Wolf Parade - Expo 86

Wolf Parade will forever be divided into Camp Dan and Camp Spencer. Everyone seems to be getting along — its amicable, more an aesthetic/songwriting thing than a battle. At the start of last month we gave you details about the band’s forthcoming third album Expo 86, the details culled mostly from a Dan Boeckner interview. Now we can give you some sounds, along with more album details, this time via an interview Spencer Krug did with Pitchfork:

The question I asked of most of the songs was whether or not I would dance to them. You know in Archie comics when there’s a school dance and you see little cartoon music notes floating out of the PA speakers? I like to think this new record sounds like those notes.

As far as the dance songs you’re about to hear, one’s fronted by Dan, one by Spencer, and you won’t have any problem telling them apart. There’s also a tracklist, which I’m guessing is somehow split 50/50. Listen, do math.

Expo 86:

01 “Cloud Shadow on the Mountain”
02 “Palm Road”
03 “What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had to Go This Way)”
04 “Little Golden Age”
05 “In the Direction of the Moon”
06 “Ghost Pressure”
07 “Pobody’s Nerfect”
08 “Two Men in New Tuxedos”
09 “Oh You, Old Thing”
10 “Yulia”
11 “Cave-o-Sapien”

Expo 86 is out 6/29 via Sub Pop.

Comments (69)
  1. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  2. dudes and ghosts, they just get along.

  3. I shook my rump a bit

  4. these are pretty good. sort of getting close to apologies kind of shtuff.

  5. ddogdunit  |   Posted on May 3rd, 2010 -1

    disappointment city. these sound like they could have been on at mount zoomer. not bad, just kind of bland.

    also, what the hell ever happened to bones (no one saves the day)? are they ever going to release that one? better than 90% of AMZ and this stuff.

  6. damn. looks like ATTQM was their defining moment. because these songs just don’t have that spark.

  7. I’m surprised by the comments that say these are bland and have no spark. The guitar in “What Did My Lover Say” is awesome. Good stuff with a lot of potential to grown on me even more during repeat listens (judging by the battling melodies that are occurring all over the place).

  8. “Ghost Pressure” sounds really good, something different from their continually growing style. “What Did My Lover Say” has some particular parts that sound similar to AMZ but that’s not a bad thing either. Looking forward to the entire release!

  9. I can’t believe nobody has mentioned that Expo 86 is also the name of a Death Cab for Cutie song.

  10. To the first lot of comments that want WP to keep on making Apologies to the Queen Mary; it’s half a decade later, and numerous albums, both under WP and other projects, have come and gone. In short, they aren’t going to make another Apologies, so quit whining and dig what they ARE making.
    As for the tunes- they’re jamming! I really like the organic feel of them..nothing feels like it was over-thought, over done…good grooves, melody, dynamics, vocals, lyrics. Definately up there on my most anticipated list. And Spencer’s comment about the Archie comics was comedic gold.

    • i guess we just don’t see it the same. i thought the songs were too long and boring, and the instruments sounded silly. most people i know loved attqm because almost every song was concise, unique, and they all kind of went for it, whatever ‘it’ might have been. in comparison, these feel average. so in that respect, it’s hard for me to judge them outside of attqm’s shadow. handsome furs and sunset rubdown are better entities on their own, and that’s the direction i’d rather see them taking if it means more creative music.

      • Too “long and boring?” It sounds like you did not even give these songs a chance and that you were seeking immediate gratification. There is more to these songs than you will find with one single listen. This talk of post-AttQM Wolf Parade not doing anything as good as Sunset Rubdown and Handsome Furs is crazy, in my opinion.

        “Kissing the Beehive,” “California Dreamer,” and “Language City” are all tracks that I can immediately point to and say that I enjoyed them more than or equally to the best of the other two bands (which are also great stuff). I love the dichotomy created on a Wolf Parade album. Two unique, talented songwriters somehow unify to form something bigger than either of them alone.

        • i’ve listened to these songs at least 10 times each. i don’t know what you think i should find there that i haven’t. it’s not like i hate at mount zoomer, i love soldier’s grin and an animal in your care. it’s cool that you like the songs. i really wanted to, but i don’t.

