The 5 Best Videos Of The Week

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Mark Romanek is one of the great directors in music-video history. He did Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer” and Beck’s “Devil’s Haircut” and Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” and Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” and Johnny Cash’s “Hurt.” His video for Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” was seriously problematic in a lot of ways, and also just plain annoying, … More »

Destroyer – “Stay Lost” Video

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Dan Bejar’s Destroyer project released the album ken late last year, and after making a video for “Tinseltown Swimming In Blood,” they’ve got a new one for the short, impressionistic “Stay Lost.” The clip, from director Maxwell McCabe-Lokos, starts out looking like a portrait of a construction worker, one who works … More »

Stream Destroyer ken

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When the New Pornographers released their great new album Whiteout Conditions earlier this year, there was a conspicuous Dan Bejar-shaped absence. New Pornos ringleader A.C. Newman had a plain enough explanation: When he told Bejar that he was aiming for “bubblegum krautrock,” Bejar figured the “weird, quiet” songs he was writing weren’t going to … More »

Music Review: Destroyer – ken

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Destroyer

ken

[Merge; 2017]

Rating: 2.5/5

When you listen to ken, you’ll think of “the 80s.” While it’s easy to evoke that period with instrumentation, it’s more difficult to do so with what you might call “a sensibility.” Sure, ken has a lot of synths, but so did Your Blues. There’s a way in which things all sorta come together — irrespective of the instruments on which they’re being played — that recalls the type of songwriting practiced by a certain strand of mid-to-late-80s British rock outfits — for instance, in the jangly bombast of “Cover From the Sun.” But allusions to styles and genres aren’t new for Destroyer, and here they’re mostly oblique, as they have been on past records.

ken retains a similar spirit to Poison Season and Kaputt, with its mostly glossy, foggy presence, punctuated by the occasional brash guitar lick or uncanny horns, but there’s an almost gothic bleakness here that feels like a new preoccupation. From the opening lines of “Sky’s Grey,” we’re introduced to the barbiturate-laced, droning vocal delivery, ebbing in and out of the distance, that permeates much of the record. There’s a flatness throughout, a plodding malaise with the seeming intention of lulling or softly bludgeoning the listener with its persistence. This is matched musically with what is mostly mid-tempo, structurally unassuming progressions, which is distinct from the jarring turns of, say, City of Daughters or Streethawk: A Seduction.

It’s difficult, of course, to talk about Destroyer without talking about Dan Bejar’s lyrics. In a 2006 interview with CBC, he had this to say about the lyrics in Destroyer’s Rubies:

I can say that if it was like a Destroyer 101 class, it’d be like, something epic, and fatalist, followed by an aside that you mumble to your friend who’s non-existent. And then something really material and maybe banal, and then another aside commenting on that which just came before it, the material or banal thing.

I think about this quote a lot when listening to Destroyer records, because it’s so accurate. There’s a humor in these juxtapositions, in saying things like, “Vancouver’s got a new Caligula/ Hey, that’s cool” (“Sometimes in the World”). While plenty of other little traits can make a Destroyer lyric a Destroyer lyric, there’s something evocative about a truly successful Destroyer lyric, even if it’s formulaic or mundane; a successfully mundane Destroyer lyric manages also to be vague enough to cause your mind to rush to fill in the blanks, as in “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood”: “I was a dreamer/ Watch me leave” (repeated six times, to really drive the point home).

Playing with tense and person in that way, indicating some larger story than is actually being conveyed, makes for the seemingly effortless poetry present in Bejar’s best work, but most of the lyrics on ken accomplish next to nothing. Although a superficial reading of Bejar’s lyrics might conclude that they’re composed largely of rambling non-sequiturs, ken helps demonstrate just how difficult or serendipitous it is to work out a lyric like those in his earlier work (or the lines that make up the best parts of ken). At the risk of oversimplifying things, I’m tempted to describe these lyrics as placeholders that were never revisited.

On the other hand, there are lines like “Tinseltown swimming in blood” that are simply too gratuitous in their reach, demonstrating how precarious it can be to go in the opposite direction. The brilliance of a good Destroyer lyric is its ability to toe the line between these two extremes, and the failure of ken is that this doesn’t happen often enough.

