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The Rural Alberta Advantage 

8 p.m. Wednesday, December 9. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue.

The Rural Alberta Advantage was regarded as one of the best unsigned bands in Canada before indie giant Saddle Creek Records signed the group and re-released its debut album, Hometowns, earlier this year. The trio's whimsical blend of emotive indie-folk and woozy synth layers at times feels like a distorted mirror image of the vibe created by Neutral Milk Hotel's heart-on-sleeve song cycles. But RAA sets itself apart sonically with the incorporation of propulsive, in-your-face drumbeats and a nostalgic sense of longing for the wide-open spaces of home. "Don't Haunt This Place," for instance, combines spastic drumming with melancholy brushstrokes of lonely cello and a bed of dark, ambient keyboards. These unlikely combinations keep Hometowns from getting stuck in the mud of the Canadian countryside it so tenderly romanticizes.

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