Local Wire

Destroyer @ Crescent Ballroom

It's a whole two minutes before the airy New Age flutes break the waves of ambient, billowy synth sounds and plucked nylon-string acoustic guitar that opens "Suicide Demo for Kara Walker" from Canadian art-rock crew Destroyer's 2011 release, Kaputt. Then the drums — as canned and processed as the synth — and singer/songwriter Dan Bejar's signature voice. You won't be faulted for imagining the whole thing — vaguely reminiscent of New Order scoring a softcore skinflick — as some sort of joke. And Bejar really doesn't really care if you do. "Maybe because I don't play an instrument all that well, I'm not really married to a discussion of what sounds are authentic and which ones are real or human or vital," Bejar says, chewing his words the same way he does on record, where he spits out lines about a "charming little Negress" and "what passes for love these days." Kaputt is nearly two years old — ancient by ever-moving blog-clicker standards, but it's a testament to Bejar's singular perspective, the blending of slick studio trickery as naked and brazen as the saxophone and lite-jazz bass that close out "Suicide Demo." "I think I like the discussion of authenticity in the sense of intention and melodic line and phrasing," Bejar says. "The nuts and bolts of music — not just a rote discussion of the ambiance and gestures of a record. The question [isn't about specific sounds so much as] 'Why are you doing this? Why are you here?' That's where the discussion should lie. Not what sounds are considered kosher and what aren't, but 'What are you saying in this song of yours?' What does it aspire to or are presenting?"

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.