20 Watts

City Sounds 4/12: Omaha by krkuchta

Listen to WERW's sounds of Omaha this Monday from 11pm-1am


I never thought that any location in Nebraska would be considered a paradise. But in the realm of music, Omaha, Nebraska is an indie paradise. Home of Conor Oberst, Saddle Creek Records and…Conor Oberst (again), who almost hyped up the Omaha scene all by himself. But, of course, one man can’t do it all.

Besides Conor Oberst’s many projects like Bright Eyes, his solo career and the Mystic Valley Band, there have been other huge acts from Omaha. Dance-punk’s The Faint along with the alternative funkiness of 311 have thrown a bit of variety into the Omaha sound. But Omaha’s roots are fairly well planted in alternative, indie and emo. From Cursive to Broken Spindles, it’s heaven out there for any music lover.

That’s not all of course. There’s Digital Leather and the lead singer from Iron Butterfly from the capital of Nebraska! So there isn’t anything you could possibly dislike.

I figured we deserve a trip back to the States after our gig over in Stockholm last Monday. For some good old fashion American emo, listen to City Sounds Monday night from 11pm-1am on WERW.

–Kyle Kuchta

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20 Watts’ Best of 2009 # 11: The Rural Alberta Advantage’s Hometowns by Irina Dvalidze

The Rural Alberta Advantage's Hometowns is #11 on our Best Of 2009 List

PREVIEW: VISIT The Rural Alberta Advantage Official Web Page

You’ve probably heard this Toronto trio compared to Neutral Milk Hotel on more then one occasion, but what many fail to do is recognize the impeccable originality that The Rural Alberta Advantage bring to the genre with their debut release Hometowns.

Re-released under Saddle Creek Records in July 2009, Hometowns is a perfectly tailored release, exceeding anyone’s expectations for a standard debut album. For a band that formed a mere four years earlier, Paul Banwatt, Amy Cole and Nils Edenloff demonstrate incredible harmony and unison within each facet of the album.

Employing the widest range of sound, RAA’s Hometowns is almost an oxymoron. Each note is incredibly fresh and unprecedented, yet every arrangement is drenched in homelike familiarity. The album is a mash of everything from indie synth-pop to post-punk, while retaining an immaculate flow.

Whether you are in a mood for a jam session or a melodic ballad, Hometowns seems to merge all of the above. The band’s ability to retain accessibility while exploring such an array of sounds is nothing short of astounding for the young band to master. Every song is precise and calculated, as each instrumental layer fits ideally with the next. Assortment of light drum thumps, tambourine beats sprinkled with the occasional airy violins give the album an incredible variety, making it relatable from multiple angles.

Hometowns has humbly caught attention this year, and put The Rural Alberta Advantage on the map. Hopefully, it’s just the first in a line of many intrepid releases for the group.

— Irina Dvalidze

20 Watts Talks to Nils Edenloff of The Rural Alberta Advantage by Eric Vilas-Boas
Nils Edenloff (right) of The Rural Alberta Advantage talks to 20 Watts

Nils Edenloff (right) of The RAA talks to 20 Watts

PREVIEW: Download The RAA’s “The Deathbridge in Lethbridge” MP3
RELATED COVERAGE: Positive Jam: Exclusive Coverage on 20 Watts, 20 Watts Reviews The Rural Alberta Advantage’s Hometowns

Signing to Saddle Creek, releasing an acclaimed debut, and touring extensively have made this a pretty banner year for The Rural Alberta Advantage. Guitarist/vocalist/keyboardist Nils Edenloff talked to 20 Watts just the other day about his experiences, the band’s origins, and our mutual affinity for The Antlers and Neutral Milk Hotel. The RAA’s Hometowns was re-released by Saddle Creek earlier this year and you can catch The Rural Alberta Advantage playing the Positive Jam at Stewart Park, on the beautiful shores of Cayuga Lake, at 1:30pm, on Sunday, Sept. 6!

20W: So to start off, why do you call yourselves The Rural Alberta Advantage? What’s the origin of the name? Did you guys ever go by any other name?

Edenloff: It’s the only name we’ve ever used. It has to do with looking back on Alberta — where I grew up — and we make a lot of references to it. The name actually comes from a play on a provincial slogan, which is now defunct, called “The Alberta Advantage,” championing the oil sands industry. My brother once emailed me the suggestion, and it stuck.

20W: How long have you guys known each other? How did you meet?

Edenloff: We’ve known each other for a long time. Paul [Banwatt], Amy [Cole] and a friend of mine used to play in another band called Clementine. Eventually Paul and I started co-hosting open-mic nights. The first year, there was kind of a fluctuating line-up, with nothing really set in stone. I think when the three of us started playing together — Paul, Amy and myself — that was when the band really started, in February, 2006.

20W: The RAA signed to Saddle Creek earlier this year after Hometowns took off. Has the experience of being signed to a major indie label changed your approach to music at all? Continue reading

20 Watts Interviews UUVVWWZ by tjwell01
Teal Gardner (second from right) and UUVVWWZ are weird kids

Teal Gardner (second from right) and UUVVWWZ are weird kids

READ: UUVVWWZ on Saddle Creek

Teal Gardner, lead singer of emerging band, UUVVWWZ, out of Lincoln, Nebraska, talked with 20 Watts about music in the Midwest and her hopes for the band. Gardner is a 24-year-old student at the University of Nebraska along with the rest of UUVVWWZ. They’re  just focusing on finishing school and having fun.

20W: What’s the music scene like in Nebraska?

Gardner: There are a lot of long winters here, and you need a lot of creativity to have fun. Musically, [Nebraska] is in a lull period. There’s always a two-year turnover. Like a year ago, there were a lot of bands that were doing interesting stuff. Just because it’s Nebraska doesn’t mean there aren’t interesting people here. People don’t have anything to prove because there’s no national spotlight.

20W: Just one more Nebraska question. How do you know if someone is from Nebraska?

Gardner: If they hear anything about the Cornhuskers, they will make a disgusted face. Football is the most intense thing here.

Continue reading