Dirty Projectors in 2009
|Origin||Brooklyn, New York, United States|
Dirty Projectors is an American indie rock band from Brooklyn, New York, formed in 2002. The band currently consists of primary recording artist and core member David Longstreth (vocals, guitar), alongside longtime bass guitarist Nat Baldwin, Mike Daniel Johnson (drums), Maia Friedman (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Felicia Douglass (percussion, keyboards, backing vocals) and Kristin Slipp (keyboards, backing vocals).
Since its formation the band has released eight full-length studio albums, and has had numerous lineup changes, with major contributions from guitarist and vocalist Amber Coffman from 2006 to 2013. In 2018, the band released its eighth studio album, Lamp Lit Prose.
While studying at Yale, Longstreth spent part of the years 2001 and 2002 working on a number of musical ideas, together with his brother Jake. This resulted in the album, The Graceful Fallen Mango, that was released in 2002 under his own name and introduced his distinctive use of song arrangements and his combination of lo-fi and hi-fi production. With the help of Adam Forkner of Yume Bitsu, Longstreth recorded and released The Glad Fact on the Western Vinyl label under the name "The Dirty Projectors" in 2003. Two years later, the band released The Getty Address, a concept album about the musician Don Henley that features extensive orchestral and choral accompaniment. The stripped-down New Attitude EP followed in 2006 and featured inklings of the band's later vocal interplay and guitar work.
In 2007, the band released Rise Above, an album of Black Flag songs as re-imagined from memory. The album introduced the band's distinctive contrast between Longstreth's vocals and the hocketed harmonies of Amber Coffman and Susanna Waiche, who was later replaced by Angel Deradoorian. In support of the album, the band performed songs for a Take Away Show acoustic video session shot by Vincent Moon.
In April 2008, Dirty Projectors signed with Domino Records, and the label announced the release of their fifth full-length album, Bitte Orca, for June 9, 2009. Bitte Orca introduced additional backing vocalist/auxiliary percussionist Haley Dekle as a new member and bassist Nat Baldwin returning to the band (he previously was a member of Dirty Projectors from 2005 to 2006). That year, the band also collaborated with David Byrne on the song "Knotty Pine" for the compilation album Dark Was the Night produced by the Red Hot Organization. Byrne joined the Dirty Projectors onstage to perform this song, along with "Ambulance Man," another collaborative track not included on the compilation, at the "Dark Was the Night Live" concert at New York City's Radio City Music Hall on May 3, 2009.
"Stillness Is the Move" was the first single released from Bitte Orca, a West African and R&B-influenced hybrid, sung by Coffman and inspired by the Wim Wenders film Wings of Desire.Bitte Orca was met with positive reviews, including Rolling Stone magazine rating the album as number 6 on their best 25 albums of 2009.
Dirty Projectors were to release a new EP in September 2009 titled Temecula Sunrise. While the EP was never released, two of its tracks, "Ascending Melody" and "Emblem of the World", were instead offered for free download on the Dirty Projectors website in early 2010.
On May 8, 2009, members of Dirty Projectors collaborated with Björk to perform an original composition by Longstreth, written for five voices and acoustic guitar, as part of a charity concert to benefit Housing Works, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing shelter for homeless men, women, and children suffering from AIDS. The concert was held at the Housing Works Bookstore & Café in downtown New York City. On June 30, 2010, Dirty Projectors announced the release of Mount Wittenberg Orca, a digital-only EP with Björk based on the artists' collaboration.Mount Wittenberg Orca was released physically by Domino Records in 2011.
On March 30, 2012, Dirty Projectors released the first single from their sixth album, Swing Lo Magellan, "Gun Has No Trigger". The album was released on July 10 in the United States and on July 9 internationally.
On September 7, 2012, Dirty Projectors released a short film, directed by Longstreth, called "Hi Custodian".
On September 19, 2016, Dirty Projectors began releasing videos and images on social media teasing new music. After the release of tracks "Keep Your Name", "Little Bubble" and "Up in Hudson", it was announced that the seventh, self-titled album, would be released on February 24, 2017 via Domino. The album was ultimately released three days early, on February 21, 2017. It marked a return to the group's solo roots for Longstreth (who at this point relocated to Los Angeles, California to build a recording studio called "Ivo Shandor"), introduced a more electronic-based contemporary R&B sound, and addressed his breakup with Coffman, his former bandmate and girlfriend.
On July 13, 2018, Dirty Projectors released their eighth album, Lamp Lit Prose, after teasing three singles, "Break Thru", "That's a Lifestyle", and "I Feel Energy". Dirty Projectors also at this point was revived as a group, which now consists of David Longstreth (lead vocals, guitar), Maia Friedman (guitar, keyboards, backing vocals), Felicia Douglass (percussion, keyboards, backing vocals), Kristin Slipp (keyboards, backing vocals), Nat Baldwin (bass, keyboards), and Mike Daniel Johnson (drums).
While often associated with the late 2000s New York indie rock scene, critics have likened Dirty Projectors to musicians from many genres, including new wave artists David Byrne and Squeeze, pop stars Beyoncé and Mariah Carey, and progressive rock musicians Frank Zappa and Yes. In a 2009 interview, Longstreth embraced some of these comparisons but expressed a dislike for several of those musicians, commenting, "Steely Dan is a band I'm not that into," "I'm not a huge Yes guy," and "Frank Zappa I fucking hate."