Sammy the Seal

Posts Tagged ‘wolf parade’

“We’re chained to the life, but…our blood is alive”

In music videos, vinyl on Friday, 24 February, 2012 at 4:16

Song: Shine A Light
Artist: Wolf Parade
Album: Apologies To The Queen Mary

Late night emotional downpour and exposition, fortunately into a calm, sensitive ear. But now that that’s done, no time to wallow, no time to be scared, just keep going. And this is the song that succeeded it all. Desperate and resigned, but still it punches forward. To this day, a great album that goes especially well as a night time listen, best taken with cool, outdoor air. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s dark music, in fact, many of the songs are quite a kick.

Thanks to the hype, surprisingly, I got in on the ground floor with this band. I have fairly distinct memories of buying this album, in my wonderfully located (at the time) apartment on First Hill, without first hearing it in October 2005, due almost entirely to the hype (it was all about them and Arcade Fire that year), but feeling not too impressed on the first listens. I picked it up a few months later and immediately saw the light. Like most other people, this song eased me into it, being more straightforwardly accessible, lovable, and rockin’. I grew to love other songs a lot more, but this song helped hold the door open. Spencer’s backing “oh”s and “ooh”s are great, you can hear them even better in this high-quality video below. Looks and sounds like a fun time, Spencer hitting notes with his sexy headband.

Lyrics entirely subject to question, Dan doesn’t make it too easy. The video is a good reference tool, though Dan is known to mangle the lyrics due to alcohol, so who’ll ever know:

“I keep my head uptight
I make my plans at night
and I don’t sleep, I don’t sleep, I don’t sleep ’til it’s light
Some ghosts float and some are buried alive

There is an awful sound
in this haunted town
and it will not, it will not, it will not just be quiet
Some ghosts sink, some will get called to the light

I spend boring hours
in the office tower
In a bus on a bus back home to you and
that’s fine, I’m barely alive

It’s just a matter of time
no one gets out alive
and I’m content, I’m content, I’m content to be quiet
Some sink, some will get called to the light

Do you know why our hearts beat time out very slowly?
Do you know why our hearts beat time?
They’re waiting for something that’ll never arrive

I keep my head on tight
I make my plans at night
and I don’t sleep, I don’t sleep, I don’t sleep ’til it’s light
Some ghosts float and some are someone buried alive

We both are little birds, we built another world
but we’re chain- chain- chain- chain- chained to the life
But that’s fine– our blood is alive

Do you know why our hearts beat time out very slowly?
Do you know why our hearts beat time?
They’re waiting for something that’ll never arrive”


“Yulia” revisited

In music videos, vinyl on Wednesday, 18 January, 2012 at 23:07

It’s a bit of a cheat to do a song I’ve already done, but the topic of space come up and also, I don’t think I had the lyrics up last time, which is the point here. I don’t need nor do I like when things/lyrics follow in a straight line and make perfect, nice, clean sense. I like having room for interpretation, as I find comfort in not knowing everything. On a similar note, music videos with slavish, literal representations of the lyrics stink– imagination, please. This here is an exception to both. The song alone is great, possibly my favorite thing they’ve ever done, but if you know the story of the lyrics, it’s sad enough on its own. But then, I’ll be damned if the literal dramatization of the video isn’t absolutely heartbreaking. Nothing much to get, just a cosmonaut who gets lost in space on a mission and spends his last moments thinking about his girl. Great little short story. Very affecting.

“Diamonds in the face of night time
Watch them as they float along
I was up there floating with them
And you know that I was gone
The radio sings a patriot song, it’s a devil that you know


We were standing on the platform
Favored (favorite?) sons of history
While you’re back in Prostronaya
Writing in your diary
They flip one switch at mission, and I’m never coming home


(Oh oh) I woke up from a fever dream
(Oh oh) of floating in a salty sea
I’m stranded up here
Drifting along
And my heart beats slow
And I hope they bring my body back


So when they turn the cameras on you
Baby, please don’t speak of me
Point up to the dark above you
As they edit me from history
I’m 20 million miles from my comfortable home, and space is very cold


There’s nothing out here, nothing out here”

“Come shake me up, shake me up”

In vinyl on Monday, 7 November, 2011 at 10:25

Song: Ghost Pressure
Artist: Wolf Parade
Album: Expo 86

It doesn’t really matter since they’re on hiatus (end of an era, perhaps), but I would agree with those who say there is an erosion of stylistic differences between the two songwriters on this album. It actually feels like Dan’s album. It’s tighter, and I do prefer his style (“Yulia”!), but I miss more the ostensibly unwieldy yet perfectly balanced melding of sensibilities. Even if here it’s just the keys and synths and Spencer’s cool and backing vocals in the final minute.

In other news, I rinsed some produce last night, then set it out to dry on the dish rack. I thought it looked kinda neat. That’s a Chippewa Falls expression, if you’re not aware.

dish rack fruit

“It’s not gonna be just only a kiss”

In vinyl on Saturday, 2 July, 2011 at 22:15

Song: We Built Another World
Artist: Wolf Parade
Album: Apologies To The Queen Mary

“Everyone’s disguised just a little bit.” Dan Boeckner in classic form: imbuing simple, potentially clichéd lines with such conviction and heart, they come off as axioms. His songs are known for being more straightforward, but, starting with that jarring one-two drum that breaks the song open, the dynamic and structure of this song always felt slightly off-kilter (for him, anyway). It comes off a little uncomfortable or unfamiliar– befitting, actually, as the song itself has a dark, nervous energy propelling it.

