The Current

Great Music Lives Here ®
Listener-Supported Music
Donate Now
Live From The Current Studio

Destroyer perform songs from 'Have We Met' in The Current studio

Destroyer performing in The Current studio
Destroyer performing in The Current studioHelen Teague | MPR
  Play Now [16:59]

by Mac Wilson

March 06, 2020

Destroyer - The Raven (Live at The Current)
by MPR
Destroyer - It Just Doesn't Happen (Live at The Current)
by MPR
Destroyer - The Man in Black's Blues (Live at The Current)
by MPR

"When you're looking for nothing, and you find nothing is more beautiful than anything you ever knew," rambles Dan Bejar on "The Man in Black's Blues," the last song of his set in The Current studio. It's an apt line from Bejar, who performs under the moniker Destroyer. His music under the pseudonym is often characterized as a distant people watcher, a detached narrator surveying apartment tenements and sparsely populated bars for lost souls.

There's a guarded feeling to Bejar's discography and the set he performed. His vocals, which could most easily be compared to Lou Reed, don't expand much beyond the monotone delivery; they often feel like a beat poet's critique of indie rock as a concept. And that's what makes Destroyer even more interesting: sonically, the band are incredibly earnest. There are deep ties to genres that famously sport heart-sleeved shirts like classic rock, synth-pop, and prog.

But Destroyer as a project, especially on their latest record, Have We Met, aren't necessarily apathetic. There's a deep sense of empathy in Bejar's music, a tenderness that emanates from the retro-rock and club-pop textures of his backing band. And despite the dryness of his singing, Bejar communicates a great understanding of our collective sadness and alienation. It's what makes his music so relatable.

Granted, it still comes with a deep sense of irony.

When asked by host Mac Wilson why he recorded the vocals for latest LP at home, Bejar jokingly stated he had anticipated the coronavirus. "I didn't want to go outside. I knew all this was coming. I had that luxury because I knew about the virus," he deadpans. Bejar's band can be heard snickering in the background.

Have We Met, despite Bejar's insistence on it maybe not the best place to start in his discography, is a brilliant example of solidarity with the estrangement. It's cerebral, but accessible. He probably wouldn't admit it, but Bejar has created a space for us to both laugh and cry about the state of the world.

     – Caleb Brennan

More Video

Songs Performed

"The Raven"
"It Just Doesn't Happen"
"The Man in Black's Blues"
All songs from Destroyer's 2020 album, Have We Met, available on Merge Records.

Hosted by Mac Wilson
Produced by Jesse Wiza
Engineered by Eric Romani
Visuals by Helen Teague
Article by Caleb Brennan
Web production by Luke Taylor

Destroyer - Bandcamp