There's something about what Spencer Krug does that leaves a small habitable gulf between loving and ignoring his music.
Throughout obscure projects like Sunset Rubdown, Frog Eyes, Swan Lake, and his most known venture, Wolf Parade, his voice carries shreds of the preternatural, his mad Warhol carnival pop arrangements follow a manic pace and mood swings conveyed in Sunset Rubdown's "Random Spirit Lover" through a diverse, lingering cast of actors and young people.
At 31 and moving with prolific output, Krug can still conjure the restless energy of his listeners.
"For one, I'm not that old, and two, there is energy in youth," the singer and piano player said. "The only heartache I know is the heartache of being young and confused. I don't know what it's like to be actually old yet, so that's what I write about.
"I think it's a weird time for young people to be alive right now in the world, especially in North America, whether you are in Oklahoma or Montreal. Things are getting screwy. And we are kind of like nervous livestock before the storm or something, trying to keep our minds occupied."
The many faces and talent tapped for "Random Spirit Lover" keeps the songs sustainable as a touring band, which, along with Krug, includes members Mike Doerkson, Jordan Robson Cramer and Camilla Wynne Ingr. Sunset Rubdown will perform 9 p.m. Tuesday at Norman's Opolis.
Krug often chooses lyrics for the physical sound of the words as music. The words rollick and energize, especially in songs like "Mending of the Gown," and the shaking, bleeding-heart howl he hurls somehow renders Krug's crazy product sincere " Ian Curtis sincere. The quieter troughs of a Sunset Rubdown album lend a stark intimacy the late Joy Division singer would recognize.
"You made up a list of your luckiest stars / And you made me familiar to you in the dark / And you made me familiar to you in the dark / When you said that you wish you were worse than you are," Krug sings on "Magic or Midas." Listening to Sunset Rubdown is often a private affair.
After hearing the wincing over of word choices from a verbally cautious, soft-spoken Krug for 40 minutes, it's easy to see why it's hard for him to talk about his art: He's seen so many pile it onto their infinite playlists and bumble around with it. And it's sad to see that notion of art as vital get fudged out in the nature of the music machine, especially during weird times like now when people need that notion.
"It's always hard to remember the fact that art is important," he said. "When I say the word 'art,' I know I just make indie rock; I know I'm not making these great masterpieces. But, whatever, I make music. It's hard to remember that it has an effect that actually can actually impact people in a positive way." "Danny Marroquin