If you haven’t gathered as much from the rash of think-pieces and tributes (we suggest you read these instead), tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. While the many words you may read in the next few weeks about Cobain’s legacy demonstrate his importance to generations of listeners (and music journalists), it’s also pretty clear that Cobain and Nirvana are a heavy influence on the bands that followed in their footsteps — and even some of their contemporaries and predecessors. It’s a ballsy move to cover a classic Nirvana song, and there have been some famous artists who have tackled the obvious ones (particularly Tori Amos and Patti Smith, who have both recorded famous version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). There are also, however, plenty of musicians who came before and after Kurt Cobain who have successfully put their own spin on his words. … Read More
We’ve teamed up with Microsoft Windows to present the Flavorpill Sanctuary in Austin this year, March 8-12. The Sanctuary at #FEED at the AMOA-Arthouse features Beats & Bytes dance parties with Dirty Projectors (DJ set), Reggie Watts, Neon Indian (DJ set), Classixx, and Juan MacLean (DJ set) all spinning (and touching, thanks to… Read More
Despite the pervasive assumption that Occupy Wall Street is defunct or irrelevant, in the weeks since Hurricane Sandy struck, the movement has mobilized countless volunteers to fill the gaps left by government agencies and larger humanitarian organizations. Now, in order to sustain its efforts, Occupy Sandy has announced a benefit concert… Read More
It’s Friday, and we’re back with another installment of our regular roundup of downloadable MP3 goodness from around the web. This week, we get very excited about a taste of the new Swans album, even if it’s only a truncated edit of a truly epic-sounding track. There’s also a non-album Dirty Projectors track, Thurston Moore’s new band, new work from Crystal Castles and The Mountain Goats, suitably whacked-out hip hop from Flying Lotus and Raekwon, and a suite of Scott Walker remixes. In other words, there’s plenty of interesting sounds awaiting you after the jump, and since they won’t cost a penny or land you an RIAA lawsuit, as your attorneys we advise you to start downloading immediately. … Read More
Dirty Projectors are the best kind of experimental rock band — the kind that’s constantly growing and changing, but always with spectacular results and never in quite the way you might have predicted. Their sixth album, Swing Lo Magellan, is the culmination of a second act that began with 2006′s New Attitude EP, when frontman and songwriter David Longstreth first explored African- and South American-inspired rhythms and multi-layered vocal harmonies.
The record that followed, 2007′s Rise Above, seemed at the time like a strange experiment: Longstreth (who already had a concept album about Don Henley under his belt) attempted to reconstruct Black Flag’s entire 1981 album, Damaged, from memory, despite not having heard it for 15 years. But when Dirty Projectors’ massively popular, critically worshiped Bitte Orca appeared two years later, it became clear that along with being an exercise in memory and influence and reinterpretation, Rise Above was an opportunity for Longstreth to let content take a back seat to form, recruiting a trio of female vocalists and sculpting their voices to create dramatic textures. Bitte Orca’s innovation was bringing that sound, pioneered on New Attitude, to maturity — blowing it up to stadium-pop proportions, polishing its expansive surface to gleaming perfection, and pairing it with lyrics that complemented the music’s exuberance (“Yeah, I wanna / Remake the horizon”) and transcendence (“Isn’t life under the sun just a crazy, crazy, crazy dream? / Isn’t life just a mirage of the world before the world?”).
In an interview around the time of Bitte Orca’s release, Longstreth told me, “I like to not do what I did immediately before.” But before I heard Swing Lo Magellan, it was difficult to imagine how Dirty Projectors could move forward with a style they had already perfected. The answer, it turns out, was to embrace the rough and weird moments that can make imperfect music so much more compelling. … Read More
It’s Dirty Projectors day! We’ve been looking forward to Swing Lo Magellan for months, and now it’s finally out. While we’ll be catching the band headlining an excellent bill that also includes Wye Oak and Purity Ring in Prospect Park tonight, other Brooklynites got a preview of the album on Monday at Music Hall of Williamsburg. But if you’re not in New York, don’t worry — The Bowery Presents has posted all 73 minutes of last night’s show on YouTube, with good-quality audio and video that puts your standard covert cellphone concert recording to shame. There’s one catch, though: the performance will only be streaming until 9 a.m. tomorrow, July 11th. So watch it while you can, after the jump. … Read More
You may or may not have seen that new show called Opening Act last night, wherein a team of “industry judges” – viz. Mary J Blige, Olivia Lee, and that unpleasant English guy from Popstars and So You Think You Can Dance – judge various hapless bands for the right to support huge stars like, um, LMFAO or Jason Mrazzzzzzzzzzz. Still, the show did get us thinking about how plenty of great bands have started their careers by playing some support slots that seem hilarious in retrospect, from Radiohead opening for Alanis Morrissette to Jimi Hendrix opening for the Monkees. And that, in turn, got us thinking about support slots we’d love to see some of our favorite bands play. In view of this, we thought we’d amuse ourselves by looking at some dream hypothetical line-ups, featuring some big-name (or biggish-name, at least) headline acts, past and present, along with the indie bands we’d love to have seen open for them. … Read More
Summer is in full swing, and if you haven’t melted yet, you’re probably looking forward to getting hold of some of the surfeit of new music that’s being released over the next month. In all honesty, July is shaping up as something of a strange month for music — lots of album releases, but not a whole heap of really, really exciting ones. But happily, we’re here to help — we’ve sorted the wheat from the chaff, the diamonds from the rough, the sheep from the goats, and all that. And so after the jump we’ve selected what we reckon are the 10 compulsory releases to hear this month, along with a suitably pithy roundup of everything else out there. Let us know what you love/hate/reckon we missed. … Read More
It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another edition of our regular start-of-the-week stream-a-thon, wherein we scour the Internet for worthy and/or noteworthy albums that are streaming this week at absolutely no cost. Today, along with the rest of the Internet, we get all excited about the arrival of the new Dirty Projectors record. Elsewhere, there’s more kosmische garage jamming from Beak>, a trip back to the ’80s (again) with Twin Shadow, the return of Maximo Park, and some fine Ethio-jazz fusion from Debo Band. It’s all awaiting you after the jump, so click through and get a piece of the action! … Read More