Put together, this spells out the album’s main problem: the lyrics can’t support the music, and vice-versa. That’s not to say there aren’t some great moments for people who’ve been following Bejar’s work — “Ivory Coast” and much of the second half of the record have a lot of noteworthy moments, in both their musical adventurousness and lyrical successes. But the interplay between flatness and richness that Bejar describes as integral to his lyrics — and that can be extended to its interplay with his music — isn’t here a lot of the time. Rather than doing a lot with a little, ken is just… little.

Considered as a whole, ken sets a dark, overcast mood that’s been hinted at in recent work but is mostly rare for Destroyer, so it’ll be interesting to see where things go in the future if this thread is followed. I suspect, however, that this might be the end of the Kaputt sound, described by Bejar at the time as “ambient disco;” notably, it’s a sound that’s been settled into and explored for three records straight, all of which have black-and-white covers, and Bejar has been historically restless. A hunch tells me this might be an intentional “trilogy,” which would be characteristically melodramatic — but with Destroyer, you never know.

Destroyer – “Cover From The Sun”

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Where “Sky’s Grey” found Dan Bejar in louche lounge singer mode and “Tinseltown Swimming In Blood” was all New Order-indebted new wave, “Cover From The Sun,” the latest song we’re hearing from Destroyer’s forthcoming album ken, is a relatively straightforward rocker. It’s about as sunny as Bejar ever gets, and you can … More »

Destroyer toots on his MIDI sax and out pops a shiny new music video and a sopping wet string of North American tour dates!

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You guys are never gonna believe this, but: in advance of his newest and 12th-est album under the Destroyer moniker — which, last time I checked, was still entitled Ken and was still due October 20 on Merge (and could still be pre-ordered thusly) — Dan “Curly” Bejar has just un-the-fuck-leashed a new video for the album’s second single “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood.” What a totally kooky and impetuous thing to do, right?

I said: “RIGHT?!?”

Seriously though: the clip for this groovy, new wave-inspired jam was directed by “KC” (a.k.a. Karen Zolo) and configured as “an adaptation of the much-revered classic film La Jetée, which addresses contemporary issues of identity, borders, and race.” Or, in slightly more words than that:

I’d just had a conversation about artist Chris Marker with a friend when I was approached to make a music video for the upcoming Destroyer album. “You have a month.” Okay… I had no idea what the song even sounded like, but the only idea I had was to remake Chris Marker’s La Jetée as faithfully as possible. It’s not just an homage to the great cine-poet; it’s also about the medium of film, about still photography. It would have been a billion times easier and less stressful to shoot it digitally, but it was worth it.

COMPLETELY COINCIDENTALLY, the unveiling of this latest audio/visual gesamptkuntzwerk also coincides seamlessly with Bejar’s announcement of a whole slew-y slew of North American tour dates (and this is on top of the equally slew-y slew of European dates he’d already conjured up for this fall) which are scheduled for early 2018 — provided this crumby continent makes it that far into the future. But don’t take my word for it; check out the insane string of numbers and place names for yourself down below…after you watch the video, of course.

Are you watching it?

Are you??

Dan Bejar’s Path of Ultimate Destroyction:

11.12.17 – Hamburg, DE – Kampnagel
11.13.17 – Aarhus, DK – Voxhall
11.14.17 – Oslo, NO – John Dee
11.15.17 – Stockholm, SE – Fasching
11.16.17 – Copenhagen, DN – Vega
11.16.17 – Berlin, DE – Festsaal Kreuzberg
11.19.17 – Dusseldorf, DE – New Fall Festival
11.21.17 – Zurich, CH – Rote Fabrik
11.22.17 – Montpellier, FR – Le Rockstore
11.23.17 – San Sebastian, ES – Teatro Victoria Eugenia
11.24.17 – Lisbon, PR – Mexefest
11.25.17 – Madrid, ES – Teatro Barcelo
11.26.17 – Valencia, ES – La Rambleta
11.27.17 – Barcelona, ES – Sala Bikini
11.29.17 – Lille, FR – L’ Aeronef
11.30.17 – Brighton, UK – Patterns
12.01.17 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
12.03.17 – Dublin, IE – Button Factory
12.05.17 – Glasgow, UK – CCA (270)
12.06.17 – Newcastle, UK – The Cluny
12.07.17 – London, UK – Scala
12.08.17 – Paris, FR – Petit Bain
12.09.17 – Amsterdam, NE – Paradiso Noord
12.10.17 – Brussels, BE – Botanique Brussels

