And I Never Know When I’m Holding You Too Tight

by Heather Browne SOURCE FUEL Friends / YouTube

Like the feeling of the fog-blanketed desolation in the cover art for Rural Alberta Advantage's album Departing, this is a record chronicling the holding tight and the letting go in nearly every song, every line.

The last few nights I’ve been having trouble turning my mind off to go to sleep. So I decided to remember the simple, numbing glory of putting on a pair of headphones and letting the aural assault mute everything else clanking and pinging around in my head, high school style. Somehow as I’ve grown up, I’ve moved away from the falling-asleep-to-music, whether it was from sleeping beside someone, or wanting to be awake enough to hear the sounds in my house. As I’ve reclaimed and grown comfortable moving away from both of those, I’m taking back the headphones to sleep this week.

Last night my pick was the newest Rural Alberta Advantage album (which also made up a major part of my favorite SXSW moments), and the song that did it for me over and over again was “Muscle Relaxants.” It’s like certain songs from The National, where the drumbeat has an analgesic effect. I mean that quite literally. It uncaps some sort of pleasure receptors in my brain and a fuzz descends.

The entire album Departing is completely fantastic (other favorite tracks include “North Star,” “Barnes Yard,” and the terrific “Stamp,” but who’s counting). I plan to devote several more sleepless nights to it, at minimum.