Words By: Jonathan “Kos” Kosakow
Nils Edenloff, Amy Cole and Paul Banwatt, who together comprise The Rural Alberta Advantage, occupied many nights of their 2005 lives at an open mic night in Cabbagetown, outside of Toronto. Three years later, the trio released their first album, Hometowns, and was soon after signed by Saddle Creek Records. The RAA’s new-found success allowed them to spend most of the past year consistently touring Canada and the U.S.
It was apparent that they were still getting used to this success on Wednesday night, when a near capacity crowd at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom played host to one of their last scheduled shows of the year. Between songs, Cole and Banwatt shuffled back and forth between instruments (they both switched between percussion and synthesizer, though Banwatt favored the full drum-kit). Edenloff nervously stopped to remark on their thankfulness for playing in front of such dedicated fans. Though when the music started, it was clear that they were in their element. READ ON for more of Jonathan’s experience seeing RAA…
A big, hearty salad of sound is the way to describe Hysterical Stars by Head of Femur. Musicians Matt Focht (vocals, guitar, also of Bright Eyes), Ben Armstrong (vocals, keyboards, drums, ex-Commander Venus) and Mike Elsener (vocals/guitar, also of Solar Wind) form the backbone of this Nebraska based indie rock “supergroup.” But Head of Femur has brought in a large number other players on their second full length album. Where else can you hear a trumpet, gong, glockenspiel and violin all wrapped up in a pop album?