy prog-rock to perfection. The choppy riffage on “Tapestry” shreds like Cowboys From Hell-era Pantera and stands out with Rody’s growl/scat-hybrid that mimics the music. The shape-shifting “Dunsel” features an anthemic chorus, scaling guitar leads and a fiery and angry vocal performance that’s maybe a little too reliant on “sailor speak”. Another standout, “The Reign of Unending Terror” is heavily influenced by 80’s British metal only more mathematical but just as head-banging and galloping. And if you were not already aware, the frantic and frenetic fretwork on “Tongue Splitter” showcases two of the most talented and praised guitarists in Tim Millar and Luke Hoskins.

Protest The Hero is a confident band on the rise with talent and creativity to burn and Scurrilous is their best, most ambitious album yet but I’m sure their best album is yet to come.

Download "C'est La Vie" here:

For more info click here: and

Monday, March 21, 2011

Contest: Win the new J. Mascis album "Several Shades of Why"

UPDATE: Congrats to Greg, the winner of the J. Mascis CD! Thanks!

Last week Sub Pop Records released Several Shades of Why, the first studio solo album by J. Mascis and it is as great as you would expect. The album is mostly acoustic with no drums, so gone is the legendary guitar fuzz but what remains is a focus on his raspy drawl and his excellent songwriting stripped down to its most simplistic and elegant form. The album also features guests like Kurt Vile, Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses and Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene.

You can win a copy of this excellent album on CD... just email me at: and tell me your favorite Dinosaur Jr. song!

One winner will be chosen and notified by email on Friday 03/25/11.

Thanks for reading and good luck!

Download "Never Enough" here:

For more info click here: and

Friday, March 18, 2011

Sad Cadillac - "Live From The Buddha Den NTRO-XPO" EP

The up and coming new Dayton-based lo-fi trio Sad Cadillac are working on their debut recording and playing every show they can, but in the meantime they have released an EP of their material recorded live at South Park Tavern (as part of their month long residency there last month), as a free download on their Bandcamp page. The band consisting of guitarist/vocalists James Smith and Kris Hauser and drummer Josh Hodapp blend the doubled-fuzzed guitar tones of Hum with The Jesus and Mary Chain’s wall of sound along with Pavement-like guitar noodling, creating a sound so thick a bassist isn’t even necessary.

“My Big Bang” opens the EP with crashing waves of dueling guitars, soaring vocals and a thrashing rock out moment to end the song with a big bang of its own. Stand out track “Carbon Copy Smile” sounds like a lost 90’s era alt-rock gem with shimmering and spacey guitars over a chugging, propulsive beat and a catchy chorus, with a hint of classic rock for good measure. The psychedelic “Admiral Sun” features moaning vocals with dense winding guitars for another standout moment. “Smoke And Mirrors” features a memorable guitar melody that floats above the squalling feedback-drenched wall of sound with another sing-along chorus. The last of the live songs, “Personal Consultant” goes all out, splitting the difference between moments of poppy jangle and stomping grunge with a blistering guitar solo. Also included are two self-recorded demo tracks, the crunchy and brooding “Sugar, Sociopath” and the rumbling but melodic “Roger Adapter”.

Download the Live From The Buddha Den EP and keep an eye out for more from this hard-working band.


For more info click here:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Berg Sans Nipple - "Build With Erosion"

Six years after the release of their critically praised album Along The Quai, The Berg Sans Nipple (the duo of Shane Aspergren and Lori Sean Berg) are set to release their third album Build With Erosion on Team Love Records this week. The new album blazes a new path for the already experimental band with vocal melodies and hooks sharing the spotlight with the percussion and sample heavy sound collages, a first for the band.

“Change The Shape” opens the album with a skittish hip-hop influenced beat including an Afrikka Bambata sample along with a rhythmic jump-roping verse. The title track, “Build With Erosion” features a bobbing beat with flickering and fluttering synths and a hint of reverb-drenched paranoia. “Dead Dinosaurs Rule The Earth” captures its title with a deep jungle rhythm that builds with intensity and an eerie atmosphere. The colorful and psychedelic “Convert The Measurement” features glittering tones that glide over a glitchy beat. The hypnotic samples and horns on “There Is No Peak” are matched up with stuttering vocal melodies and energetic beat on the standout track. The shape-shifting “Terroir” is a highlight as well with its hauntingly ambient tones and liquid synth lines. “Weatherman” features the album’s catchiest vocals that stand out among the clanging percussion and strange samples. “Body Movements” combines the organic and electronic along with tribal polyrhythms and joyous vocals for an irresistible dance track. And “Pink Rays Sugar” closes out the album with a chilled out vibe with chiming samples, warm vocal melodies and tumbling drums.

