At Mount Zoomer

I lost a bet when word went out that Montreal's Wolf Parade would be releasing a second album. Not that anyone was complaining: Their debut album, Apologies to the Queen Mary -- introduced on blogs and produced by Isaac Brock of Modest Mouse -- was one of the most anticipated albums of 2005. By the time it came out, the band was already sick of playing some of their best-loved tracks live.The problem, however, is that like so many other Canadian bands (Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, New Pornographers) Wolf Parade is stuffed with more talent than is prudent for the efficient day-to-day workings of a band. Specifically, they have two world-class front men: Dan Boeckner (the tall, angular, guitar-rock guy) and Spencer Krug (the smaller, rounder spastic guy, most often behind his keyboard). Boeckner has his own band, Handsome Furs, with his wife, Alexei Perry; Krug, for his part, plays in four other bands (Sunset Rubdown, Swan Lake, Fifths of Seven, Frog Eyes). While each of these are exceptional bands in their own right, there's a special kind of anarchy when these two -- along with Hadji Bakara and drummer Arlen Thompson, who also produced the record -- come together. Rumor has it that they gave Sub Pop an ultimatum("no singles"), and the record is fully of densely layered, multiple-part songs that reveal new complexity with each listen. But even the lighter, prettier arrangements -- Krug?s "California Dreamer," Boeckner?s "Grey Estates" -- are belied by the dark lyrics. The two come together to trade verses on "Kissing the Beehive," a nearly 11-minute behemoth named after the Jonathan Carroll novel. Here?s hoping they can clear their schedules long enough to produce a third installment.

April 24: "[The HST] lifted a curtain from our view of the universe, changing it so profoundly that no human can look at the stars in the same way..."

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysley Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

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Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
In the Light of What We Know

Zia Haider Rahman's mystery of a brilliant Bangladeshi mathematician's past barrels through the Ivy League, London high finance, and spy-haunted Afghanistan in a page-turning tale of exile, intrigue and the price of friendship. A Discover Great New Writers selection.

The People's Platform

Once touted as the foundation for tomorrow's digital democracy, the Internet is increasingly ruled by a few corporate giants, while millions of contributors till its fields for free. Astra Taylor looks at why the web has failed to deliver a communitarian cyberscape, and offers a compelling case for restoring its original vision.

A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.