Sunset Rubdown

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Sunset Rubdown

Sunset Rubdown Photograph: David Horvitz

Grand Ballroom at the Manhattan Center; Fri 16

Pigeonholing anything as a “side project” automatically diminishes its worth, so let’s be fair and say that Sunset Rubdown became Spencer Krug’s main gig this year. He and his bandmates released Dragonslayer, the group’s third proper album, eclipsing Krug’s work with Wolf Parade. Among the best records of the year, this epic could appeal to the D&D set, Zep fans and indie bloggers alike. Its structures are layered and complex, the overarching themes Arthurian. Krug’s songs are immediately approachable but penetrable only after many listens. Take the second track, “Idiot Heart,” in which multiple, distinct movements build toward a curious invocation: “I hope that you die in a decent pair of shoes / You’ve got a lot of long walking to do.”

Krug’s non sequitur--laden stream of consciousness—part James Joyce, part Yogi Berra—spews forth in an adolescent warble, as if from a learned Mike Tyson. Onstage, the dexterous players energetically reproduce the album’s overwhelming, intricate blasts. Or, as the bandleader explains in “Nightingale/December Song”: “But like all fireworks and all sunsets, we all burn in different ways / You are a fast explosion, and I am the embers.”—Colin St. John

Sunset Rubdown

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