Build With Erosion proves the addition of vocals only adds to the appeal of The Berg Sans Nipple, placing the band in the company of other like-minded forward-thinking acts such as Animal Collective and Yeasayer.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat - featuring an exclusive track by The Bloodsugars!

1. The Bloodsugars - "Accident (Acoustic Version Ruff Cut)" (While the band is putting the finishing touches on their forthcoming new album, Jason sent me an exclusive rough cut of an acoustic version of "Accident", the closing track from 2009's excellent I Can't Go On, I'll Go On. Instead of the original's electro-pop, this new version is complete with doo-wop background vocals, pounding piano, handclaps, and lively horns for a hip-shaking Motown approved reinterpretation.)


2. The Dodos - "Black Night" (The Dodos, again a duo, return to their instrument assaulting form on their fourth album No Color out this week on Frenchkiss Records and the opening track, "Black Night" embodies the band's energy and undeniable catchiness.)


3. Forbidden Friends - "Tiny Hands" (As if he wasn't prolific enough with his primary band Forbidden Friends is the upbeat acoustic-based new solo project from Hutch Harris of The Thermals whose debut 7" is out this week on Kill Rock Stars. Download the ghost-loving and danceable A-side here!)


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

J. Mascis - "Several Shades Of Why"

UPDATE: Congrats to Greg, the winner of the J. Mascis CD! Thanks!

If you were like me, you probably also wished that Dinosaur Jr. would’ve gotten the MTV Unplugged treatment just like Nirvana and so many other great and influential bands of the 90’s. Well the wait is over because today Sub Pop is releasing Several Shades of Why, J. Mascis’s first studio solo album and it is as great as you would expect. The album is mostly acoustic with no drums, so gone is the legendary guitar fuzz but what remains is a focus on his raspy drawl and his excellent songwriting stripped down to its most simplistic and elegant form.

“Listen To Me” opens the album with steady strumming and an affecting, aching vocal with guest guitars from protégé Kurt Vile. On the title track, “Several Shades of Why”, the guitar and violin by Sophie Trudeau from A Silver Mount Zion intertwine beautifully, conjuring thoughts of Nick Drake. The first single “Not Enough” stands out with guest vocals from Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses, Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene and Kurt Vile, who turn the song into a hand-holding harmonious sing-along. The arrangement on “Very Nervous and Love” is a little more fleshed out with Pall Jenkins of Black Heart Procession providing vocals, piano, saw and optigan along with dobro by Kurt Vile, though the focus is situated on the surprisingly emotional vocals. The Country-fried swing of “Is It Done” also stands out with the clean, high registered vocals of Ben Bridwell that provides a pleasant contrast with those of J.’s but also contains a fuzzy, electric guitar solo for good measure. “Make It Right” has one foot in the Saloon with an expressive slide guitar and the other foot in the Café with a flute melody for an eclectic arrangement that just works. And “Where Are You” features electric guitar from frequent collaborator Kurt Fedora and more assistance from Ben, where “Too Deep” is just J. and his guitar as the only song without an outside contribution. Kevin Drew shows up again on the poignant and wistful “Can I” to play clarinet of all things. And finally “What Happened” closes out the album with longing melodies, melodic guitar soloing and more flute for a fine finish to an instant classic in the J. Mascis canon.

As much as each guest’s contributions add to the songs, there is no denying J. Mascis is a great and versatile songwriter and the stripped down Several Shades of Why is the proof, as if you needed any.

Download "Is It Done" here:

For more info click here: and

Friday, March 11, 2011

Free Friday: Eureka Birds - "Eureka! EP"

Eureka Birds are a Baltimore-based band led by vocalist/keyboardist and songwriter Justin Levy. In October they released a new EP titled Eureka! for free download on their Bandcamp page. They recorded it in Indianapolis with Tyler Watkins of Margot and the Nuclear So & So’s producing and playing bass on the album, along with fellow “So & So” Erik Kang, lending his skills on the violin. The Eureka Birds perfectly blend Margot-like chamber-pop with the analog synths and lyrical wit of Grandaddy as well as the fractured folk of the Fruit Bats for a sound all their own.

