Photo Credit: Tero Ahonen (Jagjaguwar)
Inside of all of us there are the same people and places, and creatures that are in Spencer Krug. As much as Krug’s worlds are fantastical and strange, they are also human and vital.
Before trampling over his catalogue any further, I have to explain this man’s history. It’s the essential trope for any piece about Krug, after all. OK, so here goes: Wolf Parade has early links to Arcade Fire, and for a while the two Montreal acts ran parallel to each other. On the side, Krug started his own solo project called Sunset Rubdown, which evolved into a full band, very different from Wolf Parade. He went on to do a (couple of) one off(s) with his two closest peers, Dan Bejar (Destroyer, The New Pornographers) and Carey Mercer (Frog Eyes, Blackout Beach), as the psychedelic-ish group Swan Lake. Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown both disbanded around the same time and Krug set off on his own, under the name Moonface. That’s the Krug family tree.
Besides fronting one of the most popular indie rock bands of the mid 00’s, he’s been one of the most prolific recording artists of the past ten years. I don’t know if this is to be touted, but us fans sure love it. He has amassed something like 104 songs that he sings on as the lead. It’s an impressive counting number, but the consistent quality is the amazing part.
Not really musically similar to Dylan or Young, I’m sure there are better comparisons to be made, Spencer shares the same restless spirit. He makes an effort to cover his tracks and lose his way on the road ahead. Krug also shares the same paradoxical quality as those two, for someone who refuses to retread he’s a very self-referential songwriter.
What makes Spencer Krug a great musician isn’t his yelp, his twisting melodies, or the amount of mythology he can cover in one album or song; it’s none of the esoteric bullshit. His characters, his songs, are from the gut. They embrace the awkward, struggle with having a heart on the sleeve, and fight with those unrealized conversations they wish they had. He dares you to think or feel whatever it is that eats you up, and to share in some bravery. We can holler and hoot along and enjoy the catharsis. But these songs also beg you to flip over your inner fantasyland, pick up the figurines, and shake them into life.
Spencer Krug’s 10 best songs are on the other side.