Glyph is worse than some and better than others. He believes that life is just one damned thing after another, that only pop music can save us now, and that mercy is the mark of a great man (but he's just all right). Nothing he writes here should be taken as an indication that he knows anything about anything.

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25 Responses

  1. Avatar dhex says:

    i’ve never figured out if this guy is joking or not. with the voice i mean. he sounds like a drunk elf.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to dhex says:

      Well, I understand he is a wine enthusiast.

      I assume the “elf” part is just due to him being Canadian*.

      I’m actually revisiting Streethawk: A Seduction now, and “The Bad Arts” has so many great lines:

      – God damn, your eyes / They just had to be twin prizes waiting for the sun

      – Why did you spend the ’90s cowering?

      – The world woke up one day to proclaim / “Thou shalt not make or take part in bad art”

      It also ends with a coda quoting Joy Division’s “Disorder” (“You’ve got the spirit, don’t lose the feeling”) – supposedly the “hanging” lines from “Farrar, Strauss and Giroux” are also a reference there.

      Ah, and now it’s “The Sublimation Hour”:

      Don’t spend your life conceiving
      That the widows won’t get sick of their grieving
      ‘Til everyone walks out
      Hey, isn’t that what rock ‘n’ roll is all about, princess?
      Express your bloated self, willful and indignant
      In the face of somebody’s lord

      *NOTE: This comment fulfills my daily quota of American random comical misapprehension of our magical northern neighbors.Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to dhex says:

      He does have a weird voice, which makes the name even funnier, but I enjoy his oddness, here and when be teams up with Neko Case and all those other people.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

        I’ve told this story before, but I used to joke about how disappointed/irate metal fans who accidentally clicked on this guy must be.

        Then *I* got burned in SF, when I thought I was going to see a show by *this* Destroyer, and it turned out to be – a metal band.Report

        • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

          Heh… Layered irony.Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

            Irony judo.


            • Avatar dhex in reply to Glyph says:

              i also don’t know if neko case is kidding but such is my life. i’m picky about vocalists.

              unrelated, but i am listening to a lot of max richter and a broken consort lately.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to dhex says:

                Whoa, whoa, whoa…Bejar’s voice is definitely unusual, but if you are questioning Neko, we may have to throw down.

                Luckily, as a metal fan, you never have to question to what degree the vocal stylings there are affected. 😉Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to Glyph says:

                i mean, i get it. some dudes are into feet or whatever. the world is an oyster filled with gross. etc.

                but case strikes me as very beige and i can’t for the life of me figure out why she’s so adored. there’s no there there.

                as a side note, i did not know about the destroyer/new pornographers connection. that explains everything.

                glyph, i know you smiley’d it but there is a wide range of lousy metal singing/”singing” (depending on genre) that relies too much on that empty shell of “brutality” i wrote something about once. it’s the difference between nonsensical trash like [insert any power metal band you want, they are all awful] and the shrieky, greasy gutterances of coffinworm.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to dhex says:

                semi-related, but mark kozelek is getting shittier with age, both vocally and lyrically.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to dhex says:

                It’s hard to get worse than some of the old RHP lyrics.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to Chris says:

                true, and yet somehow it worked better in that younger context. the weird, almost crackling voice of a 25 year old made sense, even if the lyrics were sometimes barely worthy of a 15 year old.

                the sun kil moon stuff is so all over the map it’s impossible to figure out what’s going on. carissa or i can’t live without my mother’s love versus pray for newtown, for example. wtf.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to dhex says:

                With RHP you could also just wait for the 6 minute long guitar solo, which would be kind of fun.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to Chris says:

                true, and it benefited from having good engineering and mixing. “intimate” without being lo-fi, though lord kill the pain is snare drum ear firecrackers (and also a severe tonal shift, and kinda lousy).

                generally the skm stuff is very well recorded. and overall benji and april are good albums. the new one is…not.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to dhex says:

                I’m sure you saw this, but Albini’s gotta Albini.Report

              • Avatar dhex in reply to Glyph says:

                which is funny because powell is pretty firmly early/mid period cab volt as far as influences go.

                but he is the angriest nerd, and such is his life. being the avatar of emotional rigidity seems to work for him.

                brilliant billboard though.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to dhex says:

                I am definitely not kidding about Neko Case. My love for her is unconditional.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph says:


              Not an expert, but I believe traditional martial arts styles based on this thinking are called deja fu and okidoki.Report

        • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Glyph says:

          Having just seen this Destroyer on Sunday I can only guess you had a much better time than I did. Pretentious lyrics, sung by an Al Stewart sound alike, with the same boring musical arrangement behind every song. The only plus was getting to visit a brand new venue here in Chicago. I’ll certainly be back, but not to see this band.Report

          • Oof! Harsh, but fair.

            I tend to think the “pretentious” bit gets undercut, just a little, by all the lyrical jokes and jabs at himself; but I can’t deny that I sometimes get a little eye-rolly myself at how…elaborate and obscure he gets with some of them.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

              I find it impossible to take him seriously, starting with the name. Perhaps it is mere projection, on my part, to assume that he doesn’t take himself seriously.

              His stuff with The New Pornographers can seem a bit… over-earnest at times, but I’m not sure how much of that is him, and how much of it is the dynamic between the different songwriters/musicians in that collective. Plus, I generally like the result when he seems more serious with TNP:


              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris says:

                I was trying to figure out who he reminded me of, lyrically. He’s riffed on Morrissey more than once, and his general Canadian miserablist romanticism can’t help but call Cohen to mind, but both those songwriters are generally much more focused and less-surreal. But when you look at surrealists like Pollard/Barrett etc., Bejar’s not exactly doing that either (Bejar definitely still feels more ‘literary’ than ‘imagistic’, if that makes any sense).

                I don’t know enough about Dylan to say how he compares, but it just hit me that Scott Miller (Game Theory/Loud Family) might be a decent analogue, as far as really densely-dictionary-wordy lyricists (and both have unusual voices and twisty, complicated melodies).

                And like Miller, Bejar is probably limited in how much mass appeal can be found. It’s actually surprising to me that he’s as well-known as he is.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph says:

                I dunno about Dylan. Maybe Lou Reed with a thesaurus?Report

              • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Chris says:

                My bandmates and I were talking about this last night and we came up with Colin Meloy. Some of his songs should come with a glossary.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

                Well, that would explain why dhex doesn’t like him.Report