“That Mountain Is A Volcano” opens the EP on a light vintage organ line, jabs of guitar and Justin’s smooth, warm voice before building to an end with spiraling distorted guitar and noisy samples. The easy waltzing “Sarah (Sits and Cries)” features lilting strings and background vocals as part of its lush arrangement. The piano-led “Sunset On Film” features a melancholic Elliott Smith-like vocal that would make for the perfect soundtrack to a sun-setting scene of farewell in a movie. Standout track “Cactus Man” tells the sad yet witty tale of a loner who has “always wanted balloons” and a waterbed; the song has an undeniably infectious chorus and by the end of the song you will be rooting for the Cactus Man! The EP closes with “We’ll Get By”, set to a bittersweet 70’s soft rock vibe and another string-laden arrangement.

Download the Eureka! EP now and have your own “Eureka!” moment when you discover this great band for the first time!

You can also download their self-titled album on Bandcamp for free also or you can name your price...they will also be playing at SXSW this year so maybe you can help them buy a taco while they're down there.

Download the Eureka! EP here:

For more info click here:

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. EMA - "The Grey Ship" (EMA is the new solo project of ex-Gowns singer/guitarist Erika M. Anderson whose debut album Past Life Martyred Saints is due May 10th on Souterrain Transmissions. The haunting first single begins with sparse accompaniment before building and exploding with a big bass drop into a surge of violin and distorted guitar on the epic 7-minute track.)


2. Chikita Violenta - "Roni" (Layered 90's guitar tones, thundering drums and bright, quirky melodies prevail on the Mexico City band's impressive U.S. debut Tre3s out now on Arts & Crafts. Check them out at SXSW also!)


3. The Booze - "Kick Me Where It Hurts" (Skuzzy guitars and huge vintage organs highlight the first single from the Atlanta band's new album At Maximum Volume which is a throwback to 60's British R&B like the Kinks and Rolling Stones but with a modern twist.)


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Morning Teleportation - "Expanding Anyway"

Morning Teleportation debut their first album Expanding Anyway today on Glacial Pace Recordings, the label run by Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse. The album also produced by Isaac is a trippy art-rock ride with the band’s youthful restlessness, wild, caterwauling yet heartfelt vocals, and strange psychedelia mixed with classic rock and folk tendencies channeled through the energy and intensity of punk rock. Their eclectic sound would fit right in with both the Bonnaroo crowd and at a basement show.

“Boom Puma” opens the album with wild screams before launching into a spastic vamp complete with banging keyboards and a talkbox solo. “Eyes The Same” possesses Modest Mouse-derived melodies and a sing-along chorus to go along with the funk-informed dance rock. The instrumental interlude that begins “Snow Frog Vs. Motor Cobra” features crazed horns, cascading finger-picked guitars and a frantic pace, sounding like the soundtrack to a car chase; the song that follows features a tight disco-beat, handclaps, more talkbox and haunted howling background vocals. The jammy sing-along title track “Expanding Anyway” stands out with singer/guitarist Tiger Merritt’s rhythmic vocals and fast-paced finger-style guitars and you can even hear Isaac’s bark in the background. “Crystalline” features hypnotic cyclical guitar figures and some warm folksy harmonies before turning into a Wolf Parade-like rock out. The 9-minute long “Wholehearted Drifting Sense Of Inertia” goes off on freak out tangents with screamed vocals, horns, quirky knotty guitars, crazed carnival organs and 8-bit analog synths for a prog and electronic influenced trip. The fun “Banjo Disco” stands out with frenetic banjo picking and spacey synths, sounding like a 70’s themed hootenanny beamed from outer space. The album closes with the poppy and strutting “Treble Chair”, adding yet another dimension to the band’s energetic and eclectic sound.

From Wolf Parade to Holopaw to Mimicking Birds and now Morning Teleportation, Isaac sure has a great ear…take his word and mine; you will not be disappointed with Expanding Anyway.