This is still one of his/their best songs, a perfect marriage of Dan’s heart-on-sleeve rock and Spencer’s weird, but complementary flourishes. And not just instrumentally. For no reason in particular, I like Spencer taking lead vocals (with Dan backing, on his own song!) on “I had a bad, bad time tonight/bad things happen in the night.” What with Dan’s impassioned singing, it’s easy to overlook the backing vocals, but take notice of the somber, chant-like singing buried beneath the “we built another world” sections of the song and how much they do for grounding the mood. By the end, I, to this day, can never decide whether to sing those gloriously messy ooh’s or wail along with Dan. A tough choice, but one I’m thoroughly grateful to have.

(P.S. I actually had a good, good time last night. This is a feel-good song for me.)

“I’ll build a house inside of you”

In vinyl on Saturday, 19 February, 2011 at 4:25

Song: You Are a Runner and I Am My Father’s Son
Artist: Wolf Parade
Album: Apologies To The Queen Mary

I will now attempt to shed my fat little face and poofy gut. Here’s to living in the 160’s again!

Your sad is my happy

In experience, music videos, vinyl, words, words, words on Saturday, 5 February, 2011 at 16:08

I try to stop prefacing myself, but I will here, because though not intentional, the following may very well come across as self-important. It is merely one person’s thoughts, that is all. As a matter of fact and coincidence, rather than intent, almost all of the music I listen to could be qualified as “indie” or “underground”, even if it’s not all that obscure. I just can’t fucking stand the radio. It’s not political, I just can’t fathom how people can listen to the same shit over, and over, and over, and over, and over , and over (“oh my god I love this song!” Uh not really, it’s just been bludgeoned into your head. I would bet a million bucks that if a truly incredible song like “Thursday” by Asobi Seksu were all over the radio, you’d love that too.)

I have a small iHome dock/speaker at my desk at work, because it beats iPod speakers. I keep the volume relatively low, out of respect. But I love that little contraption. This past week I was listening to a couple of Camera Obscura songs, and two cellmates wanted me to stop playing sad music. (Two fucking songs! Versus the catalog of top 40 pop and soft favorites on repeat every other hour….) First of all, one of the things I like about CO is that while their sound is often decidedly melancholy, I never get sad listening to it. It’s hard to wallow in the face of beauty. On the contrary, their music makes me feel good. However, I could not convince my co-workers of this. Hey, they’re lovely girls, this is not personal, but I felt I had to explain myself (which I HATE to do), that this actually makes me happy, so you should sort of be happy for me, especially since I had had a grumpy morning up to that point. And I even got teased about it later, to play some music, but not something sad. Besides, I really do think there is truth behind every joke. You laugh and say “this is so sad”, but you probably mean to say, “what is this crap?” Sorry I’m not always perky. Superficial much? Talk about boring. Sorry if my moods and layers occasionally show. I’m, you know, human?

Honestly, it doesn’t bother me, I didn’t apologize anyway. I essentially said, “well, tough, this is what lifts my spirits, you should be happy for me.” I had brunch with a friend this morning (so delicious, too much food!) and I was surprised to hear her back me up when wondering why so many women still want that, the sentimental, take-care-of-me, damsel mentality at the core. (Hell, I dated one for a while, and only realized that about her almost five years after the fact.) That they would rather have the cheap, easy, comforting, sheened and whitewashed pablum of Bruno “you’re amazing just the way you are” Mars (or an equivalent), than Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade belting out, imperfectly, “you’re my favorite thing, I tell it everywhere I go, I don’t know what to do– this heart’s on fire, this heart’s on fire!” is fucking perplexing. I hate to sound dramatic, but is passion really dead??? I hate macho, patriarchal b.s. as much as anyone, but are women really that impressed by emascualted, wheezing falsettos? Is that what passes for sincerity these days? Funny, because later that week, my co-worker (who is engaged) asked me about my ideal woman. I basically ended up saying, “the opposite of that”. Capable of affection, empathy, honesty, heart, but also an explorer, reasonably intelligent, and independent as hell. Outspoken, but capable of restraint and poetry. Strong and vulnerable. Doesn’t need affection to feel validated. A woman who, in some ways, doesn’t really need you. Strength of personality, mmm sexy.

Anyway, this wasn’t meant to be about music, or about women, I was mostly just bothered how close-minded people and hypocritical people are, and insensitive, when you think about it. “Ugh, this is different, play something crowd-pleasing.” The first time my co-worker heard “Thursday”, she hated it after 30 seconds. Well, I may dislike your music, but at least I’ve heard it countless times and have had time to develop a fair impression, rather than 30 seconds. (Also it pisses me off because that’s one of my all-time favorite songs 🙂 It’s like riding in a car and listening to someone else’s music and not saying a word, then being the driver and having them turn down your music, then trying to play things people might like next time. Well, at least I’ve learned to stop apologizing and I don’t change the songs. Tough shit, people. It’s called being the bigger person and accepting how they are, geez. If I can exemplify it most of the time, so can you. Where are these people who can?

Well, that’s another story….

Some quintessential Camera Obscura to go with this rant, so it’s not totally a bummer. Always an appropriate song.

Song: Let’s Get Out Of This Country
Artist: Camera Obscura
Album: Let’s Get Out Of This Country

“I hope they bring my body back”

In music videos, vinyl on Sunday, 30 January, 2011 at 19:04

(If the video link is ever dead, at least the song is here.)

Song: Yulia
Artist: Wolf Parade
Album: Expo 86

Had no idea the lyrics were so linear (the video is quite faithful to the story of the song). It always felt sad, now it’s even sadder. In lesser hands this could be quite maudlin, but I’m always in awe of Dan’s ability to turn the seemingly trite into the earth-shaking (see “This Heart’s On Fire”). Would be neat to see this song in concert and see/hear him belt out “there’s nothing out here.” Oh well. It’s still ferocious.