          • If you’ve already listened to them a combined total of over 20 times in a little over a day, then it sounds like you gave them a chance. But… at least 20 times in a little over a day? You’re doing the opposite of what I expected (listening once) and over-killing these.

            I say let the music breath a little. It’s not natural to listen to something that many times in a short time frame. Let these two sit out there for a while, listen to some new albums you do like, and revisit these two occasionally. They may grow on you, but don’t force it if you’re not feeling it. That’s just masochistic.

      • Or, you could just let him/her have his/her own opinion. FWIW, I agree with la^5

        • Just trying to share the Wolf Parade goodness with potential listeners. Things can grow on you if you give them a chance, but you can’t force it. I don’t think I ever said his opinion was wrong, I was explaining the opposing point of view.; in other words, the basis of all internet discussion: two sides discussing where they are coming from on an issue.

          You cannot “win” an argument about song quality, but discussion can sometimes help others realize if a band/album/song is something they should give another chance.

    • Just because a band is changing doesn’t always mean its for the better. The Post-Queen Mary stuff has been OK, but they really can’t compare (on a purely objective level) with ATTQM.

      I can’t think of any way to explain it other than this: I’ve never found any music that sounds anything like Apologies to the Queen Mary. It’s a singular piece of music. However, everything since then has been on a level that I see all the time. I could write some of these songs. But I don’t know how I could ever write something like ATTQM.

      And at this point, I don’t think Wolf Parade does either.

  11. Both tracks are megajams! I remember feeling slightly disappointed when “Call It a Ritual” dropped before AMZ, and how I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was disappointed because to do that would mean THE ALBUM MIGHT NOT BE VERY GOOD. It’s like when Wile E. Coyote can walk off a cliff but when he looks down and admits it’s impossible, he plummets to his death. Different situation here — just megajams.

  12. ddogdunit  |   Posted on May 3rd, 2010 -1

    if i didn’t like ATTQM, i wouldn’t listen to this more than once. why the hell are sunset rubdown/handsome furs invariably better than anything wolf parade has done / (will do? i hope not) since ATTQM? face control and dragonslayer were both way better than AMZ, and from the sounds of it, may well be better than this new one.

  13. These are good songs. At Mount Zoomer was an awesome album. Queen Mary is still the best thing they have made to date. All of these thing can (and are) true at the same time.

    Maybe the “spark” people are thinking about was purely the out of nowhere surprise factor of the first record. Now we know there sound so we say “meh..”. But seriously if these songs were from the newest Pitchfork buzz band people’s general opinion of them would be different.

    • I agree with your assessment; the novelty of a new band will always pull people into the music in a special way that later albums will struggle to replicate. I get nostalgic thinking about my days spent listening to Apologies fervently.

      The complaints are likely coming from jaded listeners who are too burnt out on the band to give the tunes a chance, or they are people looking for instant-gratification.

      I know that my love of Apologies was not instant either. I really liked what I heard and wanted to hear more of it, but the strong feelings that I developed for it occurred only after multiple listens.

  14. Nope camp spencer and camp dan are pretty happy together, I love them both for different reasons. Happy that they converge in one cacophonous roar!

    New stuff sounds great, I do think it is more raw than mt. zoomer, which is a good thing.

  15. Well I really liked them both. “What Did My Lover Say” is the “Fast Ballad” from the Toronto show. Nice. But yeah both great.

  16. I stumbled across a youtubed live version of “what i meant to say” a few weeks back and immediately loved it. After giving both of the studio versions a few days of listening, both these songs are very high quality. I think I’m looking forward to this album as much as any other in the coming months.

    Some of the comments in this thread disappoint me. Complaining for the sake of complaining is lame, children.

  17. In regards to POST ATTQM Wolf Parade not being as good as Handsome Furs or Sunset. I think that Idea is some what true. AMZ took some time to grow on you but it was enjoyable in the end. The album that most reminds me of ATTQM is actually Dragon Slayer, which was pretty much all killer and no filler.

    These two songs remind me of ATTQM though.

    I’m happy to hear that UNLIKE, The National, Broken Social Scene, and the New porno’s they didn’t let me down.

    …. and I’m a sucker for the end of the song jamming they love to do. June can’t get here soon enough.

