WOLF PARADE, THE MOOOLS (Crystal Ballroom, 1332 W Burnside) HOWL—Instead of splintering under their increasingly successful solo projects, the Canucks of Wolf Parade keep reconvening and making splendid rock albums. Case in point: Expo 86, their third full-length, and further proof that dueling Wolfers Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner are two of the finest songwriters around. NL
MENOMENA (Music Millennium, 3158 E Burnside) Menomena is broken. Once only a hunch often whispered about, it's now all but confirmed in conversation with the band. The fact that this truly stunning musical triumvirate has survived this long is an affront to the way all bands have been taught to interact, create music, and exist. From top to bottom, Menomena is immersed in a level of dysfunction far exceeding any of their musical peers. It should be noted, since this is rock and roll, that Menomena's defective nature is not linked to drugs, sex, or general living in excess. Instead the band doesn't function properly because dysfunction is all they know, and frankly, it's what works.
FREE MORAL AGENTS, NOCANDO, CLOUDY OCTOBER, SHE'S ON DRUGS (Rotture, 315 SE 3rd) Long Beach, California's Free Moral Agents ply a strange blend of ornate goth rock and rock-ribbed dub, without succumbing to the rote tropes of either genre. Featuring the Mars Volta's Ikey Owens on keyboards and the Siouxsie-esque vocalist Mendee Ichikawa, FMA create a cavernous, spectacularly dramatic sound. LA battle rapper and Low End Theory regular Nocando has a great new album on the unimpeachable Alpha Pup Records titled Jimmy the Lock. "If I'm not the future of the West, the West has no future," Nocando bluntly states on "Hurry Up and Wait," just one plausible boast on one of the year's most riveting rap tracks. The rest of the album hits ruthlessly hard, too, like a Cali-fied Clipse. DS
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