wolf parade and the new pornographers: go!
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


It seems like only yesterday that we posted a Wolf Parade song on Said the Gramophone -- oh wait, it was our last post. Well, I apologise. But the season is ripe with new material, and they're the band that's making our blood buzz. Yes, the Wolf Parade's debut EP on Sub Pop, self-titled like the last two (this, I'm sure, is a tactic to fuck up eBayers) has leaked. And it's pretty fucking brill. Messy as puddle-water on a table-cloth, but so too has the band's pop elements have been greased and set spinning. We are in for one great treat when the album drops in the fall.

This is a band that play prog and brokenbottle garage rock, brown-grey and cut-lipped. Or, as I said in Plan B:

Theirs is a skewed rock’n’roll which is part New Wave schizo, part old-school rhythm ‘n blues. Spencer’s synths sneer, Arlen’s drums pound, Hadji’s theremin warbles, and Dan bursts open like a cocaine piñata.

Wolf Parade - "Shine a Light". The opening track of the new Wolf Parade, the opening song on their CBC Radio 3 set, and (who knows?) maybe even the opening cut on Apologies to the Queen Mary when it's released in September. It's a great opener, each element of the band entering in mud-caked gear. The drums are brilliantly up-down jerky, there's the sliding slur of organ, and then the sharp thrumble or guitar. The band's only got one guitarist, but in studio they can have a million - they chime, they claw-back answers, they keep the pace with Dan's monologuist voice. He sounds like a man who's gone blind, who's gone deaf, feeling music in his chest and then giving a manic sermon to the crowd. He's so serious. So drunk, and so serious. Perhaps most brilliant of all is the backing-vocals, Spencer's "wo-oh OH oh" and then the bluebright "oooh-oooh-oooh-ooh"s, something more restful and Beautiful just around the corner. "Shine a Light" sounds so smoky, but so gladly so, so celebratory in its smog and grit and mud.

And I know they don't sound like Spoon, but they do, too, don't they? Spoon after getting soaked to the skin, dumped, and beaten up? Yeah?

Despite the band's problems during the Isaac Brock recording sessions, I'm assuming this was produced by him.

[pre-order for less than $5!]


Yes, it's a new-releases kind of week. Look what else has arrived:

The New Pornographers - "The Bleeding Heart Show". So Twin Cinema is due on August 23, and delight-of-delights, is just as good (and just the same) as the last two Pornographer records. For some bands this would be a criticism, but me I don't want the Pornos to deviate from their formula. This is a formula that blows people down with galeforce pop winds, a wedding-cake in a pill, a rainbow in a lightbulb, a pony. Matt would call it joycore, but when it comes to the New Pornographers, for me it's sour-pop. It's so direct, so fierce, so strong - that blast of lemon to your tongue, lips, head. And then there's the notes, the intervals, or something - everything just a little sharp, somehow, a little weird, a little sour. It's engineered, of course. This sourness, this weirdness, it softens you up for the perfect tonal burst of the chorus' capping line, or something.

But let's talk about "The Bleeding Heart Show". Such a deceiving song, tiptoeing through the first minute-and-a-bit, serene niceness. But then the drums and organs poke their heads out of the meadow, and - boy oh boy, - do we know where Carl and Neko are headed now (hint: it is somewhere awesome!). And yet they delay, they delay... Oh yes, there we go. Anthemic arena ooohing. But wait! Did they ever get you. That's not the peak, no siree, that pleasantry. Nah - we've got a whole new drumbeat and some old-fashioned "Hey Jude" chanting for you. "Hey-la hey-la, hey-la hey-laaaaa!" There's no clouds, didn't you notice? There are kites flying, didn't you notice? In the wide open green of the Meadows this afternoon, I saw a girl do a cartwheel, for no good reason, just hanging around on her own. And here's Neko - it's a call-back to the opening and it's so joyous and so sour and it's like she's made something else appear, made the birds appear, or made them change colour, or just made me think they did.

(My only complaint with Twin Cinema, so far, is that despite the purported increase in the Bejar-quotient, Destroyer Dan still doesn't make nearly enough of an appearance. That is, we hear his voice, we hear his words, but I love when he reins the Pornographers to his own chalky-beauteous ditties - see "A Testament In Youth in Verse". And for that, I guess, I'm going to have to wait.)

[hopefully you'll be able to pre-order soon, at Matador and Mint]


Popsheep's got more Wolf Parade, kinda, in the form of Spencer's solo project, Sunset Rundown. The album's pretty great (we may post about it too). They've also written about the new record by Floatation Toy Warning (I know), which, well, I'm definitely going to be posting about as well. They steal all our ideas, and stuff.

Yesterday at Fopp I picked up the remastered version of the first Arcade Fire EP (with new Seripop artwork!) It sounds great. You should get it.

Posted by Sean at June 19, 2005 5:23 PM

Ooh, thanks so much for the Wolf Parade leaky tip off, I'm gonna go and play it at a suitably loud volume right now. And dance! (and I pre-ordered both formats from Sub Pop, aswell)

Posted by Adele at June 19, 2005 10:54 PM

yes, i totally agree, i love "testament to youth in verse" and i wish there was more bejar on this album, but they are playing some shows together in the fall so that should be nice.

thanks for the wolf parade too.

Posted by abi huynh at June 20, 2005 1:38 AM

How different does the new Arcade Fire EP sound?

Posted by Chris at June 20, 2005 10:21 AM

Wondering what you guys think of the new Arcade Fire single "Cold Wind"? available here:


Haven't made up mind up yet.

Posted by James at June 20, 2005 12:58 PM

Hey James. You're two weeks late, see here --


Chris -

Everything sounds cleaner, more separate, less muddy. It sounds the same, really - they're the same recordings, - just better! It's not really surprising, as Win spent months trying to find someone who new how to master and when he did it himself, he wasn't exactly an experienced hand.

Posted by Sean at June 20, 2005 1:02 PM

super duper unbelievably blahhhhhh

Posted by blah at June 20, 2005 2:00 PM

Ahh, I was wondering if I'd missed a post. I figured you guys would have posted it by this point.

Posted by James at June 20, 2005 2:12 PM

I think the CBC Radio 3 version of "Shine A Light" sounds better, although there is really not a huge difference. Great song.

They played two new (new to me, at least) songs on Saturday night in the park in Montreal. Great, great show.

Posted by Sam at June 21, 2005 3:25 PM

Interesting. I'm putting off writing about the album until after I see them on Saturday, but my feeling about Twin Cinema is that it's not enough like the first two! It's a grower, for sure, but it sure doesn't feel anything like a greatest hit record, as Mass Romantic and Electric Version did. The only song that even comes close to "The Laws Have Changed" and "Letter From An Occupant" and "Mass Romantic" and "It's Only Divine Right" is the title track. Sour pop is a much better word for this record, because it's lacking the intensity of joycore for certain.

Posted by Matthew at June 21, 2005 7:03 PM

What were the band's (WP) problems during the Isaac Brock recording sessions?

Posted by Dave at June 21, 2005 8:18 PM

shine a light was actually recorded on a laptop, features tim kingsbury from arcade fire on bass, and was produced by the capable and deft hands of arlen thompson.

Posted by dabonerneck at June 23, 2005 2:05 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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