Live: Dirty Projectors Celebrate New Sonic Territories At Prospect Park

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Dirty Projectors w/Wye Oak, Purity Ring
Celebrate Brooklyn! Prospect Park Bandshell
Tuesday, July 10

Better than: An album listening party.

There's a general struggle for artists with new records when playing a live show, especially before or on the day of the album release. In today's age of leaks and early preview streams, bands have to assume that some people will hear their newest release before coming to see them live. Similarly, they have to appreciate the fact that not everyone will be super familiar with their new material, and pepper in some old classics. Finding that balance can be tricky and it can take bands a couple of album cycles to get it right so that everyone has a great time with songs they love and songs that they will grow to embrace.

Or... you could go the Dirty Projectors route and just play your entire new album (minus one song) and pepper in only your most popular old cuts. At last night's Prospect Park Bandshell show, this strategy paid off royally for one very key reason: the band's newest album, Swing Lo Magellan, is their best release front-to-back, balancing their catchiest tracks with the type of tricky material that the band is known for (at least by those who listened to Bitte Orca past "Stillness is the Move"). Also helping matters is that the band is tight live; there was not a missed moment or note, and lead singer/mastermind Dave Longstreth kept the pace moving with some light banter. It left a lot of room in the brisk 16-song set (how often do you get to say that?) for tracks to move around as necessary.

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Just Like Being There: The Economics Of Livestreaming Concerts

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Will you be watching?
Tonight, at 10 P.M., you can see the Dirty Projectors live. They're playing here in town, in support of their just-released new album, Swing Lo Magellan, at Music Hall of Williamsburg. If you didn't get a ticket, or just don't feel like leaving your apartment, you can cruise over to the YouTube home of local internet conglomerate the Bowery Presents (owners of The Bowery Ballroom, the forthcoming Rough Trade Booklyn, and The Music Hall of Williamsburg) and watch the whole thing as it happens, online, broadcast in pretty stunning HD. You'll catch every bit of banter, every wrong note, every silly cover they might throw in near the end, and you'll be seeing it as it happens. It will be just like being there. Right?


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CMJ Day Two: Phoenix! With Daft Punk! At Madison Square Garden! Holy Shit!

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Madison Square Garden
Wednesday, October 20

Better Than: Breathing normally

This year, the biggest show of CMJ had the biggest secret to keep.

I postulated recently -- maybe facetiously -- that this MSG bill fulfilled every part of the psyche. Well, the rampant rumors of a Secret Special Guest Wednesday evening similarly tested two broader outlooks: The pessimists lining the dank Lower East Side caves of the afternoon CMJ showcases refused to believe the whispers, rolling their eyes as they swilled their Rolling Rocks (that beer is ubiquitous this week), while optimists such as myself shrieked at the news, were threatened with physical harm if we gossiped beyond our present media-savvy circles (which I did anyway, vastly), and ultimately harangued and schemed our way into the packed arena, scalping comically high-up nosebleed seats if need be.

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Do Yourself a Favor: Dirty Projectors' Bassist Nat Baldwin Tonight For Free at Zebulon

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Nat Baldwin's most visible credit at the moment may be his longstanding affiliation with Dirty Projectors. But the classically trained bassist has been sawing away at bull-fiddle tummies for far longer than Dave Longstreth's been serenading whales. Over the years, the New Hampshire native has appeared on the Department of Eagles' In Ear Park, played casually with the likes of Deer Tick's John MacCauley and slowcore collective Tiger Saw, and far more significantly, released one of 2008's best and most underappreciared records, the chillingly intimate full-length Most Valuable Player. Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor produced that release, a bed record of 12-string panic attacks and mellifluous longings that yours truly once admitted "makes me want to fucking cry and I don't fucking cry." Ahem.

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Dave Longstreth Finally Vents His Unrelenting Whale Obsession Through An Album With Bjork

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Mount Wittenberg Orca
In the words of the Dirty Projectors' Dave Longstreth himself: "Don't listen on those tiny stereo speakers -- put in on the stereo and blast dat shiiiiiiiiiiii!!"

