Posts Tagged ‘Destroyer’

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Black Mountain’s Stephen McBean turned 16 after Woodstock but before Varg started burning down Norwegian churches. And yet, until just two short years ago, McBean had lived his entire adolescence and adult life without a proper driver’s license, that first and most coveted ticket to personal independence. When he did finally take the wheel in 2017, he essentially became a Sixteen Year Old for the first time, blowing out the doors off the DMV like a pyrotechnics display at a W.A.S.P. gig. Black Mountain’s new album, “Destroyer”, named after the discontinued single-run 1985 Dodge Destroyer muscle car, is imbued with all that wild-ass freedom and newfound agency (and anxiety and fear) that comes with one’s first time behind the wheel. McBean, welding mask pulled over his Alan Watts beard, has even been rebuilding a 1985 Destroyer in his step-dad’s garage all spring — building it from its frame, putting in weekends of work to have this beast ready for sunnier days. And wouldn’t you know it: when the Destoyer’s engine gives its deep snarl and the stereo rattles with Metallica’s $5.98 EP, McBean is fully in the driver’s seat.

Destroyer is structured around that first time behind the wheel of a hot rod. The fat, charging “Living After Midnight” riffs of opener “Future Shade” is, according to McBean, “Straight outta the gates. FM radio cranked.” He ain’t kidding. The song, and all of Destroyer for that matter, seems to exist at that crucial nexus of the early-to-mid 80s Los Angeles when a war between punk and hair metal was waged. Black Flag’s My War tried and failed to keep the peace. The heavy extended player “Horns Arising,” with its Night Rider vocals and golden, climbing Blade Runner synths, is a fill-up at a desert gas station just in time to see a UFO hovering near a mesa.

And other songs, like The serpentine “Boogie Lover” is a cruise down the Sunset Strip. You pull into The Rainbow Bar & Grill to take the edge off. Doesn’t matter what year it is, Lemmy’s there in flesh or spirit. To continue the teenage theme, there’s also a sense of to these cuts — “High Rise” is a foray into Japanese psych, rounding the bend to a careening, youthful sense of discovery, while “Closer to the Edge” feeling like falling in love with Yes (Remember how good they were for a minute there in your youth?). “Licensed to Drive” would easily be the most exhilarating and dangerous ripper on a titular film’s soundtrack, a dose of heavy right before the muscle car’s wheels fly off going 100 mph on the freeway.

Shacked up in his rehearsal space, McBean found an old chair in an alley, spray painted Producer on the back and pressed record. Friends from the endless rock’n’roll highway were invited over and 22 songs were brought to life. And while some were laid back into shallow graves to dig up once again at a later date, the remaining skeletons were left above ground — given organs, skin, eyes, and the opportunity to grow their hair real long and greasy. Some of these zombie hesher jams were sent on a journey to Canada where longtime band member Jeremy Schmidt, slipping on the Official Collaborator satin jacket, had at them with his legendary synth arsenal. As he added long flowing robes, sunglasses, driving gloves and medallions, the undead songs began to transform into the new breathing creatures that make up Destroyer. Schmidt’s work with these songs was the needed transformative glue for this new era of Black Mountain.

Coming off his newfound automotive freedom, McBean also saw some personnel shuffling within Black Mountain. Both Joshua Wells and Amber Webber have retired their Black Mountain Army uniforms while Arjan Miranda paid his outstanding membership dues and rejoined. New members include Rachel Fannan (Sleepy Sun) and Adam Bulgasem (Dommengang & Soft Kill) plus other familiar names like Kliph Scurlock (Flaming Lips), Kid Millions (Oneida), and John Congleton (St Vincent, Swans) take a turn in the shotgun seat. Collectively, there’s a renewed vitality to Black Mountain on Destroyer — a seasoned, veteran of heady hard rock that’s found new, young muscles to flex and roads to explore.

Black Mountain – “Licensed To Drive” from the new album ‘Destroyer,’ out May 24, 2019 on Jagjaguwar  Records.

