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Baker's Dozen

Mitchellin Man: Destroyer's Favourite Albums
Merek Cooper , August 12th, 2015 10:32

Before he releases his new album Poison Season later this month, Destroyer's Dan Bejar places a call to Merek Cooper to talk to him about saxophones, heroin and going through a seven-year Joni Mitchell phase

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Photograph courtesy of Fabiola Carranza

If we just stopped to think about it for a second we'd realise Destroyer's Dan Bejar is one of the finest singer-songwriters we have. Justly concerned about poetry's place in pop music and aware of history and heritage, his last album, the New Age ambient-meets-Roxy Music outing Kaputt, finally gained him the kind of fawning attention his luxuriously upholstered music has always deserved.

The Canadian is back this month with a new record, his tenth, the ominously titled Poison Season. True to form he's returning the same but different. You can't mistake his precise vocal phrasing or his well-read playfulness, but there's something new he's toying with now. No Destroyer record is ever the same as the last and here the Vancouverite can be found teasing magic out of the darkness at the edge of a muscular Bruce Springsteen sound. Uptown blasts of saxophone mingle with his knowing, seen-it-all delivery and plush strings you can practically lay back on. It's hard to remember the singer sounding so at home and confident in his abilities.

Poison Season is a mature record from an auteur songwriter closing in on his mid-40s and in love with the music of the 70s, and Bejar's Baker's Dozen reflects this. For example, the first six of his choices track his compatriot Joni Mitchell's progress during that treacherous decade from rock radio darling to artistically isolated acquired-taste. A strange choice perhaps, but Destroyer's groaning lyrical tapestries have always lingered long over the trials and tribulations of doomed goddesses and bereft heroines, both classical and contemporary. After all, if Bejar's songs have taught us anything over the years, it's that there's nothing so beautiful as the myriad ways humans deal with the inevitable tragedy and farce of existence.

Poison Season is out on August 28 on Merge/Dead Oceans. Destroyer begin a world tour at Wonder Ballroom in Portland, OR on September 18, with the UK dates starting at Islington Assembly Hall in London on October 30; for full details and tickets, head here

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ad hominem
Aug 12, 2015 11:17am

this was so enjoyable, he's such a cad.

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danmac
Aug 12, 2015 12:42pm

Destroyer is my favourite artist ever. One of these days I hope to listen to him

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Aug 12, 2015 8:10pm

Sad... And "Roll On John" from that Dylan album is almost certainly THEE very worst and most stupid piece of trash Zimmy ever wrote himself... Jacques Levy is Jacques Brel by comparison... As for Van's fleecey pubes...

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Aug 13, 2015 1:15am

Good to see Frog Eyes on the list- they deserve their due.

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john
Aug 13, 2015 10:46am

I lost respect when he said "I've got to be honest, I put Mingus down on this list, but then I realised I'd never heard it."

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dd worldwide
Aug 13, 2015 12:38pm

Dudes from Vancouver are so blah

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ee
Aug 14, 2015 6:22pm

Diverse!

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ee
Aug 14, 2015 6:22pm

best comment. Ever.

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ZD
Aug 14, 2015 11:00pm

In reply to john:

Yeah, but that's just Danny B being Danny B. He says flippant shit like that all the time, and we love him for that.

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ZD
Aug 14, 2015 11:02pm

In reply to :

Really? I thought "ROJ" was perhaps a bit treacly, but it does have a nice "summing things up" quality as the last original Zimmsong released to date.

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