Wolf Parade

An affinity for 80s music may be a prerequisite to becoming a Wolf Parade fan. As I listened to Expo 86 for the first few times, visions of 80s movies started (literally) dancing in my head.  Midway through the albums fourth track, “Little Golden Age,” my visions became crystal clear. I could almost smell the pot smoke and taste the sweat off of Emilio Estevez as he tore off his shirt, cartwheeled around the library, and invented acrobat-dancing. Or did Kevin Bacon invent that?

If youre new to Wolf Parade, dont let the 80s reference scare you. I mostly think of that era of music due to the heavy use of keyboards and the vocals of Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug who both have a flare for the dramatic. While past Wolf Parade albums have been created over long periods of time, Expo 86 was turned out quickly while keeping a keen eye on the details. In fact, this is Wolf Parades best album to date.

The album kicks off with lyrics that will have you hitting pause and rewind on “Cloud Shadow On The Mountain:”

I was asleep in a hammock
I was dreaming that I was a web
I was a dream catcher
Hanging in the window of a minivan
Parked along the waters edge
Id say that I was all alone
Id say that I was all alone
But I will never be born as a scorpion.

They had me at “dream catcher.”  I cant recall when Ive had this much fun listening to an album. Its one of the best of the year and Im hooked on several songs that include “Palm Road,” “What Did My Lover Say,” “Little Golden Age,” “In The Direction Of The Moon,” “Ghost Pressure,” and “Pobodys Nerfect.” Thats about the whole damn album. For me, Expo 86 is a perfect blend of unique songwriting, driving guitars, anthems, obscure vocals, and unbridled energy. I admit that this opinion wasn’t my initial reaction, but repeated listens and many weeks of devotion payed huge dividends.

Wolf Parade – What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way)

Wolf Parade – Ghost Pressure

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Wolf Parade are set to release their third album entitled Expo 86 on June 29th. After taking a one year hiatus, the band started writing songs for the album in November with a “bang it out” mentality. By late February, they were already mixing.

As usual, the band is generous with free downloads, offering two well in advance of the release date.

Wolf Parade – Ghost Pressure

Wolf Parade – What Did My Lover Say

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Sunset Rubdown vs. Handsome Furs? Sounds like an indie music porno if I’ve ever heard one. After releasing the great At Mount Zoomer last year, Wolf Parade’s Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner both went headlong into their side projects this year. Instead of reviewing each separately, let’s just toss them in the ring for a throwdown, Bobby Flay style.

Handsome Furs – Face Control

When listening to Wolf Parade, I’m always pulled to Dan’s songs. There are electronic elements to Handsome Furs’ music, but it’s not overpowering and not nearly enough to turn me off. It’s like listening to the best 80’s music had to offer – the keys, big choruses and guitar riffs with zero cheesiness.‚  I really dig “Legal Tender,” “All We Want, Baby, Is Everything” and “I’m Confused.” The album rarely wavers and is consistent from one song to the next.

Sunset Rubdown – Dragonslayer


It’s hard to win a throwdown when you’re competing with this album title.‚  It’s also hard to compete with the drama and vocal warble of Spencer Krug. His voice didn’t always agree with me when listening to Wolf Parade, but the first track “Silver Moons” immediately tipped me over the edge. The album is less electronic/industrial than Handsome Furs and offers more variety in each song, which kept me on the edge of my seat.

The Verdict

Although only 8 songs deep, Sunset Rubdown’s Dragonslayer wins this round. Regardless of the outcome, these guys are a powerhouse individually and a juggernaut when together. And just like Bobby Flay’s throwdowns, there really isn’t a loser. Each has their own flavor of Wolf Parade and all this shit tastes good.

Handsome Furs – I’m Confused

Handsome Furs – Radio Kaliningrad

Sunset Rubdown – Idiot Heart

Older media from all mentioned bands:

Sunset Rubdown – Winged/Wicked Things

Sunset Rubdown – Up On Your Leopard, Upon The End Of Your Feral Days

Handsome Furs – Cannot Get, Started

Handsome Furs – What We Had

Wolf Parade – Language City

Wolf Parade – Call It A Ritual

Wolf Parade – Shine A Light

Wolf Parade – My Father’s Son

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