  18. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  19. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • i agree, its too hard to listen to songs that are over 5 minutes… just, way too fucking self-indulgent.

    • gtfo. The Spencer songs over 6 mins are the ones that kill dude. Let’s pretend the dude didn’t write Shut Up I am Dreaming, Dragon’s Lair, Kissing the Beehive, & Black Swan for a second. Wow the world sucks, let’s go back to real life with those epic jams.

      • Read the response below by kafkaesque. That’s how you disagree with someone like an adult. This is an open forum where music lovers are encouraged to voice their taste. I found both positives and negatives in the music. My comments on song length are because, although they take a progressive/modernist approach to arrangement, WP seems limited by a pop mindset (verse/chorus).

        Oh christ, now I just used “pop” and “Wolf Parade” in the same sentence. I can feel the flames (or, more accurately, flamers), starting to fan already.

        FWIW, I was in a post-rock band that took a post-modern approach to arrangement, but I am limited by a pop mindset, so the songs didn’t work.

    • I noticed that you kept referring to a single vocalist in the songs by using the pronoun of “he.” Each song has a separate main vocalist, with a pretty unique styling (Dan’s got a rougher sound, Spencer’s a little Bowie-esque). Dan sings “Ghost Pressure” and Spencer sings “What Did My Lover Say.”

      Also, I dig the long Wolf Parade tracks. “Kissing the Beehive” is over 10 minutes and it is arguably one of their greatest songs. These songs are long, but I don’t find them repetitive. If they have interesting ideas in them, then I like to patiently sit back and let the song envelop me. That’s just my approach to the band, though. It’s not for everybody. Sunset Rubdown also has a lot of great long songs. It makes for excellent albums, but not radio-friendly singles.

      • True say about the vox. I only did two listens apiece, and couldn’t really tolerate the vocals on either so I didn’t give them much aural attention. Thanks for pointing that out tho, I’ll listen with the vox in mind on WDMLS.

        I do agree, they have some fantastic songs.. but I think the media-saturated world is starting to affect my attention span. There’s just so much music out there, if I don’t hear some kind of payoff in the first two mins of the song, it’s like “next.” Not proud of that.. but I’ve also started adjusting my own writing to incorporate the main hook (be it riff, lyric, or vocal) within the first minute.

        Sign of the times, IDK.

        • That’s true about the over-saturation of music available to us. I have two main types of listening experiences: (1.) The immediately gratifying singles that I love instantly, and listen to non-stop for a couple of weeks.. Recent examples of that would be songs like “Carby” by Discovery, “Last Drop” by Joy Formidable, and “Warm Heart of Africa” by the Very Best.

          (2.) The slow-burning albums that have a slightly tougher exterior, but have a huge pay-off after you break through it. Examples of that would be albums by bands like Animal Collective, Liars, Wolf Parade, and Sunset Rubdown.

          That’s why I usually tell people to give Wolf Parade a fair chance. It’s tough to know which albums you eventually get the pay-off with so you don’t want to waste time with multiple listens on everything. If people throw on some Wolf Parade every now and then, then they may have that a-ha moment like I did. To be honest, I was not a big fan of “You are a Runner” by WP before Apologies came out. But after a few months of sporadic listening, I got into the album heavily and that became a favorite song of mine. I think WP is definitely a band that needs to be heard in the context of a complete album; the singles are not indicative of the whole.

          It’s not for everyone, but I cannot get enough of it. I find it’s like sitting down to read a long novel that is tough, occasionally verbose or meandering, but eventually has a huge payoff once you see it all come together. After that you cannot remember why you ever had any doubts about it in the first place.

        • Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

          • Showboating? That’s an interesting perspective. What am I showboating about, how I like a band and think they deserve a few listens? That’s a strange thing to showboat about. I am not one to live vicariously through things outside of myself. I just derive A LOT of pleasure from listening to WP and I want to share my experience.

            If you accused me of being overly wordy, then yes I would agree with you completely. I tend to violate internet-brevity protocol with my comments, but that is because I am obsessive-compulsive about fully explaining my thoughts. I find it makes for more interesting conversation than a battle of “I like this song” versus “I hate this song,” which leaves little room for the conversation to advance anywhere.

