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Dirty Projectors preview

| June 17, 2009 | 0 Comments

Pritzker Pavilion, Chicago
Monday, June 22, 2009

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As far as indie rock goes, 2009 is the year of vindication. Brand names and especially newer artists (M.I.A., Vampire Weekend, Justice, Fleet Foxes) have had a stranglehold lately, but this year is different. Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest is widely mooted as the band’s coming out, while Phoenix have finally proven French pop can have guitars. But the MC is asking you to hold your applause until all the winners have been announced, as Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth is the biggest winner of them all.

More most of its existence, Dirty Projectors has essentially been Longstreth’s solo project, one that acquired a cultish following that wondered where his muse would take him next. While “inaccessible” is a harsh epithet for him, over roughly half-a-dozen albums he seemed more determined to elude an audience than build one (spending two records on tributes to Don Henley and Black Flag, the latter after years of not hearing any). But now, with Projectors resembling an actual band, a more conventional approach seems to take over on this spring’s Bitte Orca (Domino).

A songbird like Angel Deradoorian will do this, letting “Two Doves” perch somewhere between Judy Collins and Patrick Wolf. But Longstreth hasn’t passed the torch — he’s just sharing it. With Amber Coffman, they manage to turn Eve and Gwen Stefani’s “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” on its ear with “Stillness Is The Move.” Opener “Cannibal Resource” takes a lumbering, “Kashmir”-like groove and peppers it with panned handclaps and vocal effects that are like a chorus of forest creatures in a psychedelic Pixar featurette. Longstreth hasn’t boxed up his trademark falsetto (though it’s shelved on “Fluorescent Half Dome,” where he almost sounds like Prince) or free-association guitar leads, though these magical concoctions still might turn off long-time fans seeking something more difficult. I can’t offer much consolation, fellas: Christianity was once a cult, too.

The Sea And Cake headline.

Steve Forstneger

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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