Aside from commanding us to "blast dat shiiii," bet you never thought Longstreth would be singing (presumably) the vocal line of a daddy whale on a new album called Mount Wittenberg Orca. As it's been explained, Stereogum's Brandon Stosuy facilitated the Bjork/Dirty Projectors collaboration after calling upon their services for that Housing Works benefit concert last year. Things went from Bjork asking "What should we do?" to Longstreth responding "I guess I'd really love to write a bunch of new songs for us to sing together," and next thing you know, Bjork has "agreed to sing the part of the mom whale." Amber, Angel, and Haley, the harmonic sirens of the Dirty Projectors, are assuming the roles of the kid whales. This sounds exactly like you'd imagine.

The album's single, "All We Are," below:

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The Dirty Projectors (And Björk!) Are Up To Something, And Here Is (Oblique) Proof

Perhaps today in your Internet travels you will observe a few short, surrealist videos such as the one above, abstractly depicting some sort of Björk/Dirty Projectors project, putatively titled Mount Wittenberg Orca. A date, too: June 30. Huh. No idea what this could be about. Absolutely none.

Photos: Rites of Spring, A DJ Benefit For Haiti Featuring Alex Ross, Björk, Dave Longstreth, Tyondai Braxton, and Brandon Stosuy

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Björk, Brandon Stosuy, and the Dirty Projectors's Amber Coffman. All photos by Sam Horine.
We won't pretend to be remotely objective about Rites of Spring, last night's DJ benefit for Haiti organized by our pal Brandon Stosuy and featuring the diverse yet weirdly complementary talents of the New Yorker's Alex Ross (whose charming setlist is already up on his blog), Björk, the Dirty Projectors's Dave Longstreth and Amber Coffman, and Battles's Tyondai Braxton. Suffice to say it was 100 degrees inside Bushwick's Above the Auto Parts Store, a complicated "Bieber Detonation" was assayed (as in: the 11/4 bar from the Rite + Bieber's "Baby" + Lachenmann + Non's "Fire in the Organism" + Cage's Williams Mix), and Stosuy's late-stage, all black metal set (plus Aaliyah!) was greeted like the blessing of a god. Voice photographer Sam Horine was on hand to capture the madness.

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More Details on Rites of Spring: A Benefit For Haiti

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As promised, writer/curator/good human Brandon Stosuy has just posted the rest of the details pertaining to the May 2nd "Rites of Spring" benefit he organized with Björk, Alex Ross, Dave Longstreth, and Tyondai Braxton. Tickets go on sale next Tuesday at Brooklyn's Record Grouch/Old Made Vintage; the beneficiary of your $15 will be Partners in Health, whose Stand With Haiti Fund three-year plan is just getting underway. "We'll probably go until people stop moving," Stosuy writes at Stereogum. "Even though it it's a Sunday. Think of it as a pre-Cinco de Mayo party."

Announcing "Rites Of Spring," a DJ Benefit for Haiti Featuring Alex Ross, Björk, the Dirty Projector's Dave Longstreth, Tyondai Braxton, and Brandon Stosuy

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Earlier this morning, the New Yorker's Alex Ross posted the Seldon Hunt-designed flyer for "Rites of Spring," the May 2nd benefit for Haiti organized by SOTC buddy Brandon Stosuy, and featuring Björk, the Dirty Projector's Dave Longstreth, and Battles's Tyondai Braxton in the humble confines of Bushwick's Above the Autoparts Store. As Ross writes, "don't be surprised if you hear some combination of Thai soul, doom metal, Justin Bieber, and, of course, nude Stravinsky"--a fair description, come to think of it, of the Housing Works Dirty Projectors benefit afterparty Björk, Longstreth, and Stosuy DJ'd last summer. Or of the session in the bookstore Ross, Stosuy, and Björk soundtracked last spring. Word is this one will entail lots of bonkers multiple DJ overlapping and awkward dancing. Follow Brandon on Twitter for details; it's a benefit, but tickets are cheap--just $15. Meanwhile, $1000 says that Stosuy will play R. Kelly at least five times, which is sort of worth the price of admission all on its own.

"Stoked To See This New Indie Rock Movie from the Director of Training Day"

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LULZ. [To the Maxx via Heems]


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