By Nathaniel Youmans, LASR DJ
Spencer Krug — known by his solo-project moniker, Moonface — stepped onto the stage of Seattle’s Columbia City Theater on a fairly quiet Sunday in November.
With whiskey in one hand, his other shielded his eyes from the stage lights, unceremoniously bright for the kind of show that should be dimly lit.
He arrived in Seattle shortly before via Greyhound from Vancouver, B.C., where just the day before he played a sold-out show at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre.
Justifiably a bit hungover, and betraying slight but visible traces of unease, Moonface wasted little time launching into a full performance of his most recent album. Hungry, hoarse-throated devotees banged their fists on the edge of the stage.
Moonface’s stripped-down, vulnerably introspective, solo piano record “Julia with Blue Jeans On” came out October 2013 on Jagjaguwar Records.
I admit, when I first discovered Moonface, I had made a mental category for the quirky but unremittingly original warbling synth-guy from Wolf Parade and Sunset Rubdown, which had since disbanded. Yes, Moonface is the same individual. No, he is not the same artist.
Moonface marks a total departure from those acts in which Krug was one of several key ingredients in the groups’ alchemical composition.
Moonface may never bring back “Kissing the Beehive,” “I’ll Believe in Anything” or “Snake’s Got a Leg.” The alchemy of Moonface is perhaps in its most transformational stage yet. It should keep the needle of your turntable in constant contact with “Julia” for at least seven days.
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.
It is that organically developed craft that will keep you without release when, in the album’s first single, he sings: “Everybody ends up talking to the sky or looking the elephant in the eye.”
I have had the immense pleasure of what was once a pipe-dream — bringing one of my favorite artists to Pacific Lutheran University — come to fruition in my final months of college.
Associated Students of PLU and Lute Air Student Radio will host Moonface’s second stateside show since his return from a four-month European tour.
We will be busy turning everything into gold.
Moonface performs Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. in Lagerquist.