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Bloodlet Your Blues Bleat Style


Destroyer, a.k.a. A Real Lookin' Future Bible Hero, a.k.a the guy in the New Pornographers who doesn't get enough attention because his songs have too much flair, allusion, and mystery, not to mention that he's hardly cute and has neither A) red hair nor B) red hair and breasts is releasing a new album, Rubies on February 21st.

I could wile out for an uninterrupted hour about Destroyer (if you toss six fingers of Jameson into the mix, up that to about 2.5 hours, including time spent getting up and down from desks, climbing fences, breaking windows, shouting unintelligibly, shaking your shoulders, and crying), so I'm going to keep this a little on the short side. Guy's one of my favorite songwriters ever; clever for miles but with about two tons of care. I'm fond of distance (I confessed to my brother on the train yesterday that defamiliarization was the best skill I've ever learned in life), and Bejar's lyrics often push right on into these open wounds I never got around to dressing: why do we listen to music, how do we create music, etc. Granted, the post-Momus New Victorian Chile element has been stepped up progressively since his first recordings, but it makes a ton of sense: Bejar's in the cheap seats with binoculars, the OED, and just about every pop/rock record I've ever heard, pinching phrases here and there just to mess with the trainspotters, crossing his legs with an analyst's cool, and telling us just what's going on on the ground. Sure, this makes him an easy target for people shouting about how he's too precious or intellectual or whatever, but there's a visceral element to him too; he's so steeped in music as a listener/fan that at times it seems like he's fighting off the desire to just immerse himself. Choice lyric, from 2001's painfully underrated Streethawk: A Seduction: "When signs become impure again, the crowd doesn't know where or when/to let it all hang out, BLOODLET YOURSELF STREET STYLE." Come on! Anyone with half an ear to rock's confused state should shake like a washing machine at that line.

Anyway, I could go on, but I won't. Rubies sounds great so far, and a departure from the MIDI phantasies/Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time vibe of Your Blues and back to the sloppy rock of past triumphs, but carries itself much more delicately not to mention independently (of Bowie, etc.) than Streethawk or the sprawl of This Night. More in February, but suffice it to say that I had an almost involuntary consummation of this intense relationship when I realized the first track was not only nine minutes long but is actually self-referential at several points. I'll be in the dark with a few protein shakes and a blanket to keep warm until I can make some sense of this.

EDIT: Your meager reward! Download "European Oils" from Music Cherry. Love & love & love some more.


Blogger Ian said...

I think the whiff of a "post-Momus New Victorian Chile element" is what's kept me distant (and not in a defamiliarizing way, either) from Destroyer thus far; then again, I never got into The Slow Wonder except for a few tracks, so maybe I should take the plunge?

3:37 PM  
Blogger Mike Powell said...

Ian, if I understand you correctly, the question is "Destroyer?" My answer is, of course, "Yes." I never really liked the New Pornographers or any of their solo projects, really, so I won't be a fair judge re: AC Newman. If you want me to send you over some stuff to chew on before taking aforementined plunge, send me an email.

1:32 PM  

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