Swan Lake

Swan Lake

Swan Lake

Beast Moans

Jagjaguwar

The New Pornographers might be the Canadian super-group that gets most of the love, but for my money Swan Lake is where it’s at. Comprised of Dan (Destroyer) Bejar, Spenser (Wolf Parade) Krug and Carey (Frog Eyes) Mercer, who wrote and committed these songs to tape in record time, Swan Lake was destined to have little life outside of this album. The trio has no plans to ever perform the songs live or issue a follow-up release. This would be a ballsy move for most musicians, but these three songwriters have enough songwriting clout thanks to their full-time outfits that they can drop off their creative runoff on an album like this. The remarkable thing is Beast Moans is as solid a release as anything else coming out of the weirder realms of indie rock. Each member’s songs are distinctly their own, but all three are tapped into a like-minded vein of obscurity that demands lush orchestration, palpitating rhythms, and echo all the time. Particularly great are Bejar’s languid Dylan-isms and unmetered cadence on “A Venue Called Rubella” and Krug’s “Bluebird,” a nervy, claustrophobic constrictor of a song. Swan Lake is just one of many stops these three guys made in their endless stream of music this year, and it’s hands-down one of the standouts in a ridiculously rich catalog.

Jagjaguwar: www.jagjaguwar.com

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