17 March 2008

This Phony Beatlemania Has Written Its Course

A few links of interest and then it's on to Destroyer...old(er) Destroyer, mind you. After the links is a review of Destroyer's previous album that originally saw print in The Beat (RIP). I've got Man Man photos from their Village Tavern show and a review coming by Friday. Those guys were unreal; my mind was sufficiently blown.

Trent Reznor may be on to something here... Guess I never really thought of it that way, but he makes a valid point. Go your free download of Nine Inch Nail's Ghosts 1-9 here.

SXSW is streaming like nobody's business at NPR. None of the concerts are up for download, but I strongly recommend their live concert podcast.

Get a giant zip file of 1/2 of a Wilco show over at Sixeyes--consistently one of the best blogs for free music and mp3 of the legal variety.

That's all. Now go get Trouble In Dreams from anywhere but iTunes.

DestroyerDestroyer’s Rubies (Merge Records, 2006)

Dan Bejar has always been the brainchild behind Destroyer, and while I’ve never cared for his previous releases, his work in the supergroup The New Pornographers has always made he question why he can’t create a Jackie Dressed in Cobras (one of the best songs on The New Pornographer’s Twin Cinema) without the help of his supergroup cohorts.

Well, to make up for lost time, Bejar and his new band members in Destroyer have created an album full of intelligent pop that hasn’t left my ears for weeks. Putting what Destroyer does into words is difficult, but the songs have major structure and guitar hooks from hell. And the lyrics, while puzzling at time, serve to enhance the song when necessary and let it be when needed.

The nine minute opener Rubies displays alternating shifts between acoustic strumming and picking and an electric guitar takeover. And even though the chorus consists of little more than Bejar singing, “la da da da da, da da da dum” the song never wears you out as you might expect it to. To counterbalance the chorus, however, are great lines like, “Don’t worry about her/ she’s been know to appreciate/ the elegance of an empty room” and “please don’t wake me/ from this my golden slumber/ I am proud to be a part of this number.” If I didn’t know better I’d say that Bejar was cueing his listeners in to his comfort level; a clearly reflected element in these relaxed and focused songs.

Tracks like 3000 Flowers and Painter in Your Pocket feel like some of the most well-designed songs I’ve heard: they’re elegant in their simplicity, but layered in their meaning. And I love to hear a man write lines that amount to modern poetry—“Where did you get that line?/ Where did you get that rook?/ Where did you get that penchant for destruction in the way you talk?. The only slump is the Neil Young-esque guitar blues on the last track Sick Priest Learns to Live Forever.

There are constant themes throughout the record that I have yet to decipher. For example, blood, oils, priests, and “your blues” (the title of Destroyer’s previous release) come up repeatedly. One could take Destroyer’s Rubies as a concept album, but of what, has to be left up to the listener. And modernist lyrics like, I was Clytemnestra on a good day, can puzzle those not versed in mythology. But one thing that shouldn’t be left up to listeners is the delicacy and greatness of this, Destroyer's finest moment.

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