…..Destroyer songs are more essays than fictions. But hopefully super passionate essays, where the world is at stake
What is it that prompts us to purchase an album, let it sit in our iTunes library (or for older people SHELF) for years or months never listened to, to then come around and unexpectedly blow our faces off? What drew us to that album to begin with? A friend’s recommendation? The art? A single? A glimpse of a performance? Catching their set at a festival? Some reason prompted the purchase, but the connection didn’t happen then. I discovered My Bloody Valentine due to their CD’s proximity in the racks to another band I like, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult. Eventually my love for MBV superceded my like for MLWTTKK. I wouldn’t have found one without the other…and you never know when those queues can happen. I discovered The Raconteurs at Coachella and they blew me away even with 60,000 people around me! That says something. I bought Consolers of the Lonely immediately when I returned home.
When thinking about festivals like Coachella, people oftentimes seek out the acts they already LIKE, as opposed to attending shows of acts they’ve never even heard of. For this reason I love that Coachella started webcasting their first weekend. In the two years I went to Coachella, I didn’t see as many new acts as I hoped. It’s hot, crowded and ends up pretty exhausting to walk from Gobi to Sahara to Coachella to Mohave to DoLab stages all day….it ends up you can’t even attend all the acts you even went there to see. The webcast allows you to click through three channels over the course of many hours and three days! After breaking my foot in 2011 a couple weeks before Coachella I hunkered down with the webcast and discovered Destroyer.
I clicked over to Destroyer expecting metal…or hard rock. It wasn’t just the sound of Dan Bejar’s voice…but how densely the lyrics fell through the songs…and that cadence! I hadn’t been exposed to anything like this in a long time and sat transfixed to my computer screen. The music was so slick too, so clean compared the staleness of droning indie rock that’s so pervasive these days. As soon as it was finished I bought three albums off iTunes: Kaputt, Thief and Trouble in Dreams.
Yet…then my computer died and I lost everything. It took me a couple years to get everything back and this past fall I went DEEP into Destroyer. Kaputt being my favorite, with Thief coming in right behind. Trouble in Dreams didn’t grab me like the other two. Then in March after just the perfect amount of tequila blanco (sometimes I get drunk and buy music). I bought Streethawk: A Seduction, Five Mexican Songs EP and Destroyer’s Rubies. Streethawk again blew me away. I’ve turned into that person who finds Jesus or a new diet and can’t stop talking about it to everyone. Maybe it really just hit me at the right time….I’ve been working and inundated with electronically produced dance music….Destroyer’s delicately poppy tunes with vocals a la Nick Cave/Dylan/Bowie….but uniquely their own. It’s obvious the lyrics and vocals stand out, but the music is allowed such space each instrument and voice combines together to make a perfect whole. It’s so intensely heartfelt that the 80s pop thematics, which could potentially drop the song into corniness, can’t even touch the deep feeling emanating from Destroyer.
I’ve probably listened to the album Kaputt at least 100 times, sometimes starting it again immediately after the last song ends. If I owned it on CD it would have stayed in my car stereo for two or three months. Kaputt is perfectly produced in my opinion, each song setting up the next exquisitely. It’s like a 5 star chef producing a meal where the sight and smell takes you somewhere far away, yet composed of flavors recognizable throughout parts of your life, coming together to form something completely new to wholeheartedly gratifying.
Dan Bejar, while the only consistent member of Destroyer, doesn’t fall into the category of musicians who claim HE is Destroyer, and then books musicians around him. To him, Destroyer is a band the current line-up from Destroyer’s Rubies is the final line-up. He also is a member of Matador Records recording artists The New Pornagraphers, and Destroyer finds their home on Merge Records (home of Arcade Fire, Magentic Fields, Spoon and Neutral Milk Hotel, to name a few).
And how about this incredible video for the title track of Kaputt?
“Suicide Demo For Kara Walker”
“Savage Night at the Opera”
[cs_button color=”#COLOR_CODE” background=”#COLOR_CODE” src=”http://thequietus.com/articles/06411-destroyer-dan-bejar-interview”]READ MORE ABOUT THE RECORDING OF KAPUTT AND DAN BEJAR[/cs_button]