Fire In The Hole!

~ Why the world needs Wolf Parade ~

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words by lauren rearick

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There are very few bands that I’ve grown up with. Those bands are the ones that have soundtrack the good, the bad and the ugly in my life – they’ve been on playlists when I rode the bus to high school, when left for college and even now when I leave the office and want to scream. One of those bands is Wolf Parade, and I can’t believe I’m even typing this, but after years of wondering what the hell Spencer Krug was doing and why the band wasn’t back together – this happened yesterday.

I’ll admit, my love affair with Wolf Parade had a rocky start. I still recall the day one of my only high school friends, Sandy, popped Apologies to the Queen Mary in her car radio. I thought the vocals were weird, and I wondered how long it would take to get home because I wanted to read O.C. spoilers.

Then something changed. I changed. I quit listening to Kelly Clarkson, I started suffering from anxiety, but I didn’t know it, and I discovered there was a whole wide world of tunes out there that got me. I still didn’t like Wolf Parade, but one day my only other high school friend invited me to one of their shows. I didn’t know it at the time, and I wish I had, but it was one of the very last times the band would perform before their indefinite hiatus.

The most memorable live experiences are the ones where you feel it with every part of you. Where you lose yourself in every note, and you wish it could last forever, that feeling of ecstasy and joy, the knowing that the band in front of you is giving it their all. That first and last live experience I had with Wolf Parade still haunts me to this day, and it’s the very reason I fell in love.

While artists hide behind costume changes, lights and fancy celebrity guests, Wolf Parade is Wolf Parade, a couple of guys, a bunch of instruments and some of the best damn vocals you’ll ever hear. The heartbreak, loss, discovering yourself, feeling totally alone – it’s all there in every note, in every second. And that very last time I saw Wolf Parade – I cried. I sobbed like a baby because for the first time I didn’t feel like my whole world was falling apart.

Wolf Parade demonstrated what a live experience should be, and after that show I developed a healthy obsession with everything in their catalog. I could continue gushing on about that performance, but instead I want to go back, and share with you what each of the albums meant to me – I want to pretend like this is the first time, again.

 

Apologies to the Queen Mary

This 2005 full length explains everything about life that I can’t, and it’s akin to tunneling into a faraway world, where your guide is the signature yelp of Spencer Krug and his partner in crime, the equally enchanting Dan Boeckner. Joined by bandmates Arlen Thompson and Dante DeCaro, the band leads you into their terribly inventive space, a world filled with melodies sure to guide you out of the darkest pits of despair and straight in to the sunlight.

Eleven years later and the ideas here seem as fresh as ever – the disgust with what we can’t change in the world around us (Modern World), the desire to find a piece of solace in all the shit (We Built Another World) and the hope that someone else might just come along to take your hand through it all (I’ll Believe in Anything).

Growing up in a strict, strict Christian household my escape came in the form of ‘Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts‘, the idea that maybe I really had some control of my own life, that maybe it wasn’t all predestined for anything- “Now we’ll say it’s in God’s hands But God doesn’t always have the best goddamn plans, does he” – it’s something I cling to even now.

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At Mount Zoomer

As a child, I loved curling up in a chair and getting lost in a storybook world, a place where my fantastical imagination could conjure up any dream I wanted. The music of Wolf Parade has always felt like a fantasy to me. And with At Mount Zoomer, I kind of have an idea what they’re talking about but the imagery, the lyrics – they’re all so unique and twisted up that I can never really be quite sure my interpretation of anything is correct. That’s one of the best qualities about their music because rather than come out and say what a mess it all is, they weave together their own tapestries, composed of bits and pieces from the recesses of their brains.

Here we’re set atop At Mount Zoomer, a place where a perfect lover has disappeared for West Coast dreams (‘California Dreamer‘), the frenetic energy of finding a place to call your own is reflected in ‘The Grey Estates‘ and for eleven beautiful minutes Krug and Boecker come together in an album ending straight from your dreams (‘Kissing the Beehive’).

Expo 86

The first time I listened to this album I was in love, with an idiot, and I remember thinking that ‘In the Direction of the Moon‘ is the greatest love song of our time. Impress someone you love by putting it on a mix.

Anyways, this particular album was where the bulk of my Wolf Parade experience started, so it holds a very, very special place in my heart. It’s ceaseless in its energy and pace, commanding your attention with a promise that “you’ll be okay come morning” with ‘Cloud Shadow on the Mountain‘ and a conclusion that maybe Wolf Parade fans should have remembered all along – “I got you till you’re gone.”

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Playlist | Essentials; Wolf Parade

Lauren runs a music blog called The Grey Estates

wolfparade.com

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