01.10.18 – Portland, OR – The Wonder Ballroom
01.11.18 – San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
01.12.18 – Los Angeles, CA – The Regent Theater
01.13.18 – Phoenix, AZ – The Crescent Ballroom
01.15.18 – Austin, TX – The Mohawk
01.16.18 – Dallas, TX – Club Dada
01.17.18 – Kansas City, MO – Record Bar
01.18.18 – Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line Music Cafe
01.19.18 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
01.20.18 – Chicago, IL – Metro
01.21.18 – Detroit, MI – Magic Stick
01.22.18 – Toronto, ON – Phoenix Concert Theatre
01.23.18 – Montreal, QC – Theatre Fairmount
01.24.18 – Cambridge, MA – The Sinclair
01.26.18 – Philadelphia, PA – Underground Arts
01.27.18 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel
01.28.18 – Washington, DC – Black Cat
01.29.18 – Asheville, NC – Grey Eagle
01.30.18 – Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
01. 31.18 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West
02.01.18 – Nashville, TN – Mercy Lounge
02.02.18 – St. Louis, MO -Blueberry Hill
02.03.18 – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room
02.05.18 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater
02.06.18 – Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge
02.07.18 – Boise, ID – Olympic Venue
02.08.18 – Seattle, WA – Neptune Theatre
02.09.18 – Vancouver, BC – The Commodore Ballroom

Destroyer – “Tinseltown Swimming In Blood” Video

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Dan Bejar is returning next month with a new Destroyer album called ken, and we’ve already heard the excellent lead single “Sky’s Grey.” Now he’s shared another, “Tinseltown Swimming A Blood,” a stunning new wave reverie that comes with a video directed by Karen Zolo, aka KC. A music video-length remake of the 1962 … More »

Premiere: Joseph Shabason – “Tite Cycle”

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A woman plucks an eight-stringed mandolin in the desert until she falls asleep, head lolling and wind-whipped hair confused across her face until she finally lays down and shuts her eyes. From a vantage point behind the moon (a dune beyond), a lion watches with reflective eyes. The scene is night. The color is jazz. The objects don’t belong. They look like they’ve never been seen before, imagined by an alien artist. Saxophone shooting stars; lush pads.

Joseph Shabason noodles and preens his way through a rather loose “cycle” of chord changes on “Tite Cycle,” the latest track to be released from his upcoming debut album, Aytche. Shabason is the saxophonist in Destroyer, keyboardist of DIANA, and a willing participant in sultry nu-stylings. His sax work sounds positively drenched and negatively charged, bursting into the foreground. It’s ambient music steeped in synth, but above the synthetics are layers of gorgeous, organic soloing.

Sink into “Title Cycle” below, and pre-order Aytche from Western Vinyl. It’s out on August 25.

Destroyer’s Dan Bejar wants you to “ken” that his band has a new album coming out in October

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Destroyer, the ever-mutating Canadian outfit fronted by former New Pornographers member and songwriter extraordinaire Dan Bejar, have announced their eleventh studio LP. Ken is coming out on October 20 via Merge, and is ushered now by a video for a new song, “Sky’s Grey.”

The album was recorded in a Vancouver studio called The Balloon Factory, with Black Mountain’s Joshua Wells producing. According to Bejar, its name was lifted from the original title of Suede’s “The Wild Ones.” Even though he considers the song to be “one of the great English-language ballads of the last 100 years or so,” Bejar sees the connection between it and the new album to be unclear, stressing that “[He] was not thinking about Suede when making this record.” What he was thinking of, however, were the last few years of Margaret Thatcher’s rule in Britain, when music really came to him like a bad spell of sickness.

