Sunset Rubdown Gets Oblique and Ambitious

  • Playlist
  • Embed
    <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "The Mending of the Gown"
  • Artist: Sunset Rubdown
  • CD: Random Spirit Lover
  • Genre: Indie-Pop
Sunset Rubdown 300

Sunset Rubdown's unconventional storytelling rewards those who attempt to decipher it for themselves. courtesy of Sunset Rubdown hide caption

toggle caption courtesy of Sunset Rubdown

Spencer Krug has long channeled his abstract lyrics and frenzied sound into unconventional projects: Frog Eyes, Wolf Parade, Swan Lake, and his own outlet, Sunset Rubdown. As those bands have won fans — Sunset Rubdown's 2006 album Shut Up I Am Dreaming was a critics' darling — Krug has found extra room to stretch out, as well as freedom for full-on experimentation.

Conceived to help the album flow seamlessly, Random Spirit Lover's track order was laid out long before the songs were even recorded. Krug has said that this blueprint allowed him to develop an organic way of tying songs together in the process of recording. Understandably, it's difficult at times to distinguish when a song melts into the next, but when taken as a whole, the disc sounds complex, manic, and unified.

"The Mending of the Gown" opens Random Spirit Lover with a dense arrangement of angular riffs, prog-rock motifs, and art-rock harmonies. While the song isn't a particularly easy listen, Krug's forceful and even abrasive voice holds it together while the guitars, synths, and drums flail wildly around him. With its oblique references — "He wrote a book about the smell of winter then two, a little less simple to decipher" — Krug's ambitious storytelling rewards those who attempt to decode it for themselves.

Listen to yesterday's 'Song of the Day.'

Purchase Featured Music

Random Spirit Lover

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Random Spirit Lover
Sunset Rubdown

Your purchase helps support NPR Programming. How?




Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor