Variety pack

A compendium of Wolf Parade side projects
By BEN WESTHOFF  |  July 28, 2008

Call of the wild: Wolf Parade get instinctual. By Ben Westhoff
The talents of the Wolf Parade’s members appear limitless, except when it comes to picking names for their side projects and album titles. Here’s a rundown of some of the bands affiliated with group members Dan Boeckner, Spencer Krug, and Dante DeCaro.

HANDSOME FURS | This rock/electronic project has Boeckner’s wife, Alexei Perry, on keyboards and sampler and Boeckner himself singing and playing guitar. Handsome Furs’ songs are often accessible in the same way Wolf Parade songs are. (Hint: it’s rare to read a review about a Boeckner project that doesn’t cite “Bruce.”) Signed to Sup Pop, the group had a well-received 2007 album called Plague Park, and a new album is imminent. Choice track: “What We Had,” from Plague Park.

SUNSET RUBDOWN | Krug’s primary solo outfit, Sunset Rubdown showcase the whimsical, less-accessible side of his songwriting. They tend toward layered instrumentation and experimental song structures, and they’re not easily pegged. Sunset Rubdown got off to a lo-fi start with 2005’s Snake’s Got a Leg (Global Symphonic), which was compiled from five EPs Krug had composed on substandard equipment. The project later expanded into a full band with (somewhat) poppier aspirations; Sunset Rubdown’s four CDs are cohesive albums, not just collections of singles. Choice track: “Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days,” from the band’s latest, Random Spirit Lover (Jagjaguwar).

FROG EYES/SWAN LAKE | Krug has an on-again/off-again relationship with Frog Eyes, who come from the other side of Canada — British Columbia — and are helmed by guitarist Carey Mercer. (Mercer’s wife, Melanie Campbell, plays drums.) This group favor dramatic song structures and masculine themes. Krug, Mercer, and Daniel Bejar of Destroyer and the New Pornographers form Swan Lake, an indie-rock Canadian supergroup of sorts that released the revered 2006 album Beast Moans (Jagjaguwar). Choice Frog Eyes track: “Stockades,” off 2007’s Tears of the Valedictorian (Absolutely Kosher). Choice Swan Lake track: “All Fires,” off Beast Moans.

HOT HOT HEAT | British Columbia pop punk band Hot Hot Heat reaped both critical adoration and commercial success with their 2002 album Make Up the Breakdown (Sub Pop) and the hit “Bandages.” The 2005 follow-up, Elevator (Sire), was not as well received by critics, and guitarist Dante DeCaro left the band; blame the usual “creative differences.” DeCaro joined Wolf Parade that summer, but Hot Hot Heat soldier on in his absence. Choice track: “Oh, Goddamnit,” off Make Up the Breakdown.

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