Friday, May 1st, 2009
In The Summertime
The Rural Alberta Advantage sign with Saddle Creek, no longer our little secret
Patrick LeducFor the longest time now, the phrase, “best unsigned band in Toronto/Canada/the world” has been used so often in conjunction with The Rural Alberta Advantage that they may as well have incorporated it into their name. But no longer. As hinted at a couple weeks ago and confirmed yesterday at Pitchfork, the trio’s long, slow build to critical mass – beginning with the eMusic Selects feature last Fall and culminating in their triumphant SxSW appearances in March – has now resulted in their signing to highly-regarded US label Saddle Creek. A fact which sent me digging for this piece in eye last Fall when the Omaha-based label insisted there was no master plan to snap up as much Canadian talent as possible (at that point, they’d added Tokyo Police Club, Sebastien Grainger and Land Of Talk to their roster in rapid succession). Now the truth becomes clear – we’re being annexed by Nebraska, one band at a time.
But seriously, It’s been such a treat to watch their star so deservedly ascend over the last couple years, and would like to offer the band a very hearty congratulations on the start of the next phase of their career. That will begin with a reissue of their debut album Hometowns on July 7 in the US and probably up here as well. I, for one, can’t wait to get a copy of the record in a physical form with a spine so that it doesn’t disappear on my CD shelves as soon as I file it, not that I’d likely ever forget that it was there. And I also envy those of you who’ll be getting to hear them for the first time with this wide release of the album and experience that feeling of discovery. You are in for such a treat.
North American touring is in the works for this Summer with a few dates listed in the Pitchfork piece, as well as confirmation of a couple of local festivals – Hillside in Guelph in July and Wolfe Island up in Kingston on August 8.
Their next local date will be June 18 at the Drake Underground as part of I Heart Music’s NxNE showcase. Just informed they’ve got other things in the works – stay tuned.
In other “just signed” news, Billboard reports that Australia-by-way-of-the-UK’s Howling Bells have signed to Nettwerk for the July 28 North American release of their second album Radio Wars, which was released in the UK back in February. I was pretty down on the album after hearing it, particularly with all the promise displayed in their self-titled debut, but have warmed to it a bit since. It’s still not as good as the first, but it’s really only a couple of really BAD songs that drag down the overall experience, which is largely okay with moments of pretty good. Faint praise, I know. My main hopes are that with this deal in place, they’ll finally be able to tour North America properly and not just as support on big arena-scale tours (Killers, Coldplay) that I’d have no intention of seeing.
Neil Halstead has released another video from last year’s Oh! Mighty Engine. Halstead will also apparently be featured in today’s Daytrotter session – those usually go up by 10AM ET or so – will link when it’s available. Update: It’s up! With two new songs!
Video: Neil Halstead – “Elevenses”
The Quietus and The Irish Times interview Manic Street Preachers about their new album Journal For Plague Lovers, out May 18, covering the main talking points of the record – Richey and Albini. The Quietus also has a track-by-track review of the record.
The Manics also big up The Horrors’ new record Primary Colours to The Quietus as the best of the year. Express Night Out talks to frontman Faris Badwan. They’ll be at the Phoenix next Thursday opening for The Kills.
British funk-soul outfit The Heavy have a date at Supermarket on June 26.
Maximo Park will be coming to North America in support of Quicken The Heart, out May 12, for this Fall. Toronto, circle September 19 at Lee’s Palace on your calendar. Singer Paul Smith talks football and memories with BBC.
In case you missed it, Wilco have confirmed both the title (Wilco (The Album) and release date (June 30) for their next album. And to start the anticipation build-up, the band are giving away a non-album track – a Woody Guthrie tune – and asking that you make a donation to the Woody Guthrie Foundation & Archives in exchange. Honour system, yo.