Wolf Parade, Jason Forrest | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Wolf Parade, Jason Forrest 

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WOLF PARADE, JASON FORREST It's been a banner year for the Canadian rock scene. After the Arcade Fire's Grammy nomination and a slew of hot albums from quirky, dramatic pop ensembles like the Dears and the Constantines, many more American indie kids can now correctly identify what side of the country Montreal is on. But no list of the year's highlights would be complete without Wolf Parade's debut for Sub Pop, Apologies to the Queen Mary, a prelim "best of" consisting of rerecordings of songs from the group's self-released EPs. A quartet with two vocalists--one with a squirrelly, trembly, barely-in-control voice and one who sounds like Paul Westerberg gone goth--they're prone to dark new-wave bash 'n' pop, urgent and full, with keyboards tooting it up all over the place. They could make an easy living off that, to be sure, but it's the other side of Wolf Parade--the bedraggled and romantic mope--that truly sates. Their relationship eulogies, full of desperation and hope, go slowly off the tracks, with notes ringing long and riffs drifting. --Jessica Hopper

DJ and audio prankster Jason Forrest, the host of WFMU's Advanced D & D radio show and proprietor of the Cock Rock Disco imprint, has produced more anarcho-klepto-FM-trash remixes (under the name Donna Summer) than probably even he can keep track of. Surprisingly, his recent releases as Jason Forrest aren't the total pipe-bomb-in-a-record-store chaos he made his name with (or rather made someone else's name his name with). There's certainly plenty of humor on his latest, Shamelessly Exciting (Sonig): on "New Wave Folk Austerity," the chords from the coda of Steely Dan's "Peg" are shuffled shell-game style and locked into a "buildup" that never resolves and winds up swallowing its own tail. And there are some moments of smart-alecky superfluity, like "My 36 Favorite Punk Songs" (exactly what the title says). But the languid "Nightclothes and Headphones," featuring the halcyon voice of Laura Cantrell, is actually quite pretty, reminding me of my surprise upon first hearing "The Work Ahead of Us," Forrest's ethereal collaboration with David Grubbs on this year's Lady Fantasy EP. But it wouldn't be Forrest/Summer if he didn't stick his digital dick in the sonic mashed potatoes, dovetailing this easy interlude with ham-fisted arena-rock organ and some Joan Jett and Andrew Gold samples grated through a triple-speed "Amen" break. --J. Niimi

This event is part of Pitchfork 10.0, Pitchfork Media's tenth anniversary celebration. Wolf Parade headlines, Blood on the Wall plays second, and Jason Forrest opens. Sat 12/31, 8 PM, Viaduct Theater, 3111 N. Western, 773-296-6024, sold out.

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