Posts Tagged ‘Destroyer’

Dan Bejar’s Destroyer returned with their new album “Have We Met” via Merge Records. Have We Met caps off an arc begun almost a decade ago, when Dan Bejar released his landmark album Kaputt and entered the most accessible, acclaimed, yet no less eccentric chapter of his career. Informed by the claustrophobic atmosphere of our times, Have We Met is cerebral and absurd even by Bejar’s standards. Bizarre scenes and non-sequiturs abound. Bejar often sounds like a man slowly unravelling over greyscale, icy synth backdrops. But in the epic swell of “Crimson Tide,” was the first I heard from this album and is an immediate Destroyer classic! the new wave pulse of “It Doesn’t Just Happen,” or the sneakily catchy refrains of “The Man In Black’s Blues,” Bejar crafted apocalypse music that’s every bit as transporting as it is discomfiting.

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“Have We Met” settles into disquieting grooves and atmospheres by employing the sounds of 80s soft rock and adult contemporary in ways that often feel slightly off-kilter. However, while Dan Bejar may twist a traditionally comfortable sonic palette, it is never distorted to the point of being abrasive or unapproachable. Furthermore, his lyrics may grimly reckon with the ending of things hope, love, and life as we know it

Released January 31st, 2020
The Band:
Dan Bejar: vox, synthesizer
Nicolas Bragg: guitar
John Collins: bass, synthesizer, drum programming, granular synthesis

Destroyer

Destroyer has shared a video for “foolssong,” the closer of Have We Met. It was directed by David Galloway and David Ehrenreich and shot on the road during Destroyer’s most recent tour, which was called off early due to the coronavirus.

“The tour got cancelled. We were making a film. Maybe we still are, it’s hard to tell, though,” Galloway and Ehrenreich said in a statement. “‘foolssong’ is what’s left of that for now…. With any luck, these alien landscapes provide only a temporary snapshot of an unfamiliar world, a glimpse into a future that denotes self-separation, isolation, but on the bright side, maybe a little bit more wonder.”

Snow Day. At this very peculiar time, the expression “Have We Met” deserves a question mark less than ever. We likely haven’t met anyone new since March, and the cadence of this statement is more of an absolute than an actual inquiry. The tour got cancelled. We were making a film. Maybe we still are, it’s hard to tell, though. “foolssong” is what’s left of that for now. “foolssong” is a lullaby, it’s the painted book cover of a sinister romantic novel, and it’s our second favourite song on the album.

Packing up mid-stride and pushing through North America to find solace in quarantine is a pretty foreign experience.
With any luck, these alien landscapes provide only a temporary snapshot of an unfamiliar world, a glimpse into a future that denotes self-separation, isolation, but on the bright side, maybe a little bit more wonder.

Image may contain: one or more people, possible text that says 'Destroyer Have We Met'

Image may contain: one or more people, possible text that says 'Destroyer Have We Met'

I just finished listening to the new Destroyer record, Dan Bejar’s most recent release, “Have We Met” the new wave synthpop sound really gets around–even Dan Bejar’s dreamy, chamber goth has decided to evoke the Eighties in all its upbeat, mall food court ambiance. Except instead of enticing you to eat crusty Panda Express, he’s urging listeners to ponder the curse of silence, song structure and his tribute to an imaginary tribute to a Poesian Raven. Much credit must be given to his somber “It Just Doesn’t Happen” as the point where my mind switched from “oh, this is interesting” to “oh, this is worth listening.” As his higher register expands an Overton window that includes Neil Young, Nick Cave and Leonard Cohen, it’s fait accompli that his music is always on my short list of must explore–his complex conceits contrasting well with the simple musicality on this record. Bejar could hardly ask for more..

From the album “Have We Met,” Released January 31st, 2020

Destroyer ‘Have We Met’ LP

Indie-rock’s modern crooners, Destroyer, have released the anthemic lead single “Crimson Tide” from their forthcoming album, “Have We Met”. The song is rife with singer Dan Bejar’s elegant ramblings and comes with a surrealist music video that’s as invigorating as the song itself. “Crimson Tide” is Destroyer’s first release since 2017’s Ken but shows the outfit continuing down the electronic tone their past record set. It opens with a deep bass line and choral synths, setting the stage for Bejar’s lyrical waltz. In his trademark stream-of-consciousness delivery, he delivers witty quips—odd as they are charming. He sounds delightfully disheveled as he sings, “When lightning strikes twice the funeral goes completely insane.”

