“Breathe on my skin; be my first violin; I am blind and helpless, what else is there to say?”
Spencer Krug—known by his solo-project moniker, Moonface—stepped onto the stage of Seattle’s Columbia City Theater on a fairly quiet November Sunday, whiskey in one hand, the other shielding his eyes from the stage lights, unceremoniously bright for the kind of show that necessarily should be dimly lit. He had arrived in Seattle shortly before via Greyhound from Vancouver, BC, where just the day before he played a sold out show to at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre. Justifiably a bit hungover, and betraying slight but visible traces of unease as the hungry, hoarse-throated devotees banged their fists on the edge of the stage, Moonface wasted little time launching into a full performance of his most recent album, with an additional cover and unreleased encore track. Moonface’s stripped-down, vulnerably introspective, solo piano record “Julia with Blue Jeans On” came out at the end of October, 2013 on Jagjaguwar Records.
I admit that when I first discovered Moonface, not too long after Wolf Parade disbanded, I had made a mental category for the quirky but unremittingly original warbling synth-guy from Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown. Yes, he is the same individual. No, he is not the same artist. Moonface marks a total departure from those acts in which he was one of several key ingredients in the groups’ alchemical composition. Moonface may never bring back “Kissing the Beehive” or “I’ll Believe in Anything” or “Snake’s Got a Leg”, and rightfully so. The alchemy of Moonface is entirely in its albedo stage. It is that vulnerable, visceral, ineffably human navigation through the creation of art that distinguishes Moonface’s solo trajectory, and is what should keep the needle of your turntable in constant contact with “Julia” for at least seven days. It is that organically developed craft that will keep you without release when, in the album’s first single, “Everybody is Noah, Everybody is the Ark”, he sings “Everybody ends up talking to the sky or looking the elephant in the eye”. There are some artists who are talented at their craft. Then there are those artists who, on the lower frequencies of intuition, strike you in the stomach with what could be described as the ineffable embodiment of awareness-as-art.
I have had the immense pleasure of what was once a pipe-dream—bringing one of my favorite artists to PLU—to come to fruition in my final months of college. Playing the second state-side show since his return from a four month long European tour, Spencer Krug will be hosted by ASPLU and Lute Air Student Radio in Lagerquist Hall, Thursday February 27th, at 8 pm. Please do come. We will be busy turning everything into gold.