The Rural Alberta Advantage

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WiAC 2014 Songs HeaderWell we weren’t planning on doing a favorite songs post for 2014, but then Logan sent me an email with his favorite songs and some brief write-ups, then I couldn’t help doing the same, and before we knew it, we had a list that we both agreed should probably be shared. But we didn’t want to do too much more work,┬áso we present to you our favorite 30-ish songs from 2014, un-ranked and accompanied by our first-draft non-proof-read write-ups!

Logan’s list is on top, Chris’s is on bottom, and both are in alphabetical order. Click on and enjoy!

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It’s been pretty quiet around here for awhile (so quiet that we’re pretty sure just our mom’s are checking this thing at this point) (hi moms!), but even though we haven’t been writing all that much, we promise we’ve still been listening to loads of good music. So putting this list together has been a good chance for us to finally put down how we feel about some of the great stuff we’ve heard this year. We just hope it’s as fun for you to browse through as it was for us to pull together!

Before reading on, just a quick note about a record that’s not on this list: The Head & The Heart’s debut record saw a major label release this year (on Sub Pop), and although we’ve probably listened to that absolute gem of a record more than just about any other this year, we didn’t include it on account of it being on our year-end list for 2010, since they self-released it that year. But just know this: under different circumstances, The Head & The Heart would most certainly top this list. So if you haven’t heard them yet, let that be your invitation! Because they are so great!

So with that out of the way, we’re ready to unveil our Top 21 Albums of 2011. Just remember that this list represents our favorite albums of the year, and not necessarily the best albums of the year. If we had to pick what we thought were the very best albums critically, this list might look a little different. But we’re not critics, so we’re not going to worry about who made the greatest artistic strides or whatever this year. These are simply our very favorite albums of the year: the ones that made us laugh, cry, dance, smile, press repeat, wet our pants, etc. Basically, this is what we’ll remember when we look back on 2011.

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Sadly, I don’t have a used record store nearby. So instead I rely on what the wonderful residents of Redlands donate to Goodwill and the Salvation Army. As a whole my neighbors seem to love old gospel music and Christmas albums, both of which, judging by the vacuous faces smiling back at me from the album covers, were recorded by cultists. Really, that is about 99% of the records and CDs at the thrift store. Not ideal.

That was until last week when I found The Rural Alberta Advantage’s latest album Departing sandwiched between Amy Grant and 15 Celtic Hymns. I kind of couldn’t believe it….especially after listening to the album. Why would anyone knowingly get rid of this?

The Rural Alberta Advantage does a pretty fantastic job giving you an idea of what this album is all about before you even listen to it. it. The frigid landscape that graces the cover and the title Departing perfectly encapsulate the themes you’ll find. The music blends so well to Nils Edenloff’s heartfelt vocals that the whole thing seems almost effortless. No instrument seems to dominate the others. Guitars, keys, drums, and vocals, all of them carry along with one another flawlessly. (Ok, maybe the drums steal the show at some points.) The result is an absolutely crushing album about the pain of loss and the desire to hold onto something for just a moment longer.

“Under the Knife” is the prime example of what I’m what talking about. Stunning vocals, heartbreaking lyrics, driving percussion, and all of it in one seamless musical package. Additionally, the last song on the album is the perfect closer. Soft, stark, and raw. A reviewer called it a “lullaby drenched in grown-up tears.” “Goodnight” is just devastating.

mp3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – Under the Knife
from the album Departing (buy it here)

mp3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – Goodnight
from the album Departing (buy it here)