Monday, January 24th, 2011

Savage Night At The Opera

Review of Destroyer’s Kaputt

Photo By Ted BoisTed BoisSometimes you just get a hankering for some Dan Bejar, a need to ride that train of thought through station stops no one else’s visit and which moves at that distinctive languid-yet-mile-a-minute cadence. And while it’s possible to get one’s fix via with his mandatory three-songs per New Pornographers record or various side-projects, it’s Destroyer that offers the best, purest hit of Dan. The catch being that like one of his most obvious influences, David Bowie, you never know what form that hit is going to take from one record to the next.

Having made his perhaps most direct and “rock” work – a very relative statement – with 2006’s Destroyer’s Rubies and followed it up with a record that explored similar if denser terrain with Trouble In Dreams, he’s now made a hard – or maybe that should be soft – left on Kaputt. Guitars remain present but take a back seat to billowing synths, soulful backing vox and slinky sax as the listener is invited into an ’80s-vintage discotheque/lounge as such things exist in the Destroyer-verse. In finding the groove, the record is less inclined to wander and even though a few tracks still exceed the five-minute mark and one, the previously-released “Bay Of Pigs” exceeds eleven, it feels like a much more focused record than past efforts.

Lyrically… well let’s be honest – trying to decipher a Destroyer record has always been somewhat an exercise in futility and Kaputt is no less opaque than its predecessors. But while a micro analysis of the words in play only lead to head-scratching, a more macro view reveals a consistently downcast tone and themes of broken romances, accusations and regrets. One is tempted to wonder if casting such motifs against the musical soundtrack more associated with coupling is a deliberate bit of irony on Bejar’s part or perhaps it’s just coincidence. Whatever his intent, with Kaputt Bejar has pulled off the difficult task of making a record that’s completely different from his past works and yet still classic Destroyer. Which is to say unique, fascinating and worth the time and effort it takes to comprehend.

Kaputt is out tomorrow and Destroyer’s North American tour hits Lee’s Palace on March 31. Pitchfork talks to Dawn Garcia, director of the wonderfully bizarre video for the album’s title track.

MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”
Video: Destroyer – “Kaputt”

Metric have released a video for their cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “Expecting To Fly” – it had shown up in some of Emily Haines’ solo live sets but I guess they decided to do a version with the rest of the band. And make a video

Video: Metric – “Expecting To Fly”

As The Dears ramp up to the February 15 release of their new record Degeneration Street, they’ve come out with a new MP3, a video and a chat with Spin and scheduled an in-store at Sonic Boom for February 17 at 7PM – admission free with donation of a canned good.

MP3: The Dears – “Blood”
Video: The Dears – “Omega Dog”

Guttersnipe News and The Calgary Herald have interviews with Sarah Harmer and CBC Radio 2 is streaming her show at Massey Hall last Fall.

Bruce Peninsula frontman Neil Haverty discusses his leukemia treatment with Exclaim; the C For Cure benefit show goes January 29 at the Music Gallery.

eye has an interview with Tokyo Police Club while The AV Club is offering a mashup between them and their current tourmates Two Door Cinema Club… because that’s what tourmates do. Mash. Tokyo Police Club will also be playing the just-announced Edgefest ’11 at Downsview Park on July 9 along with Rise Against, A Perfect Circle, The Weakerthans and more.

MP3: Two Door Tokyo Cinema Cub – “Breakneck Speed Can Work”

Exclaim and Spinner talk to Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham about his new gig as host of The Wedge (premiering this Wednesday) and his band’s new album/musical David Comes To Life, which is targeted for a May release.

Spinner chats with Nils Edenloff and Amy Cole of The Rural Alberta Advantage, whose new record Departing will be out March 1 and which has already yielded this terrific new video.

Video: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Stamp”

Exclaim reports that Basia Bulat will be teaming up with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra for a performance at Hamilton Place Studio Theatre on February 3 – though similar in concept to her performance with Symphony Nova Scotia at the Halifax Pop Explosion, Owen Pallett has re-written the arrangements for this show to suit the philharmonic and the venue. Tickets for the show are $23 in advance and $25 at the door.

Clash declares Suuns to be a band to watch in 2011, and you can do just that when they play Sonic Boom on January 29 at 4PM and then open for The Besnard Lakes across the street at Lee’s Palace later that evening. The Concordian also has an interview.

The Toronto Star profiles Diamond Rings, kicking off his tour opening for Robyn at The Sound Academy on January 26.

By : Frank Yang at 8:28 am
Category: General

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  1. Scott says:

    I think the Wedge premieres Wednesday – that’s what I’d read so far (Jan 26)… not Friday.

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  3. Knowingisknowing says:

    Very well written review of the new Destroyer album “Kaputt.” I’ve been listening to it nonstop for about a week now, trying to get a grasp on just how to review it. “Destroyer’s Rubies” remains one of my all time favorite records and you’re mention of Bowie (both in terms of sound as well as musical exploration) is dead on. :)