It's been less than two years since Wolf Parade's last album, 2008's At Mount Zoomer, but somehow the wait feels much longer. After all, the band's output seems paltry compared to the vast number of side-project albums coming from the group's primary songwriters: Dan Boeckner and Spencer Krug. While Krug has bounced between a variety of bands and monikers (Sunset Rubdown, Swan Lake, Moonface), Boeckner formed electro rock duo the Handsome Furs with his wife Alexei Perry; the couple's 2009 album, Face Control, is currently nominated for a Juno for Alternative Album of the Year.
Luckily, those holding out for new Wolf Parade material won't have to wait for much longer. Speaking on the phone with Exclaim! from the band's home-base in Montreal, singer/guitarist Boeckner revealed that Wolf Parade are about to begin mixing their third album, having recently wrapped up recording at Hotel2Tango. While no release date is set in stone, if everything goes according to plan, the as-yet-untitled album will be out on June 29 courtesy of Sub Pop, says Boeckner.
"Everyone's been working on it for 12 hours a day, seven days a week for the last two weeks," he explains. "We ended up recording, I think, 15 songs, over 80 minutes of music, and we don't really know now whether we're going to put out an LP or a double album. If we did an LP maybe we'd do an LP and an EP, because we want to put all of the songs out. There were no songs that we recorded where everyone was like, 'Oh, that's a dud.'"
The entire album was tracked in a single two-week session, a speed made possible by the fact that the band recorded almost everything live to tape. "This is not a fussed-over computer record, " Boeckner says. "There's almost zero overdubs on the record. So what you're hearing is pretty much what it sounds like live."
This lack of overdubs is especially remarkable considering that the band recently lost a member: keyboardist Hadji Bakara has quit music to pursue a doctorate in English literature at the University of Chicago. To compensate for this line-up change, both Boeckner and fellow guitarist Dante DeCaro played keyboards and bass on the album.
"There are a few songs that are really, really intensely keyboard-heavy, but not like Depeche Mode. On the other hand, there's also a lot of guitar solos - proper solos," he says. "Some of the stuff is really, really heavy '80s coke rock."
Although the band haven't yet picked an album title or a lead single, Boeckner identifies "Caveosapian" as a stand-out. "It's kind of an uptempo rager that Spencer sings that you could imagine people doing - you know the Archie Comics when people are dancing? That kind of dance." (We're guessing he means something like this.)
He also singles out his song "Yulia" as another favourite. "I kind of get obsessed with cosmonauts, and specifically lost cosmonauts - cosmonauts that are still dead and floating in space. So the song is kind of a love letter to a cosmonaut's life. I'm pretty happy with that. It's got a bit of a Righteous Brothers feel to it."
While some songs were written individually, many of the tracks began as a riff that the entire band then fleshed out into a full song. "Pretty much the entire thing was co-written," Boeckner says. "I don't like to separate the songs into Spencer's songs and my songs. Everybody's kind of singing all over everything."
The record was produced by Howard Bilerman, who previously recorded Wolf Parade's 2003 demo, as well as Arcade Fire's Funeral. The band members are mixing the record themselves at drummer Arlan Thompson's studio, Mount Zoomer. Before the album's summer release date, it will be preceded by a seven-inch single.
Prior to that, the group will be debuting new material on the road, beginning with a brief tour of Canada's more Eastern half in early April. They will then head to Europe in May. In early 2011, the band are planning to tour Australia and Japan, and are currently speaking with a promoter about playing a number of shows in China.
As well as touring the world in support of the new Wolf Parade album, Boeckner and his wife are also looking ahead to the next Handsome Furs LP. They will be writing new material this summer, and he says, "The plan is to have a record out in spring of 2011."
Wolf Parade kick off their tour in Quebec City on April 1. For those who can't wait until then, Boeckner will be playing guitar and singing with Spoon on April 26, when the Texan rockers play New York City's Radio City Music Hall.
4/1 Quebec City, QC - Imperial de Quebec* 4/3 Halifax, NS - Paragon Theatre* 4/4 Fredericton, NB - The Market* 4/6 Kingston, ON - The Ale House* 4/7 Toronto, ON - Phoenix Concert Theatre* 5/6 Budapest, Hungary - A38 5/7 Krems, Austria - Donau Festival 5/8 Leipzig, Germany - Pop Up Festival 5/9 Prague, Czech Republic - Matrix 5/11 Salzburg, Austria - Rockhouse 5/12 Bologna, Italy - Locomotiv Club 5/13 Torino, Italy - Spazio 211 5/16 Brussels, Belgium - Le Botanique 5/17 Brighton, UK - Concorde2 5/18 London, UK - HMV Forum 5/19 Glasgow UK - Oran Mor 5/20 Dublin, Ireland - Vicar Street 5/21 Manchester, UK - Manchester Club Academy 5/22 Utrecht, Netherlands - Tivoli De Helling 5/25 Zagreb, Croatia - Teatar & TD 5/26 Ljubljana, Slovenia - Menza Pri Koritu 5/27 Milano, Italy - Salumeria della Musica 5/28 St Gallen, Switzerland - Palace 5/29 Dudingen, Switzerland - Bad Bonn Festival 5/31 Paris, France - Nouveau Casino