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Good songwriters flock to each other. One generation inspires the next. While many of today’s musicians can claim Bob Dylan as an influence, only Dave Longstreth and the other members of Dirty Projectors are wearing that loving allegiance so proudly and boldly on their sleeves. The band has covered Dylan multiple times– and not just in raucous live settings but in studios, too. (And once for Levi’s.)
On the new Bitte Orca extended release the somewhat obscure Dylan tune “As I Went Out One Morning,” which Dylan only performed live once, is featured. It’s a perfect DP’s cover because they truly make it their own, which actually isn’t too hard at this point because the vocals from the sirens in the band are so firmly entrenched in any indie fans head as typical Dirty Projectors. Those voices are unmistakeable.
This coupling of contemporary and ancient genius is, for many, a match made in heaven. Bob Projectors. Dirty Dylan.
Dirty Projectors: As I Went Out One Morning (Bob Dylan cover) (STREAMING ONLY, I SAW ONE SITE HAD TO TAKE IT DOWN PER DOMINO’S REQUEST)
Dirty Projectors: Dark Eyes (Bob Dylan cover)
Happy Birthday at Brooklyn Bowl, 9
Altar (Sunn O))) and Boris), Sunn O))), Boris, BXI (Boris & Ian Astbury), The Sweet Hearafter at Masonic Temple, 7ish
Liquor Store, Heavy Cream, Grooms, Hunters at Death by Audio, 8ish
La Big Vic, Devin, Gary & Ross, Burning Star Core at Shea Stadium, 8ish
Golden Triangle, Wizzard Sleeve, Daily Void, Pop. 1280 at Monster Island Basement, 8
Fucked Up, Cloud Nothings at Maxwell’s, 8ish
Balmorhea, Noveller, Julianna Barwick at Littlefield, 8ish
Total Slacker, Christmas, Diehard, Dutch Treat, Widowspeak at Shea Stadium, 8ish
Twin Sister, Holiday Shores, Distractions, Ava Luna at Bruar Falls, 8ish
The Soft Pack, Beach Fossils, Sundelles at Bowery Ballroom, 8ish (and Saturday with Oberhofer and Sundelles)
Thomas Function, PC Worship, Knight School, Sweet Bulbs at Monster Island Basement, 8
Dirty Projectors at Terminal 5, 8ish
Excepter, Zs, Justice Yeldham, Solypis, Rust Worship at Silent Barn, 8ish
Todd P’s Unamplified, Acoustic “BBQ” at Beach 169 (Jacob Riis Park) featuring Frankie and the Outs, Alex Bleeker and the Freaks, Cassie Ramone, La Big Vic, Run DMT, Dream Diary, Aa, Tom van Buskirk from Javelin and more! NOON.
Roberta’s Block Party in Bushwick, featuring Team Robespierre, Electric Tickle Machine, Dinowalrus, Shark?, Phone Tag, Sweet Bulbs, The Netherlands, Hunters, 10 AM
Penguin Prison, Gobble Gobble, Elite Gymnastics, Gold Zebra at Glasslands, 8:30ish
Deakin (of Animal Collective), Prince Rama, Silk Flowers, Amen Dunes at Glasslands, 8:30
Mount Wittenberg Orca has come out at a time when people need, more than anything, something real and truthful and topical. Dave Longstreth likely didn’t plan for the album to drop during the worst environmental crisis this country’s ever seen, but it did.
The collaborative project between Dirty Projectors and Bjork is a lesson in communication. The entire EP pulsates with emotional longing and a desire to understand and be connected to others. You can feel it in the singing. Subjects like whale mothers and swimming through the ocean can have that affect.
And that’s where the genius of this album lies. Through instrumentation, the listener is forced into confronting the sad reality mankind is in the midst of. This is music that is transcendent but not in the typical sense. It forces you to stay here, in this realm, this zone, this space that we all share, and think about what is right in front of all of us.
The music is basically what you’d imagine from this team. Bjork croons in her sing-song jazzy way, and the sirens of Dirty Projectors hocket all over the tracks. Listen to “When the World Comes to an End” and “Beautiful Mother” and focus on each singer’s voice one at a time. You will get lost, guaranteed.
All of Mount Wittenberg Orca is jazzy. Drummer Brian McComber and bassist Nat Baldwin sync together to support the vocalists– they provide the Orca’s strong backbone. Lightly hit cymbals and upright bass make for a remarkably thick sound, despite how stripped-down it is.
The addition of Bjork to the Dirty Projectors mix is interestingly clean and unfussy. She sounds like she could have been there all along. She leads Amber Coffman, Angel Deradoorian and Haley Dekle but never towers over them. In fact, it can be argued that the three DP’s singers deliver more of a punch that she does on this album. Bjork doesn’t take part in the collaborative three-part harmonies, she does her own thing. Even Longstreth takes a harmonizing, back-seat role, (on “Beautiful Mother.”)
The old adage is true. BE HERE NOW.
Stream “All We Are” and buy the album. All proceeds go to National Geographic Society Ocean Preservation.
Don’t think I could be any more excited about this collaboration.
Dirty Projectors is the best band of the “aughts.”
Bjork is a constant source of inspiration and light. (Oh, and she wrote “Big Time Sensuality,” one of the best songs of all time.)
Proceeds from “Mount Wittenberg Orca” go to National Geographic.**
Dave Longstreth has said the piece “is about a day three weeks ago that Amber Coffman was in Northern California watching whales from a mountain called Mount Wittenberg. The six songs are imagining the moment Amber saw this whale, and the whale saw her.” He also claims it’s “definitely like Bitte Orca’s younger, hotter sister.” Needles to say, this should be one of the most intriguing releases of 2010.
