Tag Archives: Merge Records

Ep. #266: William Tyler

William Tyler is a talented musician based in Nashville, Tennessee. Known for his work in the bands Lambchop and Silver Jews, Tyler is also an accomplished solo artist and has released four critically-acclaimed albums. His latest is a gorgeous, instrumental record called Modern Country, which is steeped in familiar folk and rock structures but is also eerily expansive and hypnotic. Modern Country is out now via Merge Records and Tyler is playing a number of shows over the next few months, most of which find him opening for the Chicago band Wilco. Here, Tyler and I discuss how things are going in Nashville, the Country Music Association Festival and Bonnaroo, living in Nashville most of your life, Nash Vegas and what happens when your city grows, changes and WXNA, the world’s most talented music city, Harmony Korine is taking his talents to south beach, auditioning for Harmony and Budweiser, Dave Cloud and the Springwater and the Gospel of Power and losing local luminaries, getting older and the song “I’m Gonna Live Forever (If it Kills Me),” the notion behind Modern Country and its relation to America’s current political climate, media mediation and misinformation about different parts of the country you live in, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, the illegal and fraudulent conduct of the Democratic National Party, the 2000 Presidential election, Hill feeling the Bern, what Trump is stirring up and people comparing him to Hitler, his platform as it relates to the Republican party’s platform, hatred and racism, projecting a landslide loss, the stigma of intellectualism and the rise of reality TV, hope and faith in the American people, Trump’s imperviousness to criticism, the RNC as imagined by Hunter S. Thompson and Fellini, conveying political thoughts and perspectives via instrumental music, musical intent, receiving external inspiration, the Blind Pig in Ann Arbor and Silver Jews and the Mountain Goats, working with David Berman, lyrics, Wooden Wand, John Darnielle, relating as much to mood as words in lyrics, modernism and archaism, emoji’s and hieroglyphs, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, less talk more rock, adapting to different situations, playing in bands and also not, jamming, the Grateful Dead, Glenn Kotche and Darin Gray, Glenn Jones and Jim O’Rourke and Sir Richard Bishop and John Fahey, O’Rourke deserves more credit, O’Rourke interviews and music recommendations, Glenn and Darin and Insignificance, coming to Canada, touring woes, quiet storm psychedelia, those Silver Jews rumours, pleading with David Berman to write again, the song “I’m Gonna Live Forever (If it Kills Me),” and that was it.

Related links: williamtyler.net mergerecords.com vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #215: Destroyer

Destroyer is the music-making moniker of Dan Bejar, a very gifted lyricist and musician who originally hails from Vancouver, British Columbia. He has been creating an idiosyncratic kind of pop music as Destroyer for almost 20 years and can also claim membership in bands like the New Pornographers, Swan Lake, and Hello, Blue Roses among others. His latest work as Destroyer is a startlingly great new album called Poison Season, it’s out now via Merge Records, and has prompted him to tour the world over the next few months, including Canadian stops in Toronto at the Danforth Music Hall on September 30 and in Montreal at Theatre Fairmount on October 1. Here, Dan and I discuss sitting in a park in Vancouver, gearing up for tour, inspiration from the road, fiction and film, plays and theatricality, American songwriting and show tunes, whether pop or rock music is inherently theatrical, banal music, writing and performing, Bruce Springsteen and/or Meat Loaf, things Springsteen likes, Joseph Shabason’s sexy sax, Dan’s history with musicals, surreal Indian movies, how Poison Season is a reflection of his true interests, Brecht’s Threepenny Opera and “Mack the Knife,” “I Loves You Porgy,” singing other people’s other songs, Five Spanish Songs, the song “Forces From Above,” salsa disco, bringing the string sections to life, word countometre and sparse vocals, Poison Season is a weird, emotional roller coaster, Times Square as a place and a muse, a second look, evolution and iterations, Taxi Driver, thinking about New York, “Times Square” as an anchor notion on Poison Season, the song “Bangkok,” and scene.

Related links: mergerecords.com/destroyer vishkhanna.com

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Ep. #173: Will Butler

Will Butler is an American musician whom many people assume is Canadian because he’s a member of the Montreal band Arcade Fire. On his first solo album, the multi-instrumentalist delves deep into American songwriting traditions, crafting these rousing pop and rock blasts that are incisive and more revealing with each listen. They are joyous and angry and inspire listeners to question what they’re hearing, both on this record and anywhere else. The new album is called Policy, it’s out now via Merge Records, and Butler and his band have been hitting the road hard, including stops at the Horseshoe Tavern on March 27, and two nights at Montreal’s Bar le Ritz PDB on March 28 and 29. Here, Will and I discuss the ocean near Biloxi, Mississippi, how long these songs have existed, whether any of them might have made it onto an Arcade Fire record, bouncing these song ideas off of other people, the American tone of Policy, political music, John Lennon and Plastic Ono Band and the Breeders, his plans, Arcade Fire plans, and then we finish what we started.

Related links: butlerwills.com vishkhanna.com

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