Download the title track "Expanding Anyway" here:

For more info click here: and

Friday, March 04, 2011

Free Friday: Sacred Spirits - "Some Stay"

Sacred Spirits is the new project of former Pomegranates member Josh Kufeldt as well as bassist Ben Lehman and drummer Sam Cowan. Their debut album Some Stay is available as a free download from The Recording Label, a new Cincinnati-based net label offering all of their releases for free.

Sacred Spirits offer up a noisy and psychedic brand of indie rock with walls of guitars spliced with some contrastingly airy, atmospheric moments for a sound that sweeps across the whole spectrum. Standouts include the swaying melodies on "Here", the hip-shaking pop of "Open Window", the glassy and churning "People" and the reverb-drenched and surging title track, "Some Stay".

Download Some Stay here:

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The 45's - "This Is Life"

The 45’s songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Michael LaVolpe has recruited an excellent supporting cast of musicians to help bring his vision to life on his self-released debut This Is Life, out now digitally on iTunes. Their nostalgic and eclectic mix of rock and folk never lacks a catchy hook or memorable melody.

The upbeat title track, “This Is Life” opens the album with a glammy mix of Beatles-inspired melodies and honky-tonk piano. “All Around You” takes inspiration from 80’s soft rock with a radio-ready chorus. Standout track “Song For The Broken Hearted” is a driving, arena-rock anthem with chugging guitars and an insistent beat. The first single, “I Could Stay With You” comes complete with Americana accruements like pedal steel and a shuffling beat that match the emotional weight of the lyrics. “A Little Bit Closer” showcases a soulful side with a Blues-inflected groove matched with female background vocals and a vintage organ solo. The bouncing sunny pop of “Please Be Careful” and “Living Life In Style” sound like they would be live favorites. And speaking of their live show, “Holy Roller (Hold It High)” ends the album on a high note with a punchy, piano-led 70’s rock groove and sing-along that could easily close out their live show just as well.

For all the chameleon-like changes, This Is Life has a strong cohesiveness and an undeniable catchiness, making for an excellent debut.

Download "I Could Stay With You" here:

Buy This Is Life on iTunes here:

For more info click here:

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

3 Songs: On Repeat

1. Papercuts - "Do What You Will" (Papercuts is the project from songwriter Jason Robert Quever and if you think Arcade Fire has a huge sound, or that U2 can belt out an anthem, then you won't believe the wide-screen, wall of sound dreampop on Fading Parade, their Sub Pop debut, out now.)


2. Eisley - "Smarter" (Angelic voices and irresistible melodies combine with weighty lyrics for an uplifting and affecting album the band created after going through the emotional valleys of failed relationships and label woes. Fittingly, The Valley, out now on Equal Vision Records is the peak of their career.)

3. Dum Dum Girls - "He Gets Me High" (After receiving great praise for their girl-group and guitar-drenched debut last year, they return with He Gets Me High, an new EP featuring 3 new songs and an excellent cover of the classic Smiths track “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out”.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The Rural Alberta Advantage - "Departing"

After Hometowns, their self-released first album received great praise from eMusic, Saddle Creek re-released it to even greater acclaim and The Rural Alberta Advantage are now back with the release of their highly anticipated second album, Departing, out today on Saddle Creek. With a proper budget and time spent on the road, the Canadian band consisting of Nils Edenloff, Amy Cole, and Paul Banwatt have honed their skills and grown tighter and more focused with their percussion-heavy, folk-informed indie rock.

The aching “Two Lovers” opens the album with steady acoustic strumming setting the rhythm to the crashing cymbals and a backdrop of keyboards. “The Breakup” features a quick-paced choppy beat, poppy keyboards and very little guitar accompaniment along with a catchy, soaring chorus. “Under The Knife” and its dance-y beat and wailing vocals are an album highlight. “Muscle Relaxants” is anything but relaxing with a tense and taut guitar-led attack met with pretty male/female harmonies. “North Star” emotes with a thumping beat, strokes of keyboards and a passionate vocal. Standout track “Stamps” is a wild flurry of furious percussion, propulsive guitars and rafters-reaching vocals. The emotional “Tornado” features well placed glockenspiel, tumbling drums and an affecting vocal. The album closes with “Good Night” which begins with acapella vocals and a big, live, open-room sound like it was recorded on the road one night after a show.

With Departing, The Rural Alberta Advantage has emerged from the hype with an even bigger and better record avoiding the sophomore slump entirely.


For more info click here: and