Mount Wittenberg Orca is a 20-minute, seven-track piece was written by DP leader Dave Longstreth. It will be self-released digitally on June 30.
**This project is also not funded by Converse/Red Bull/ Southern Comfort/ etc. This point, though close to completely untenable, is important to me.
Gorgeous and beautiful and enchanting.
Dirty Projectors is a great band. It’s not often, at all, that a band will put out an album where every single song is good, especially these days. I can only really say that for a handful of bands of the past few years… Bitte Orca pretty much ruled my life for maybe, 5 months.
“Stillness is the Move” was the jam of last summer, and while Lucky Dragons‘ remix of it is certainly not a “summer jam” this cover is totally worth getting lost in. Amber’s voice hangs like a veil over this jittery song, it’s fascinatingly eerie. In a way, this song couples the alterna-R&B of the Dirty Ps song and the more straight forward R&B of the Solange Knowles version. Genius re-working.
There’s a little bit of vintage High Places here: shakers, jingly jingles, high pitched and staccato rhythms. Very nice.
The single is coming out with the original “Stillness Is the Move” on the A-side on Domino in the UK.
Lucky Dragons: Stillness Is the Move (remix)
Dirty Projectors never stop. Here’s another new one from the band that never seems to tire, and that is always sounding fresh. Stereogum got this from someone who saw the band play recently on the Cape. Awesome.
Pikelet is Melbourne, Australia’s Evelyn Morris. A pikelet is what Australians call small pancakes.
“The Weakest Link” shimmers with electronic notes and is accented by the high squeals of Morris. This is actually an odd song. At points it verges on being just too cute, too saccharine, but then it circles back with a slightly more bitter taste. Sometimes songs create conundrums in your head. This is one of those songs.
Morris used to play drums in hardcore bands. Let that affect your listening.
She has certainly surrounded herself with an impressive pedigree of musicians. She has toured with Lucky Dragons, Ruby Suns, Devendra Banhart and Tiny Vipers, and will be opening for Dirty Projectors, handpicked by them.
“The Weakest Link” is off the recently released Stem, on Chapter Music. Pick it up.
Pikelet: The Weakest Link
There’s a new DP’s song, the b-side of the Ascending Melody 7″. You can buy it or download both songs over at DirtyProjectors.net. Stream it below.
Both “Emblem of the World” and “Ascending Melody” are beautiful examples of the textured and intricate Dirty Projectors. Both rely heavily on female vocal harmonies and simple yet fierce guitar lines. The b-side, however, features drummer Brian McComber’s distinct drum roll that appears like thunder, fast and furious.
“I believe in what I see in you.”
What a lyric. Most DPs seem to be like this one these days, positive and blissfully hopeful.
Will they ever do wrong?
This year saw the rise of “chillwave,” throwback beach songs filtered through haze and electronic dance pop. Full on guitar bands were pretty non-existent and everyone seems to be drugging the hell out of their sound. Cacophony abounds. Here are my favorite tracks of the year…these aren’t any any particular order, per se. And it was really hard to figure out which were the best…
Hopefully, there will be a best albums of the year post coming soon… but in all honesty, great FULL albums are few and far between these days. For all the reasons you can imagine.
Dirty Projectors “Useful Chamber”
“Useful Chamber” starts with a flat and droned out electronic beat, and synths, then veers into an acoustic guitar picked transition. It’s back to the synths and drones, female vocals that imitate the synths, and back to acoustic picking. And it builds and builds and then cuts to just a drum beat. Longstreth sings a few lines in a flat tone and then boom! The song gets louder, a guitar squeals and there’s a melody that brings you through all the glorious muck. Another cut. This time, the normally angelic vocals of Angel Deradoorian, Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle come in, harshly. They turn pretty, miraculously.
In perfect call and response, Longstreth’s wavering vocals return.
I’m caught up in a storm
That I need no shelter from
He needs no shelter because even though he’s in a storm, it’s not scary, not uncomfortable. It’s just strange and complicated. And you won’t believe this. The song cuts out again and we’re onto the third distinctly different section. To conclude, weave the three sections together. (Taken from my review of Bitte Orca.)
Dirty Projectors: Useful Chamber
Mountain Man “Animal Tracks”
I think i’ve said enough about this song by now. These girls make me feel completely intoxicated, even when i’ve injested nothing. This is music that sounds modern and ancient at the same time.
Mountain Man: Animal Tracks
Real Estate “Fake Blues”
Perfect pop from New Jersey that sounds like The Allman Brothers, (I just figured that out yesterday, how right is that?). Seriously though, it’s been a long time since a band made music that is so easy to listen to, yet so rich with innuendo, love and devotion.
Real Estate: Fake Blues
Discovery “Osaka Loop Line”
This album came out of nowhere, and took my head by storm. This is definitely the best track off of it, and the patterns, time changes and jagged sounds will leave you spinning.
Discovery: Osaka Loop Line
Tanlines is Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm- and their music is nothing short of a cocktail, part full-time high, part energy drink. This is the stuff made for life’s fun moments. “Bejan” is particularly good if you’re at the gym and you really don’t want to be there. In other words, these beats can make anything fun.
Ecstatic Sunshine “Turned On”
Ecstatic Sunshine was the best electronic/rock band of the ’08s and haven’t gotten too much love lately… but this track “Turned On” is hypnotic in the best of ways. It was inspired by The Who’s “Baba O’Reilly” too, which is awesome.
Ecstatic Sunshine: Turned On
Matt Mondanile could be the musician of the year. He has his guitar licks down pact, as evidenced by his work in Real Estate. He adds so much richness you think you might have a heart attack. In Ducktails, Mondanile weaves tapestries of sound that you can literally lose your mind trying to find your way out of it.