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 18: "[W]ould it be too bold to imagine that all warm-blooded animals have arisen from one living filament…?"

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.