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Dan Bejar started Destroyer as a solo home-recording project in the early to mid-nineties. Exploring and overturning genressuch as glam, MIDI, yacht rock, & even underground Spanish independent artists, Bejar was proclaimed “Rock’s Exiled King” 

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Originally released August 28th, 2015

Dan Bejar: vocals, midi marimba on track 8
Ted Bois: piano, yamaha d-50 on track 3
Nicolas Bragg: electric guitar
David Carswell: electric guitar, acoustic guitar, midi tuba on track 4
JP Carter: trumpet, effects
John Collins: bass
Joseph Shabason: saxophones, flutes
Josh Wells: drums, congas, bongos and various percussion

In October of 2015, I got an email from Amy Russell, the Director of Programming at Carolina Performing Arts. She told me about a celebration of Philip Glass’ 80th birthday planned for January of 2017 and asked if I would want to be involved somehow—and without knowing what that would entail, I just said “yes.” Soon she proposed pairing a symphonic performance of Glass’ Symphony No. 4, which is based on David Bowie’s “Heroes” album, with a rock performance of the Bowie album.

This was an exciting idea, but performing an album straight in its entirety always feels a little boring to me because everyone familiar with the record knows what’s coming next… but in Glass’ case, his symphony does not adhere strictly to the track listing of the original Bowie album, which meant that we didn’t need to, either. I was mostly excited about being able to collaborate with musicians I don’t normally get to play with, and to play this amazing music with them.

Three months later, David Bowie’s death hit everyone hard and we discussed whether to move ahead, but as 2016 progressed, Bowie’s music only seemed more important. When everyone I asked to take part said “yes” immediately even though the concert was a year away and we didn’t know what shape it would take it was a good sign.

Eventually, we settled on a set list that was a combination of Glass’ (which added “Abdulmajid” to the album’s tracks) and our own desire to hear Dan Bejar sing “Beauty and the Beast” and “Joe the Lion,” which Glass left off his.

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Brad Cook, Joe Westerlund, and I got together once or twice to learn the songs because we knew we would only have one real rehearsal with the whole band. When DanWilliam Tyler, and Ken Vandermark descended upon Chapel Hill and Jenn Wasner returned from tour, we had a great day figuring out how to play these songs all together, and convened for the performance the next day in ornate Memorial Hall.

Halfway through soundcheck on the day of the performance, we learned that all water in the town of Chapel Hill was deemed unsafe to drink due to a water main break and a pump failure in the great Orange County water system. UNC campus had to be abandoned, and the show was cancelled. We staged a secret last-minute performance at the Pinhook (in Durham, where the water is always safe) just because we wanted to play this record, but the actual show at Memorial Hall was postponed by a month. So the recording you hear is actually our band reunion and the second-ever performance of A Merge Group. And the “Heroes” on the record is our version of Glass’ version of Bowie’s classic record. So much fun to play, and I’m glad there’s a document. From Mac McCaughan:

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Dan Bejar started Destroyer as a solo home-recording project in the early to mid-nineties. Exploring and overturning genres such as glam, MIDI, yacht rock, and even underground Spanish independent artists, Bejar was proclaimed “Rock’s Exiled King” . His is a body of work that consistently flouts convention in favor of musical leaps of faith, statements of purpose cloaked in subterfuge, and the joyous refrain of an optimist’s heart cloaked in cynicism.

Released by :Merge Records Release date: 8th February 2019

Destroyer

DESTROYER recently shared a new video for “Stay Lost”from their latest album ken, the 12th studio album released by the Dan Bejar-led group. Called “a user’s guide to the world” by Bejar, the imagery for “Stay Lost” depicts an aimless yet determined craftsman fabricating a world for himself.

ken is available now in the Merge Records store on CD, LP, and limited-edition deluxe LP, the latter of which is pressed on opaque yellow vinyl and includes a bonus 7-inch single on black vinyl that contains solo acoustic versions of two album tracks. You can also pick up the album at your local independent record store or through digital services.

Destroyer is the long-running solo project from The New Pornographer’s Dan Bejar. Destroyer’s 12th album ken showcases the evocative songwriting he is known for and we’re excited to welcome the band for a live set.

The full-band Destroyer tour is making its way across North America now! Get a sneak peek of what to expect with their recent appearance on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic.

Destroyer 'Ken' artwork

Dan Bejar, aka Destroyer, has announced a new album today called Ken. The title is apparently lifted from the original title of Suede’s “Wild Ones”. Ken will be Bejar’s first album since 2015’s Poison Season. It’s out October 20th on Merge Records . Chaos strikes in a hospital. Satan haunts a fashion show. Tinseltown swims in blood. Destroyer’s twelfth album, ken, is full of unforgettable scenes from Dan Bejar, one of indie rock’s finest lyricists, with a macabre bent suiting his newfound penchant for gothy synths.

