SUNSET RUBDOWN with WOOLEY LEAVES at Lee' s Palace (529 Bloor West), Thursday (July 27), doors 8:30 pm. $10. 416-870-8000.
Those eagerly awaiting Wolf Parade's sophomore stab might be concerned to see Spencer Krug out on tour with his side project, Sunset Rubdown, playing with his BC buddies Frog Eyes or doing recent one-off projects with Dan "Destroyer" Bejar and Carey Mercer from Frog Eyes (due out later this year). Seems like he's everywhere these days except in a Montreal studio crafting new off-kilter pop tunes with his Wolf Parade mates, whose label, Sub Pop, is likely getting a bit nervous.
But Krug insists everyone should chill, cuz the new Parade platter has "theoretically" begun to be made, and they'll start recording in the fall. Sunset Rubdown are merely taking advantage of the frequent breaks in Wolf Parade's indolent work schedule. In the meantime and in between, there's no harm in getting to know Krug's other personas.
"Being in more than one band isn't as difficult as people might imagine," he says from his temporary Montreal residence. "I have tons of time. I just don't spend it all in Montreal. I'm staring out the window for six hours a day while touring, and things start to build up in my brain. So when I get home I put it on paper as fast as I can it all keeps me from having to get a real job."
The general assumption when an artist veers off to pursue a solo mission is that seeds of dissatisfaction must be sprouting from the main gig. Not in this case, insists the multitasking musician. Sunset Rubdown is just a different vehicle for music Krug didn't want to put through the Wolf Parade blender.
"The two bands just evolved separately and had little to do with each other," he says sedately. "They're not totally dissimilar, but they're not the same. It's not like I'm writing stuff for Sunset Rubdown because I don't want to work with Wolf Parade or vice versa. It's just two different projects creating two different sounds because of the people involved and how they work together. It's like something you'd feed data into, and out pops a product. If I sent data intended for Sunset to Wolf Parade, it would come out so, so different. That's not always the palette I want to work with."
SR was conceived by Krug prior to Parade, but wasn't implemented until the release of Snake's Got A Leg (Absolutely Kosher) in 2005. The debut was basically Krug holed up in a bedroom meandering with a junky-sounding 8-track recorder.
When he decided to bust out and make Sunset more of a full band and live entity, Krug enlisted pals Jordan Robson Cramer and Michael Doerksen from his old stomping ground, Victoria. Pony Up's Camilla Wynne Ingr joined later, and before he knew it Krug had two bands on the go.
As much as he claims Sunset and Parade have mutually exclusive sounds, fans of the latter will no doubt be noting the overlap. On their newest, Shut Up, I Am Dreaming (Global Symphonic), Krug's shaky Bowie voice and penchant for unpredictable wordplay and slanted melodies recall the kookier hooks on WP's Apologies To The Queen Mary.
But where Wolf Parade rely on layers, textures and expansive instrumentation, Sunset Rubdown are much more stripped-down and nimble, often putting little more than a shaky piano under Krug's wobbling vox.
"I write stuff with Sunset Rubdown in mind, and I'll write stuff with Wolf Parade in mind," explains Krug. "It's not really about my musical autonomy more about having two different options.
"That said, I understand if, say, you played your aunt a Wolf Parade record and then a Sunset Rubdown record, she's not going to hear a great difference. But for me there is."