sound check

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March 17th, 2011 |
By Michael Swanger

The Rural Alberta Advantage


Saddle Creek Records

Two years ago, The Rural Alberta Advantage broke onto the national scene garnering critical acclaim and comparisons to The Arcade Fire and Neutral Milk. Two weeks ago, they released their latest album on Saddle Creek Records, “Departing,” which further refines the band’s angular, indie-rock sound as singer-songwriter Nils Edenloff draws on his formative experiences of growing up in the small-town of Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada. The setting for the tune “Barnes Yard,” for instance, is derived from Edenloff’s work as a newspaper carrier, while “Tornado ’87” addresses the second deadliest tornado in Canadian history. The album includes the witty single, “Stamp,” as well as set-closing acoustic lullaby, “Goodnight,” which highlights the band’s folk influences.

(The Rural Alberta Advantage performs Tuesday, March 22 at 8 p.m. at the M-Shop in Ames. $10.)




Aqui Estamos Records

Aqui Estamos Records boasts that the Parlours’ self-titled EP “promises to satisfy a diverse audience, ranging from ’70s pop nostalgia of Fleetwood Mac with synth-dance rhythms to Iron-and-Wine-like ballads.” That’s quite a range of music listeners, but a more succinct description of the local band’s music is simply “indie college rock.” Led by singer Dana Halferty, Parlours strength is youthful, contemplative lyrics (reportedly rooted in Halferty’s journal-like songwriting that began while she was a college student in Ames), augmented by breezy arrangements and spacious instrumentation that allows each of the EP’s five songs to breathe. Halferty’s bandmates include Scott Yoshimura of the Envy Corps and Becca Smith of The Nadas. Highlights are the ukulele-driven “I Think I’ll Call You Mine,” complete with a handclap solo, and the charming “I Dream of Chicago.”

(For more information about the Parlours, visit