The LP’s opening number, “Sky’s Grey”,

destroyer

Destroyer’s forthcoming LP ken is one of the albums we’re most excited about for October. After releasing “Sky’s Grey” and “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood,” Dan Bejar’s newest single, “Cover From the Sun,” kicks it up a notch, shattering the preconceived gloom that the album hinted at. It’s an upbeat rocker, replete with guitar, tambourine and drums. Contextually, the song is also a departure from the abstract lyrics that characterize most of Bejar’s music.

Of his 12th studio album and its enigmatic title, Destroyer’s Dan Bejar offers the following: Sometime last year, I discovered that the original name for “The Wild Ones” (one of the great English-language ballads of the last 100 years or so) was “Ken.” I had an epiphany, I was physically struck by this information. In an attempt to hold on to this feeling, I decided to lift the original title of that song and use it for my own purposes. It’s unclear to me what that purpose is, or what the connection is. I was not thinking about Suede when making this record. I was thinking about the last few years of the Thatcher era. Those were the years when music first really came at me like a sickness, I had it bad. Maybe “The Wild Ones” speaks to that feeling, probably why Suede made no sense in America. I think “ken” also means “to know.” ken was produced by Josh Wells of Black Mountain, who has been the drummer in Destroyer since 2012. The album was recorded in its entirety in the jam space/studio space that the group calls The Balloon Factory. However, unlike Poison Season, ken was not recorded as a “band” record, though everyone in the band does make an appearance.

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Destroyer – “Cover From the Sun” off of ken, out October 20, 2017 on Merge Records / Dead Oceans

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Of his 12th studio album and its enigmatic title, Destroyer’s Dan Bejar offers the following: Sometime last year, I discovered that the original name for The Wild Ones (one of the great English-language ballads of the last 100 years or so) was Ken. I had an epiphany, I was physically struck by this information. In an attempt to hold on to this feeling, I decided to lift the original title of that song and use it for my own purposes. It’s unclear to me what that purpose is, or what the connection is. I was not thinking about Suede when making this record. I was thinking about thelast few years of the Thatcher era.

Those were the years when music first really came at me like a sickness, I had it bad. Maybe The Wild Ones speaks to that feeling, probably why Suede made no sense in America. I think “ken” also means “to know.” ken was produced by Josh Wells of Black Mountain, who has been the drummer in Destroyer since 2012. The album was recorded in its entirety in the jam space / studio space that the group calls The Balloon Factory. However, unlike Poison Season, ken was not recorded as a “band” record, though everyone in the band does make an appearance.

From the album ken, out October 20, 2017 on Merge Records / Dead Oceans Records.

Despite being part of a tour that eventually evolved into violence and heartbreak, Led Zeppelin put it all together during their April 27th, 1977, stop at the Richfield Coliseum near Cleveland .

Zeppelin-ologists claim this was one of Led Zeppelin’s best shows on the tour, And much like the 10th anniversary Springsteen concert at the Agora , this 1977 Coliseum show was one of the most bootlegged of Led Zeppelin’s career.”

The best of those bootlegs remains the three-disc set “Destroyer”, which included the entire 18-song performance from the opening “The Song Remains the Same” through to a two-song encore of “Rock and Roll” and “Trampled Under Foot” that arrived more than three hours later. Better still, unlike lo-fi fare such as the fan-made bootleg Listen to This Eddie from later on during the same tour, “Destroyer” offered remarkably clear audio. The exceptional sound quality throughout the performance is described by some sources as “almost perfect”.] It was the first, and for many years the only, professionally recorded mixing desk tape to escape from the band’s possession

Led Zeppelin ended up running through an impressive setlist of fan favorites that night in Cleveland, including “Since I’ve Been Loving You,” “Stairway to Heaven” and “Kashmir,” while sprinkling in newer fare like “Achilles Last Stand” from their latest album “Presence”.  A standout moment arrived courtesy of John Paul Jones . who led an improvisational run through “No Quarter” that stretched to 20 minutes in length.

“Working from both electric and acoustic pianos, John Paul Jones again impressed with his general versatility,” It was one of the best rock jams I’ve ever witnessed.”

The liner notes for “Destroyer”, issued by the Shout to the Top label, actually thank John Bonham for use of the tapes, though initial vinyl pressings incorrectly placed the concert at Seattle. Later, a bootleg of the bootleg appeared; it was edited down to two discs by omitting Led Zeppelin’s lengthy take on “Moby Dick.”

Together, these bootlegs seem to celebrate a band at the top of its game. A show held three days after this Cleveland stop went on to draw more than 76,000 fans to Detroit’s Pontiac Silverdome setting a record for an indoor arena at that time. In actuality, however, Destroyer documented the beginning of the end.

