How are you doing?
Not so good?
That sucks. Can I help you in any way?
Yeah. You can.
Play the new album, 1134, by Little Destroyer.
Yeah, that and time to heal are all I need right now.
Cue 1134, hit play and listen carefully. The lead song, godcomplex, starts deceptively chill, but it explodes 40 seconds into the song. That explosion rang in my ears through godcomplex and the rest of the album. This song, godcomplex, is not your typical love song. 1134 is not a trite album. Little Destroyer have hit the reset button and are announcing that they are a force to be reckoned with. They are not your typical band. They are not trite. They are Little Destroyer.
Little Destroyer is a tight-knit trio of creative powerhouses Allie Sheldan, Chris Weiss and Michael Weiss. 1134 signals a fresh start for the female-led Tiny Kingdom with Allie Sheldan providing lead vocals, bass guitar and songwriting. Supporting her are Chris Weiss playing many different instruments, and Michael Weiss on percussion instruments.
The three are industry veterans with the scars to prove it. Little Destroyer is not a stranger to the harrowing experience of being a band in a very competitive market. They have a litany of almost chances & near misses behind them. Little Destroyer needed a break the Covid pandemic provided that break and gave them two years to reassess and regroup.
The creative process looked a lot different due to the accompanying restrictions of the pandemic. “We didn’t see each other for eight months,” Chris says, “Having to be apart really defined our creative process.” Tracks were built by passing files back and forth, each band member creating at home, allowing ideas to percolate differently – adding, layering, building. “We’ve always either been in a jam space or writing room together and often with a producer in the wings.” Chris continues, “In a jam space setting, you’re very much feeding off each other, and there’s an ebb and flow and things are happening so fluidly. When you’re apart, and you’re in your own head, you’re not able to bounce it off their expression. “Howard was such a good sport,” Allie shares, “We were able to get as weird as we wanted to, and after being locked inside for months, things definitely got weird. Not only did he get it, he supported and matched it, and started coming to the table with really crazy ideas. It felt like an exciting process for not only us, but also for Howard; the synergy was palpable.”
That synergy gave rise to authenticity within this album, the closest yet to capturing the rawness and seething energy of a live Little Destroyer performance (the stuff of legend) within the studio environment. “What producer is down with you not practising your parts before you record,” Michael laughs. “It needed to be so raw, so real, so unrehearsed.” And it’s this confidence in the vision, this ability to pull off a shoot-from-the-hip kind of idea flawlessly, that makes Michael the undisputed creative wellspring of the band.
Little Destroyer has created an album that rattled my speakers and charged at me like a banshee that had patiently waited for this moment to attack. After the full 39 minutes had played out twice, I sat back and asked myself what I had heard and how it felt. I listened to the honesty of emotions. Love hurts sometimes, and we must go through the pain to find the next level of love.
Final thoughts? I need to hear this album several more times to let the nuances play out. This album has more going on than a casual listen can absorb. The lyrics are honest and insightful, often brutal and often beautiful. The music, apart from the lyrics, is a delight. This trio knows how to rock, get down and dirty and make music that demands that we pay attention. The percussion is masterful to the point of being so good I almost didn’t hear it. Michael not only held down the rhythm of the music, but he also made it a stealth bomber that you didn’t hear coming until the cymbals crash jarred us from our complacent listening.
Meanwhile, we have Chris playing blistering guitar, making my fingertips bleed just listening to it. Allie not only sings but also makes her bass lines walk up and down the fretboard till my head is spinning. 1134 is one heck of a good record. I’ll put it into the best of 2022 countdown list. Good music, thanks, Michael, Chris and Allie. I look forward to seeing you live and grabbing some vinyl from your merch table.