Wolf Parade: The Mamas And The Papas Redux

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Monday's Pick

  • Song: "California Dreamer"
  • Artist: Wolf Parade
  • CD: At Mount Zoomer
  • Genre: Indie-Rock
Wolf Parade 300

"California Dreamer" is Wolf Parade's powerful, deliciously grandiose update on a pop-radio classic. Mego Sam Cecil hide caption

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The inspiration for Wolf Parade's "California Dreamer" comes from exactly where you might suspect it does: The Mamas and the Papas' 1965 hit "California Dreamin'." Singer Spencer Krug's curiosity was piqued by the line, "If I didn't tell her / I could leave today," so he imagined the perspective of the woman left behind. "You were dreaming of Los Angeles," he sings, "while I was singing songs you wrote / You quietly gave away the winter clothes I made for you / while I made angels in the snow." The theme of geographic divide is salient for Krug, who was raised in British Columbia on the west coast of Canada but now lives in Montreal.

Sonically, the six-minute epic fits into the progressive-rock template of Wolf Parade's second album, At Mount Zoomer, but it didn't start out that way. Originally conceived on acoustic guitar, it didn't survive studio sessions in that form. So he reformulated it on electric piano, and his bandmates layered it with electric guitar. After it was recorded live, Krug chopped it up and added sampled saxophone and synth parts. The finished product is a powerful, deliciously grandiose update on a pop-radio classic.

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This story originally ran on July 7, 2008.

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Wolf Parade Mego Sam Cecil/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

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