Apologies to the Queen Mary
Attention all bands: enough with having "wolf" in your name. Next year, it's all about spiny echidnae. Following Wolf Eyes, Sub Pop continues its successful theme with Wolf Parade, a Montrealian band that caught the attention of Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock. It makes sense: Apologies is heavily influenced by the Mouse, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Nasal, yelpy vocals so popular nowadays (see our Clap Your Hands Say Yeah review) headline the indie-meets-electro sound in "Grounds for Divorce" and "You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son." The album slows down with the surprisingly dull "Shine a Light," but overall, the music is diverse enough to see it through.
-- Kara Luger
We Are Wolves
Yet another Canadian "wolf" band, We Are Wolves kicks off this album with an electronic whine that makes me want to poke someone in the eye. A visceral reaction, yes, but probably not the desired one. Good thing, then, that most of their music is so danceable and infectious. Bassist/guitarist/singer Alex Ortiz's unintelligible lyrics -- which at times may or may not be barked in French (do they really say "smell my femur"?) -- serve as a backdrop to the party. It's mindless fun. The problem is, We Are Wolves sound a lot like a lot of bands right now. "Snare Me" is just The Hives with keyboards, or a less-fey Junior Senior.
-- Kara Luger
Da Real Live Thing b>
The rap against Sizzla is that he's virulently anti-gay, a stance that sells well in the Jamaican ghetto, but has resulted in his international tours being banned or picketed. All the controversy obscures his being one of the most brilliant and prolific dancehall reggae artists. This is a reissue of one his best records, 2003's The Real Thing, with bonus tracks and a DVD of a hyperactive Miami concert, videos and interviews. Sizzla spits fire, even on the laid-back, roots vibe-dominated "Da Real Live Thing." There's no gay-bashing on this disc, but listeners should know his record.
-- Dan Wilcock