If all of this makes sense to you, great! Then you can pre-order the results right there! The album will be released as a deluxe yellow vinyl, too, together with a bonus 7” of solo acoustic material. Check out Ken’s complete tracklist, as well as a bunch of forthcoming Destroyer tour dates, after the video for “Sky’s Grey:”


Ken tracklisting:

01. Sky’s Grey
02. In the Morning
03. Tinseltown Swimming in Blood
04. Cover From the Sun
05. Saw You at the Hospital
06. A Light Travels Down the Catwalk
07. Rome
08. Sometimes In the World
09. Ivory Coast
10. Stay Lost
11. La Regle du Jeu

Destroyer tour dates:

11.12.17 – Hamburg, DE – Kampnagel
11.13.17 – Aarhus, DK – Voxhall
11.14.17 – Oslo, NO – John Dee
11.15.17 – Stockholm, SE – Fasching
11.16.17 – Copenhagen, DN – Vega
11.16.17 – Berlin, DE – Festsaal Kreuzberg
11.19.17 – Dusseldorf, DE – New Fall Festival
11.21.17 – Zurich, CH – Rote Fabrik
11.22.17 – Montpellier, FR – Le Rockstore
11.23.17 – San Sebastian, ES – Teatro Victoria Eugenia
11.24.17 – Lisbon, PR – Mexefest
11.25.17 – Madrid, ES – Teatro Barcelo
11.26.17 – Valencia, ES – La Rambleta
11.27.17 – Barcelona, ES – Sala Bikini
11.29.17 – Lille, FR – L’ Aeronef
11.30.17 – Brighton, UK – Patterns
12.01.17 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
12.03.17 – Dublin, IE – Button Factory
12.05.17 – Glasgow, UK – CCA (270)
12.06.17 – Newcastle, UK – The Cluny
12.07.17 – London, UK – Scala
12.08.17 – Paris, FR – Petit Bain
12.09.17 – Amsterdam, NE – Paradiso Noord
12.10.17 – Brussels, BE – Botanique Brussels

Destroyer’s Dan Bejar wants you to “ken” that his band has a new album coming out in October

This post was originally published on this site

Destroyer, the ever-mutating Canadian outfit fronted by former New Pornographers member and songwriter extraordinaire Dan Bejar, have announced their eleventh studio LP. Ken is coming out on October 20 via Merge, and is ushered now by a video for a new song, “Sky’s Grey.”

The album was recorded in a Vancouver studio called The Balloon Factory, with Black Mountain’s Joshua Wells producing. According to Bejar, its name was lifted from the original title of Suede’s “The Wild Ones.” Even though he considers the song to be “one of the great English-language ballads of the last 100 years or so,” Bejar sees the connection between it and the new album to be unclear, stressing that “[He] was not thinking about Suede when making this record.” What he was thinking of, however, were the last few years of Margaret Thatcher’s rule in Britain, when music really came to him like a bad spell of sickness.

If all of this makes sense to you, great! Then you can pre-order the results right there! The album will be released as a deluxe yellow vinyl, too, together with a bonus 7” of solo acoustic material. Check out Ken’s complete tracklist, as well as a bunch of forthcoming Destroyer tour dates, after the video for “Sky’s Grey:”


Ken tracklisting:

01. Sky’s Grey
02. In the Morning
03. Tinseltown Swimming in Blood
04. Cover From the Sun
05. Saw You at the Hospital
06. A Light Travels Down the Catwalk
07. Rome
08. Sometimes In the World
09. Ivory Coast
10. Stay Lost
11. La Regle du Jeu

Destroyer tour dates:

11.12.17 – Hamburg, DE – Kampnagel
11.13.17 – Aarhus, DK – Voxhall
11.14.17 – Oslo, NO – John Dee
11.15.17 – Stockholm, SE – Fasching
11.16.17 – Copenhagen, DN – Vega
11.16.17 – Berlin, DE – Festsaal Kreuzberg
11.19.17 – Dusseldorf, DE – New Fall Festival
11.21.17 – Zurich, CH – Rote Fabrik
11.22.17 – Montpellier, FR – Le Rockstore
11.23.17 – San Sebastian, ES – Teatro Victoria Eugenia
11.24.17 – Lisbon, PR – Mexefest
11.25.17 – Madrid, ES – Teatro Barcelo
11.26.17 – Valencia, ES – La Rambleta
11.27.17 – Barcelona, ES – Sala Bikini
11.29.17 – Lille, FR – L’ Aeronef
11.30.17 – Brighton, UK – Patterns
12.01.17 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club
12.03.17 – Dublin, IE – Button Factory
12.05.17 – Glasgow, UK – CCA (270)
12.06.17 – Newcastle, UK – The Cluny
12.07.17 – London, UK – Scala
12.08.17 – Paris, FR – Petit Bain
12.09.17 – Amsterdam, NE – Paradiso Noord
12.10.17 – Brussels, BE – Botanique Brussels