Wolf Parade’s At Mount Zoomer is weird and nuanced and filled with bizarre energy. For the most part this works for them, but occasionally it works against.
At Mount Zoomer starts strong with the synth-accented 3/4 swirl of “Soldier’s Grin”, which builds to an impassioned release. The skipping piano march and hollowed-out vocals of “Call It A Ritual” continue to please. Zoomer also ends strong with the reigned-in 80s vibe of “Fine Young Cannibals” that would do Hall & Oates proud, and the grandiose epic that is “Kissing the Beehive”.
Though their quirkiness is part of their charm, Wolf Parade gets a bit too weird for the less-adventurous listener. Misplaced pop (“The Grey Estates”), a lengthly retro organ jam (“California Dreamer”), and an odd dance (“Bang Your Drum”) work together to make the middle of the album a little off-putting for the more sober among us.
This murky ground can be ignored, however, by the inclusion of “Language City” – a track that is earnest, stark at points, but still teeming with movement and warmth – and “An Animal in Your Care”, which begins relaxed and pretty but grows into a fierce declaration.
At Mount Zoomer dropped 06/17/08.
Get downloads and more from Wolf Parade’s Sub Pop page.
We are pleased to bring you this fantastically crafted mixtape by Jose of Harlem Shakes.
A few words from Jose:
When I make a mix, it’s almost always for a friend, and I generally give it a title and a some kind of a theme. This mix is an exception to both of those rules. This is new and exciting territory for me, just putting a bunch of songs I like together and making them fit together without some specific purpose. Still, I try to employ the same techniques when I’m putting something together, building the mix around 3 or 4 songs, usually the first and last track and a centerpiece near the middle and trying to match everything around it (I always try to make it so that the first track sets the tone and the last provides some sort of climax or catharsis).
“Have You Seen in Your Dreams” is an appropriate kick-off for this mix, with dripping-wet shimmery production and tender vocals. Miracle Fortress is the solo project of Graham Van Pelt of Think About Life. He, along with Shapes and Sizes, is a friend of a friend from Montreal and I’m so glad to have been turned onto both bands. There’s also a pair of tracks by Asobi Seksu and White Rabbits, two bands with whom we share the same maestro/producer, Chris Zane. His work makes me shiver.
The song I wanted to highlight the most is “The Greater Times” by Electrelane. There’s no other band that I am as pleased or as excited to listen to these days. This song is exactly what I want from the pop idiom. From the sweet, heart-aching lyrics to the way she desperately turns “the walls” into “oohs” at the climax — this is my perfect pop song.
I love Canadian bands. Frog Eyes can sometimes be hit-or-miss for me, though on the whole I’m a fan of their records. Their newest, Tears of the Valedictorian, closes with “Bushels”, and it’s basically a summary of the rest of the record. I love the dynamic progression that barrels right through a strong (and seemingly short) nine minutes and forces you to listen to the whole song. The first time I heard that snare/piano roll that finishes each phrase in the first verse, I was hooked.
I don’t want to imply that the rest of the mix is merely filler, though I think everything somehow refers or relates to these three songs in some way. I also don’t want to waste your time with a song-by-song description, so I’ll just let the music do the talking from here. These are some of my favorite songs by bands I love/adore/know. Enjoy!
Mixtapes Heartbreaks by Jose of Harlem Shakes
01| Have You Seen in Your Dreams by Miracle Fortress
02| Cindy Tells Me by Brian Eno
03| Apartment Story by The National
04| Boom! It’s Spring by Night Canopy
05| Thursday by Asobi Seksu
06| When You Sleep by My Bloody Valentine
07| Desaparecere by Deerhoof
08| Take Pills by Panda Bear
09| Alone/Alive by Shapes and Sizes
10| The Greater Times by Electrelane
11| Burning the Cow by Earlimart
12| Just Off the Coast by Clearlake
13| Blue Bell Knoll by Cocteau Twins
14| March of the Camels by White Rabbits
15| Bushels by Frog Eyes