Dates in support of Presence, Led Zeppelin’s seventh studio record, had kicked off on April 1st, 1977, in Dallas, with 51 concerts scheduled. They’d never get there.

When Led Zeppelin reached the Riverfront Coliseum in Cincinnati on April 19th, 1977, more than 2,000 fans without tickets attempted to crash the gates – resulting in around 70 arrests. Later, on June 3rd, a riot broke out in Tampa after an open-air concert was cut short by a thunderstorm, leaving behind scores of injured fans. Moving forward in a tense, drug-fueled environment, Led Zeppelin’s performances were criticized as increasingly overblown and inconsistent.

Then Robert Plant’s son Karac died on July 26th, 1977, after a a severe stomach virus . Already fearful that things were going off the rails, Plant took an extended period of time away to grieve. A tour originally intended to last through August. 13th abruptly ended.

“By 1977, I was 29, just prior to Karac’s passing, and that sort of wild energy that was there in the beginning had come to the point where we were showboating a bit,” Plant told Uncut magazine in 2008. “Unfortunately, we had no choice. We were on tours where places were going ape s—. There was no way of containing the energy in those buildings. It was insane. And we became more and more victims of our own success. And the whole deal about the goldfish bowl and living in it, that kicked in.”

Led Zeppelin eventually rallied to produce 1979’s album “In Through The Out Door” but by September. 24th, 1980, Bonham was dead aged just 32, and Led Zeppelin were no more. Already scheduled North American concerts, including a return to Cleveland on October. 25th-26, 1980, were cancelled.

That left a July 24th, 1977, date in Oakland, less than three months after Led Zeppelin’s heralded stop at the Richfield Coliseum, as their last-ever concert in the U.S.

Led Zeppelin, Cleveland, April 27th, 1977 Set List
“The Song Remains the Same”
“Sick Again”
“Nobody’s Fault but Mine”
“In My Time of Dying”
“Since I’ve Been Loving You”
“No Quarter”
“Ten Years Gone”
“Battle of Evermore”
“Going to California”
“Black Country Woman”
“Bron-Y-Aur Stomp”
“White Summer/Black Mountain Side”
“Kashmir”
“Moby Dick”
[Guitar Solo]
“Achilles Last Stand”
“Stairway to Heaven”
Encore:
“Rock and Roll”
“Trampled Under Foot”

Valley Queen front woman Natalie Carol leads a band reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac and My Morning Jacket with evocative vocals. Neil Wogensen (Bass & Vocals), Shawn Morones (Lead Guitar & Vocals) and Gerry Doot (drums), enrich the songs with energy, excitement and emotion.
In 2016, the band released the singles “In My Place” and “High Expectations” on Canvasback Music/Atlantic Records to wide acclaim, and have played lauded shows at an array of venues,
Pranav Trewn from Stereogum praised that Valley Queen has “never sounded better than they do on “In My Place,” and Bob Boilen from NPR’s All Songs Considered believes that “Valley Queen comes from the Neil Young school of great music.”
March 2017 marks the debut of Valley Queen’s premiere EP, featuring their newest songs produced by Lewis Pesacov (Best Coast, Nikki Lane, Fool’s Gold, FIDLAR). The songs show the band’s sonic evolution since their first release, and will set the stage for an exciting year to come.

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Valley Queen are,

Natalie Carol – Vocals/Guitar
Shawn Morones – Guitar/Vocals
Neil Wogensen – Bass/Vocals
Gerry Doot – Drums

Vancouver native Dan Bejar is set to return in August with his eleventh album under the pseudonym Destroyer. Ahead of that album he’s shared the video for the second track lifted from the album, Girl In A Sling.

Discussing the video for the track, director David Galloway said, “he’s the Pacific Northwest’s Buster Keaton, and I hope one day to share that with the world. One day. For now, though, there’s just this sadness. This poison season.” And certainly the casual observer would probably see more sadness than slapstick in both the song and the video, either way it’s an exciting taste of the album that’s too come. Daniel Bejar is an singer songwriter from Canada.  Bejar has gained widespread popularity through his musical collaborations with Vancouver indie rock  band The New Pornographers, but has released far more material as the band Destroyer.

Poison Season is out August 28th on via Merge/Dead Oceans. Destroyer start their tour of the UK at the end of October including dates at Islington Assembly Hall and Leeds’ Brudenell Social Club.

From the album Poison Season,