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Show Review: The Dirty Projectors

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“The Dirty Projectors”.

The Wiltern. Los Angeles, California, Friday, September 24th.

On the internet, people argue about the Dirty Projectors. This is what happens when a band gets rave reviews by the divisive publication which goes by the name of Pitchfork Media. In the Youtube comments for a posting of the DP song “Temecula Sunrise”, a song the band performed this Saturday, people express their conflicting assessments of the band’s music.

“fuck the lyrics, there prett stupid. BUT he’s singin and playing at the same time and the guitar part is pretty brilliant. he octive displaces the melody in the intro and changes time signatures every other fuckin bar. just give it a second try.”

“My mind races when I listen to this band. Never know what to expect. The changes are perfect.

This is the type of music I want to make. Most wouldn’t dare to listen.

I will.”

“Entirely too dissonant and not in a good way. I was not expecting this after listening to Two Doves. I’ll move on to the next song as my brain is currently being mercilessly jarred. Gray matter on the rocks, shaken not stirred.”

People make much of classically educated Dave Longstreth, the guitarist-vocalist who leads the band and composes (and composes is exactly the right word) their material. The music is cerebral, highly structured, complex, and huge. While I listened to the band do their thing at the Wiltern, I wondered to myself how the music (which was new to me) could be described in terms of genre; I kept coming back to totally strange combinations. Operatic bluegrass madrigal? Dislodged peg-leg grooves heaped almost—but not quite—beyond legibility? Classical (and sometimes, downright archaic) compositional techniques for vocal right alongside Magic Band drumming and Crazy Horse guitar solos? Actually, it’s all of this, but up to 11.

How would I recommend this band to others? It’s complicated. It’s easy to appreciate the virtuostic talents of Mastermind Longstreth. Personally, I feel this music is maybe too disjointed and just a little too cute for me to lose myself in. However, the band also has a very devoted following  and I suspect this is because of the way in which the music is fearless—not in the punk rock sense—but in a positive, intellectual, upbeat way. Interesting yet digestible music for the gentle among us.  The live performances add a lot of rough, exuberant energy to the songs, the band is tight and professional, and the fans are enthusiastic, so if the music pushes your buttons, I’d recommend you check them out live.

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