Destroyer- “Kaputt”

Dan Bejar has been putting out music for over fifteen years under the name Destroyer; essentially, that means he has pumping out indie music ever since a little movie entitled Braveheart was released. That is a long time. This was a faraway time where Mel Gibson had not yet gone ape-shit and “social networking” meant hanging around the water-cooler. Let’s just say Destroyer is a mature band that has experimented with all types of sounds and if it was a smooth bachelor, it would know all the moves to get you in the sack.

The band’s lucky thirteenth release, Kaputt, starts off by seducing the listener. The opener “Chinatown” gives the listener exactly what they want to hear: a nice rhythmic guitar, polished vocals, and even accents of horns. Just when you think you are being sweet-talked, your suspicions are confirmed with the following fantastic single “Blue Eyes”. A song that was taken straight out of the 1950s via a weird Sammie Kaye time machine. The accompanying female vocals on the track are magnificent. “Savage Night of The Opera” and probably the best song on the album, “Suicide Demo for Kara Walker”, are pure delights and the first half of the album takes you to a time where music uplifted spirits and was amorous.

Unfortunately, the second half of the album aside from the fantastic closer “Bay of Pigs” shows a loss of steam and lyrics like “Wasting your days/Chasing some girls/Alright/Chasing cocaine to the back-rooms of the world all night” followed by the overuse of jazz horns is to the narrowest of margins pleasing. It is as though Destroyer made two albums; the first half of Kaputt is the correct way to make a reappraising of 1950s-esque music and the second half is littered with mediocre jazz.

All in all, it is okay because as the album closes, Destroyer has delivered the hits just like any crafty veteran manages to do in the time it is given. Kaputt is a blast; the musicianship for the most part is great, lyrics are interesting albeit a few eye-rolling moments, and there are a handful of catchy singles.

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Interview: A Little Bit with Elmor

Indie Brit band Elmor is a band you should love. The boys of Elmor intertwine delighful pop vocals with driving insturmentation to produce fun, “dance-y” and romantically charged rock n’ roll. I had the pleasure of interviewing the group before they embarked from England to LA to tour. Unfortunately this interview took place via Facebook chat due to the band’s location across the pond, but imagining the boys saying everything in a British accent made up for it.

Liv: Where’d you get your name?  I’m sure you know there’s an Elmore band and an Elmore D Band?

Andy: It’s our lead singer Luke’s mother’s maiden name (she’s Scottish) and a street he used to live on. Elmore band…? There’s one in London but we’re bigger than them so doesn’t matter! Although myself and Rich here are big jazz fans and love Elmore James [of the Elmore D Band]! Don’t forget we’re Elmor though!

Liv: How did the band form? Where are you all from?

Andy: Luke and I have been mates for about five years. After living in Vancouver I moved back here [London] and hooked up with him for some drinks. Luke said he had written some songs and wanted to get a band together. We started with a five piece line-up then. However things weren’t working and our original guitarist had to be fired after a year, so Tristan joined who we knew from the muso circle around here! We went through three other drummers before getting Richard who we found on the net….so 21st century!!

 Liv: What is muso?

 Andy: People in England who are musicians basically…! But it’s like more of a cool term for rockers.

 Liv: Ah, I like!

Andy: As a band we all have different influences though and so the sound we have is different than what it was when we began. The songs we did when it started three years ago? We don’t play any of them now!

 Liv: Describe Elmor’s sound to someone who has never heard your music before

Andy: Melodic rock; energetic rock sound with a commercial vibe…hang on we once had a review from a national paper which describes us well: “A face-off between the west coast of America indebted soaring melodies of the Thrills and the day-glo pop of the hirsute Magic Numbers, with a dash of stadium rock U2 and even industrial Editors-esque riffs” THE FLY “A lot of scope and expansiveness to the music, a certain kind of wind-swept romanticism” THE INDEPENDENT ”

Liv: If you weren’t in the band, what would you be doing?

Andy: Working in the industry; I’d probably go into management. I was doing that before the band. Luke would probably carry on – writing, doing solo stuff – and start a gardening business.

John: I’d be song writing and producing.

 Richard: Playing drums?! Typical drummer! Playing jazz though…

Liv: I’m glad you all would still be doing music stuff!! That’s refreshing.

Andy: The thing is we’ve never discuss that! We are part of the project and team and we don’t consider anything else.

Liv: What’s the song writing process? Song writing inspirations? Lyrical inspiration? Do you ever find it difficult to write a song?

Andy: When we wrote our current single it happened within an hour. Other songs have taken weeks! Sometimes the lyrics and melody are written first, sometimes another part is the basis. The songs can take weeks to tailor. “The Wedding Song” – which you won’t have heard; that shall be our next single – took about two months to get it how we wanted. Luke uses a lot of influences in his life for inspiration.

Liv: Yes, writing about what you know is always good! Do you have a favorite song to perform?

 Andy: A track called “Use It”. This was originally called “Everything and Everyone” but we’ve changed the latter to the album name. Because it’s the first song we wrote we wanted to incorporate it into the album title. John’s and Luke’s favorite is “One Step”

Richard: “Seven Years”

 Tristan: “Little Bit”

 Liv: Why these songs?

Andy: They are all different. Each one has its own elements. How we play them physically is different too. We get a different reaction to each one. I think our main basis is every song should be unique but encompassing our signature sound! There are too many bands – especially in this country – who have an album of “samey” songs…..also bands we’ve met touring. But then there are a couple who are special…

Liv: Like you?

Andy: We have been told we are! Haha!

 Liv: What song do you wish you had written?

Andy: “Be my baby”, The Ronettes. “Don’t Worry Baby”, The Beach Boys. Uum………. I know Luke would say Radiohead’s “Ok Computer”. For me: every album Muse has done!

Liv: Me too! I love Muse. Have you seen them live?

Andy: yeah last year!

Liv: Their keyboard player is fucking incredible.

Andy: Such a massive inspiration for me…

Liv: What’s your favorite thing about being on tour?

Andy: Making bets on how long it takes for Richard to fall asleep on the dance floor when we’re out! Oh, and tickling Tristan. He hates it!

Liv: Couldn’t you tickle him anytime?

Andy: Yes, but in a vehicle, he can’t escape! Meeting other bands is always fun. We come away from a tour having met loads of lovely people. Of course there are the obvious perks like trying different venues and crowds. England even though it’s small to you, you go an hour away and people/accents can be very different!

Listen to Elmor on their MYSPACE

A Tribute to Michael Jackson

Losing Michael Jackson yesterday has already spawned tons of cover songs by other bands. I guess it is the most flattering way you can be remembered.  Who ever thought this would happen so soon. You can’t help to respect the man’s talent and passion for music, amongst other things.

I remember being a little kid in the 80’s and having Michael Jackson dubbed cassettes from my older cousins. We used to moonwalk across the living room and we even started our own little ‘fake kids band’ with our instruments imitating his songs. I also have video footage of my cousin Chris moonwalking in the background of a 1980’s Christmas day (don’t let him know I told you that!)  I wasn’t the biggest Michael Jackson fan in the world, but he did indeed change the face of music and quite frankily, one of my first tastes of ‘real music.’

One of my favorite that I heard today was a cover of ‘Billie Jean’ by an up and coming band called The Lost Fingers, a jazzy little trio from Canada.

Rest in peace Michael, you’ll be missed.

Enjoy this lovely cover of ‘Billie Jean’  by The Lost Fingers HERE