Before he was everywhere, recording and touring with Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes, and others, Spencer Krug worked at a bakery and hated it. It was killing him. So he quit, with the plan to instead focus on music full time.
"It sounds very grandiose," Krug says, pausing to decide whether what he just said was true. "It kind of was at the time. I'm just like, 'No, I'm just not going to work at jobs I don't enjoy.'"
Krug spent the next year and a half scraping by and doing odd jobs for his landlord in exchange for rent. And while Wolf Parade made his money problems disappear, Krug's work ethic remained the same. Since 2005 he has been a part of six releases, including two full-lengths from his solo project, Sunset Rubdown. The first, Shut Up I Am Dreaming, flashed moments of brilliance, highlighted by the bright, wailing opener "Stadiums and Shrines II," but the album as a whole was a bit uneven. Some tracks were just too sleepy, obtuse, or agonizingly lo-fi. An unnervingly harsh critic of his own work, Krug shared these same observations with me, and set out to right them on the recently released Random Spirit Lover. And while Krug seemed unsure if he had achieved his goals, in my opinion he has.
Random Spirit Lover is more upbeat, quirky, round, realized, and rich. Moments of stomping rock segue smoothly toward heartbreak and mystery. Krug expertly weaves scaling movements and seemingly opposing keys together in a unique stream-of-consciousness way, which mirrors his words and vocals. On the best tracks, like opener "The Mending of the Gown," Krug forgoes the repetitions of traditional lyrical structure to arrange the song as one long verse—or, depending on your perspective, like a number of tiny, catchy choruses.
Get it while it's hot, because Krug doesn't plan to maintain this break-neck pace forever. "Not necessarily less projects, but less output," he explained. "I just want to be able to take time with things and make sure I'm not cranking out shit."