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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Destroyer
Your Blues
Merge Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Eugene Ionesco's The Lesson is a tale of a professor using the meaning of words to assert dominance over an eager student. It ridicules those who blindly follow what they are told; it both vindicates the power of language and strikes fear into those who are swayed by it, in that their own mortality is at stake. The fate of the student is grotesque to say the least, but such is the heightened and deliberate world of absurdism: everything seems massive and horrible, and every point is loudly punctuated.

Destroyer, led by its lone constant member, Daniel Bejar, is a group that functions in the realm of absurdism. All is set to a grand scale, with sweeping gestures and bizarre poignancy. Every point is a matter of life or death. Bejar allows you to see the world with intensity, advocating arguments that can only be made in extremity, but are no less valid or chilling in personal context.

Your Blues is perverse, literate, avant-garde, and disturbingly familiar. Chiming in like Jonathan Richman or Scott Walker, there is baroque melodrama and a sick playfulness that revels in its own filth.

The opening piano of "Notorious Lightening" sings like stale harpsichord, with patent comparisons to Bowie in place, and Bejar sets the stage for uncomfortable truth. He coughs and warbles in sing-speak, murmuring threats until a reprise of Thomas Dolby's backing "orchestra" furthers the descent into madness. Here, his words inspire visions of hell that clip the soul too closely.

Transitioning into "It's Gonna Take an Airplane", he surprises us with a soft acoustic introduction, but do not be fooled: this is a world without sleep; adrenaline and injustice have clearly taken control. The track itself is lovely, cascading into an ocean's roar of faux flutes and handclaps, and sounds much like vintage Magnetic Fields. It feels tenuous, though, like a false sense of security - and while he sings "An actor will seek revenge" with a broad, painted smile, you know he would not present himself unarmed.

Your Blues is indubitably a pop album, but in the same grand scale and too-bright colors. He can employ choruses of "Ba ba ba", or get wound around his upbeat synthetic horn section, but he gets gleefully carried away. Each track is significant, and while some are more familiar ("The Music Lovers" feels like a tapped Velvet Underground track, "From Oakland to Warsaw" sounds some like Jacques Brel, and the list goes on), each bears Bejar's distinct stamp of conviction. That he is making music of great import is of little dispute; he is one of the few who allows music rightful respect and gravity in absurd measure.

As he sings, "Sister, the world cannot hold us… Brother, you can go your own way…" he is making the same despairing case as Ionesco, and we are reminded that there is so much more to life, and music, than what we content ourselves with. Your Blues is equal parts argument and the remedy.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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