            Anyway, my thoughts on WP have been spelled out, so I will leave it at that. Voice your displeasure with my comments with a thumbs-down and skip the text whenever you see my avatar.

          • Dude, sorry. This wasn’t a reply to you Kafka. I love your enthusiasm for the band. This was a reply to mr.self photo avatar that unfortunately ended up below your reply. Here’s hopeing we can all shake hands in the premature evaluation thread for this album.

          • Haha, no worries, Zayin. Likewise to you – I have enjoyed reading your comments regarding WP and Isaac Brock.

          • curb it, fanboy.

          • previous comment directed @ Zayin, not Kafka. I’m not a huge fan of ad hominem attacks, or having to defend my personality on internet forums. I feel like my comments were balanced and open-minded.. I think everyone benefits from mindful dissent, because it opens up healthy discussion. From Kafka’s comments, I’m now really compelled to go back and give WP a more attentive listen in a different setting. That wouldn’t have happened if we hadn’t had a mature discussion about it.

  20. These songs are SO GOOD.

    Especially the Spencer jam. And I too love both sides of the equation for a multitude of reasons. It’s silly to be upset that a band can’t replicate their debut. Remember when everyone complained that Room On Fire didn’t sound enough like Is This It? Bottom line: bands with incredible debuts will take a lot of heat when they put out successive albums, whether it’s terrible or amazing (or somewhere between). All these folks will complain about the new Arcade Fire this year when it doesn’t sound like Funeral, just like they did when Neon Bible came out.

    People are weird.

    • it sounds presumptious to say that people aren’t digging these songs because it doesn’t sound exactly like the first release. personally, i wasn’t expecting them to replicate attqm, but i was expecting something of equal quality, and i think that’s a fair (though personal) distinction to make. for the record, i thought neon bible was a lot different from and a lot better than funeral. i also thought room on fire fell short, but whatever. the point is, in the wake of good debuts it’s natural for the sound to change, but it’s also fair to expect that the quality will remain the same. radiohead is a great example of a band that succeeded at this. wolf parade (or interpol), maybe not so much. it’s a personal judgment, and i think it’s lower quality work. no harm, no foul.

      • I respect your opinion and style of posting it, but have wholeheartedly different tastes. I think these songs are awesome, and there’s just no band I can think of that mixes guitar and keyboard rifs more amazingly. I also love Funeral over Neon Bible but would easily take Room On Fire over Is This It.

        The sound hits the ear differently, but it’s nice when someone can voice their criticism thoughtfully.

      • I’m not presuming anything. I’m directly responding to all the comments that say it’s not as good as the first album. I know you make the distinction between change in style and change in quality, which I totally agree with.

        But yeah. I think I just really enjoy these songs because they seem to have an energy that was lacking on the last album (though I loved it very much).

        And don’t get me started on Antics. To me, it makes Turn On The Bright Lights look like a warm-up. But that’s an argument for when the new Interpol leaks later this year.

        • And here I would say ‘Our Love to Admire’ is better than both of Interpol’s previous albums. It’s great how many different viewpoints there can be.

  21. I’m with some you guys, differnt strokes for different folks.

    WHat i think made ATTQM sound so amazing and unique was Isaac Brook producing it. I think I read that the WP boys didn’t like what he had them doing on that first album. SOO there will NEVER be something that sounds very similiar to that album.

    Additionally, I’m also one of those guys who thinks “Is this it” the worst Strokes Album. I honestly don’t get why hipsters and faux hipsters think it was sooo amazing. I guess I had to be there when it dropped and not two years afterword. NO Song on “is this it” was better then me driving to college in my beater listening to Reptilla.

    • I was just going to comment on Isaac Brock. It’s strange to think that the leader of Modest Mouse could have actually been an ‘anchor’ keeping Wolf Parade into a solid, well researched region of accessible sound, but I think he maybe did. Honestly, I think a lot of people really appreciate and enjoy Spencer and Dan’s desire to jam and let their music float out over the air freeform. They recorded this newest album live, and Spencer has said he never wants to overdub again. They like the organic slow growing nature of their music, and Isaac appears to have a short attention span. No wonder there was some conflict in the process there. But in the end there really was some major appeal to the structured, succinct knife stab precision of Queen Mary.