‘Have We Met’, as Dan Bejar puts it, “came together in such a crazy way – all equal parts ecstasy and terror.” Initially conceived (but quickly ditched) as a Y2K album, Bejar was without a clear concept in mind. So he let it all rip while brainstorming at home. Culled from years’ worth of saved writing, set aside for projects “beyond music” and recorded at his kitchen table, ‘Have We Met’ harkens back to ‘Kaputt’-era Dan stringing together lyrics off hand while lounging on his couch. The resulting vocal sound exists in the sweet spot between two Destroyer worlds colliding: hints of the past, more strident Destroyer mixed in with a relaxed, new-aged Crooning one.
No re-recording. No cleaning up. Frequent collaborator John Collins was tasked with the role of layering synth and rhythm sections over a stream-of-consciousness Bejar, as Nic Bragg added “completely unexpected and somehow comforting” three- dimensional, shredding guitar. The Destroyer band-orientated approach was shelved; “The record could have gone on and on, and the mixes kept evolving up until about a day before we sent them off to be mastered, which was also 48 hours before John and his wife went to the birthing centre, where their first child was born; our true deadline!” says Bejar.

On ‘The Television Music Supervisor’, trickling keys, glitches and ‘clickity click clicks’ (a variation on the standard Bejar ‘la da das’) focuses on how those who dictate our relationships with music and media are susceptible to error, a most 21st Century concern.
Perhaps the most audacious Destroyer track yet, ‘Cue Synthesizer’ steps back to address the rote and often-detached mechanics of music. Up next, the waltzy and woozy centrepiece ‘University Hill’ drifts even further and applies that logic more broadly, insisting “the game is rigged in every direction” and “you’re made of string.”
Thirteen albums in, ‘Have We Met’ manages to meet somewhere between trademarks and new territory – atmospheric approximations of feeling and place, wry gut-punches of one liners and the deluge of energy meets a thematic catharsis of modern dread, delivered with an effortless, entrancing directness. No need to expound any further – he’s got it all spelled out for you in the music.

From the album “Have We Met,” out January 31st, 2020.

Destroyer Tour

Dan Bejar returns in January with his latest album,Have We Met”, which he’ll support with an extensive 2020 tour.

Destroyer came to be when, in 1996, Dan Bejar released the influential lo-fi compilation “We’ll Build Them a Golden Bridge”. Despite the poor sound quality of the recordings on the album, it managed to garner critical success thanks to its catchy melodies and Bejar’s use of obscure and sometimes downright confusion lyricism.

The follow-up, 1998’s “City of Daughters”, saw Bejar joined by John Collins. who complimented the record, and noted that it still managed to sound “homespun” despite the fact that the band had used a professional recording studio this time. Also praised was the return of Bejar’s trademark poetry, something which would become a recognisable constant throughout the band’s later output.

In 2000, they released “Thief”, an album which saw them attempt to deliver their trademark songwriting style with the help of a backing band. The album’s lyrics, many believe, conveyed Bejar’s thinly-veiled feelings of the music industry. Again, the album received generally positive reviews from major outlets.

Since then, the band has continued to progress as an entity; first by developing their character sound with “Streethawk: A Seduction” in 2001, and then returned to their roots with the rougher-sounding “This Night” in 2002. The album was mixed in less than a week and polarised critics, although Bejar himself credits it as being his favorite Destroyer record.

Many of the band’s diverse and unique influences have managed to make their impact on Destroyer releases, including Miles Davis and Roxy Music. Over the span of their nearly twenty-year career, this has allowed them to produce wildly different and adventurous works, while still managing to keep them firmly tied in to Destroyer’s philosophy and style.

From the album “Have We Met,” out January 31st, 2020.

Image may contain: one or more people, sky, outdoor and nature
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.

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”,