      So, in that sense, I can see fans jumping onto later Wolf Parade albums and getting sortof afaid of heights and frustrated by all the rough edges.

      • I agree that Isaac definitely helped shaped the sound of Apologies, but I do not think he influenced the song structures. I think the free-form, jammy song structure of newer WP is more of a recent song-writing development.

        When you listen to their EPs that were released before Apologies, they contain the same concise, weirdly catchy songs (albeit in a lo-fi production quality). “Shine a Light,” “Dear Sons & Daughters…” and “Modern World” were always these perfect, odd little pop nuggets before Isaac ever came into the picture.

        I think the sound quality and tone was directly and heavily influenced by Issac, but that the shift in overall song structure is totally a Wolf Parade song-writing development.

        • If you are interested in discussing music in a more open context, there is a forum that I think would be perfect for you. It’s on Metacritic.com. It’s a little hidden (you have to find the main forum, and then the music forum is in the middle of the sub forums), but the posters are extremely loyal, polite, and have great recs and they genuinely just love music like few other people I encounter in everyday life.

          If you stop in, I go by the name “Shadrach” there. I’m sortof the weak link at the party. There are some awesome knowledgable music lovers in there. I find more solid music recommendations through there than anywhere else on the net.

          Oh, and being a Krug fan is pretty much a prerequesite for admission.

  22. I’m really digging these new tracks. Wolf Parade is made up of very talented musicians, who probably grow very bored of reproducing the same sound; I really like the melodies at play here, and I think they still capture some of the wild WP essence.

  23. i like new tracks, cant wait to hear the whole album and see them live in few weeks in zagreb :))

  24. I just heard 3 new tracks from KEXP in Seattle, and all 3 were stronger than “Ghost Pressure” and “Lover”. Can’t wait for this album!

  25. Wait, whatever happened to liking a song and listening to it or not liking a song and not listening to it. We are a generation who thinks our opinions matter and are worthy of being heard. Which reminds me, I really like the new songs! Everything by Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown makes my ears hard!

    • If I did not listen to a song ever again if I did not like it immediately, I would have missed out on a lot of great music over the years. Music is ultimately a subjective experience, but it is also a learned experience. The more people experiment with listening to less accessible things, the more they can learn to appreciate different types of songs that affect them in different ways.

      It’s not about thinking we’re important, it’s about telling people, “Hey, I did not dig this band at first either, but I gave them a few more listens and overtime they became a favorite.” The person does not have to listen to the recommendation, but I appreciate it when people tell me the same about bands that I have not given a chance yet.

      Glad to hear you enjoyed the new songs, though!

  26. ddogdunit  |   Posted on May 8th, 2010 +6

    here are those 3 new songs that premiered on KEXP yesterday:


    …better than the two in this post, for sure.

  27. ddogdunit  |   Posted on May 8th, 2010 +1

    i take that back, these KEXP songs are SO much better than the two songs posted, and even AMZ stuff!

    REALLY diggin the gary numan synths on “Oh You, Old Thing!” and the punk “This Hearts on Fire”-esque stomp of “Yulia.”

  28. These KEXP are better.

  29. I agree with the comments regarding wolf parade and sunset rubdown taking several listens to get into. I had attqm on my iPod for over a year without ever getting into it. I really only liked ‘ill believe anything’ . I usually delete music off if it goes that long without drawing my interest but I finally listened to it thoroughly one day and it suddenly clicked, I realized right then and there that this was my new favorite band. I try getting my friends to listen to it but they do not give it a chance. i have a feeling in a year or two they will come to me with them as their new favorite band when they finally give it a shot. funnily enough ‘ill believe anything’ is now one of my least favorite songs on that album (still good tho)

    These new tunes sound good and I am excited about this album

  30. I actually like Ghost Pressure and Lover more than the KEXP songs. But all 5 songs are amazing, anyway.

  31. I still like “Lover” the best. The KEXP ones are GREAT, too, but it’s becoming a bit more of the supergroup with they guy from Sunset Rubdown and the guy from Handsome Furs (“Cloud Shadow” could be on Dragonslayer and “Yulia” could be a beefed-up Face Control outtake).

    That’s fine. Any new music from these guys is warmly welcomed.

  32. I LOVE ghost pressure!

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