dirtyprojectors-letterman09.jpg

After Dirty Projectors announced last night’s Letterman appearance, emails were sent trying to guess what they’d perform. Sure there is “Stillness Is The Move,” one of the blog year’s splashier singles and a huge curveball from a project that enjoys being relentlessly shifty. But something about sidelining Longstreth with that spangly but repetitive guitar line wouldn’t sit right. Instead the band redeemed our best guess in “Cannibal Resource,” which is Dirty Projectors’ most successful attempt at reconciling their fractured guitar/rhythmic/vocal turns with something approaching broader accessibility. (As we said when discussing Bitte Orca, it’s no coincidence this is its lead track — or that the album’s first lyric is so outward looking and inviting.) The band loaded into Ed Sullivan Theatre for a soundcheck at 4:30AM (as in, AM), so we can cut some slack to the girls’ ping-ponging verse harmonies not popping like they could. (That doesn’t explain Nat’s mustache, though. Fake zing.) But did they win any new fans with their network television debut? Tough to say. It’s just nice to see a band like this on network television.

Thanks for the upload, Perv. Bitte Orca is out and it’s good.

Comments (75)
  1. When I saw it on TV last night I thought it was really bad, but hearing it how, it was better than I remembered.

  2. Green Kite  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    Yes!…a great time to bring back the Midnite Special or something…if ONE show tried to get the tone right on network TV…

  3. I thought the girls sounded ping-pongy enough. That’s was a pretty good network TV debut considering how nervous they must have been.

    • clint  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

      “considering how nervous they must have been.” ??
      This isn’t amatuer hour…no excuses.

  4. bita mia  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    decent song, but the finger-picked guitar parts were lacking in this performance.
    on a positive note, cute girls in indie rock bands are fun.

  5. JERKS  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    everyone loads in to letterman at like 4:30AM. only talentless assholes use that as an excuse for sounding bad.

  6. Big points for degree of difficulty, but yeah, they do sound a little shaky.

    Lorne Michaels and Hal Wilner produced a show called “Sunday Night,” later named “Michelob Presents Night Music,” that was hosted by David Sanborn and Jools Holland. Someone should bring back THAT show. My favorite memory of that is Sonic Youth doing “I Wanna Be a Dog” with the Indigo Girls, Daniel Lanois (on keytar), Hiram Bullock, David Sanborn and Don Fleming (on piccolo, which he tried to destroy on stage like a Pete Townshend guitar). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gY7PfaO_YZY

    Or maybe Conway Twitty doing “When You’re Cool” with the Residents’ Eyeballs dancing behind him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PK5qKhPBnlA

    • Saw the video. Nice but the vocals by Kim Gordon kinda sucked, I’d rather see Thurston Moore do it. Also the percussion section is not as memorable as in the original version. Though it does succeed in being a great clusterf***.

    • brent  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

      Shaky? The dirty projectors always sound shaky, that’s what they sound like. I thought this was actually pretty good.

  7. Chris  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    The beginning is pretty shaky, but I think they hit their groove midway through the song. That said though, it definitely lacks a lot of the punch it had on the album.

  8. Seeing them in a couple months, so I was curious to see how they’d come across live. I’ve still gotta think it will be better in person. I’m really loving this album, though, even though it took me a few months to get around to listening to it.

  9. they definitely get into the groove eventually, i was concerned for a second there, but stil righteous

  10. Am I the only one that thinks the girls in DP sound like the Sirens in that Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode with John Kruk?

  11. Ikidikid  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    Really people are slagging the musicianship. I mean seriously? This isn’t typical 3 chord indie rock. Complex fingerpicked guitar lines and vocal harmonies and non typical drum patterns. I’m not even really a fan but Seriously F*ck everyone

    • FlimFlam  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

      Anyone who wants to have serious discussions about talent need to start listening to a different genre of music. I’m here for the art.

    • Cal  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

      the fingerpicking parts aren’t that complex. learn how to play the guitar before you say things as if you know what you’re talking about.
      also, i dont know what poser rubbish you listen to but my typical indie rock isnt three chords. in any case, a three-chord song can still be more interesting than this yelpy projackoff…

      stop lying, you are a huge fan.

    • smilingsunshine  |   Posted on Sep 3rd, 2009 0

      Just because what they play is technically more difficult than a 3-chord progression doesn’t mean we have to like it. Fuck, get the fuck out of Nazi Germany already. We won the war. The bums lose, they always will.

  12. Why do the two girls have guitars? They barely strum 2 chords during the performance…

    • Just because you’re not playing for an entire song doesn’t mean the parts you do play aren’t important. Plus, they’re actually playing quite a bit (particularly Amber Coffman on the right); it’s just not as obvious as some of the stuff that Longstreth is doing.

      • um  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

        Agree about Amber–she is adding something to the performance. Angel, on the other hand, looks like she’s never held a guitar in her life. Stick to the keys, sweetie.

        • YAAHM  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

          You’re an idiot. Angel is a good guitar player. She played the (pretty damn tricky) bass parts and sang simultaneously for two years on the road in support of “Rise Above.” Sure, guitar and bass aren’t the same thing, but it’s enough to demonstrate that she isn’t the beginner you seem to think.

          • Guitar and bass are completely different instruments. You said it yourself. As a musician, she looks awkward with the guitar–even while on playing two very simple open chords. I’m not saying she’s a bad musician, just a bad guitar player.

          • Excuse me, two *power* chords, and one open chord from the looks of it. Any 14 year old with a Squier can pull that shit.

  13. i agree with the first poster and say it sounds better watching it back today,then i remember it being last night.

    ..and Angel is getting sexier by the day…humana humana.

  14. tommy  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    i got tickets to see letterman last night, almost specifically to see dirty projectors. only when i got there, i found out they tape two shows on mondays (both mondays show and fridays show). so instead of dirty projectors, i got to see neil patrick harris. is that still a win? i think so.

    only problem is, i never got to profess my love to amber. what a shame.

  15. Sammmmmy  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    Dave did not like it.

    I am a fan of the band, but I will say that without knowing the song structure beforehand, this must have sounded like trash. I don’t think this kind of a tune, or band for that matter, translates well to the Ed Sullivan Theater type of a performance.

    I know they are talented, and I think they were pretty spot on for the most part, but the structure just doesn’t bode well for them. Personally, I think they should have played Useful Chamber. I think that would have sounded much better. Plus, it is more fun, albeit a tad long for the situation.

    • I was thinking the same thing. I didn’t love this song at first, though I could kind of tell that I was going to like after I listened to it a bunch of times, if that makes any sense. It’s not instantly accessible, but it starts to come together after a number of listens.

  16. blazingtorso  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    i’ve seen the dirty p’s a few times now and have been blown away that many times. they’re so unbelievably good. if you didn’t like this performnace, see them live when they’re more comfortable and it’ll happen for you.

  17. blazingtorso  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    i’ve seen dirty p’s a few times and have been blown away that many times. if you didn’t like this performance, see them live when they’re more comfortable. this performance is still really good though.

  18. teemoo  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    Dude is seriously good at guitar.

  19. me  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    Rivers Cuomo on bass?

  20. jjazznola  |   Posted on Sep 1st, 2009 0

    I thought they sounded very good. Looking forward to finally seeing them in Nov. However not sure what some of you guys are talking about. The girls sing & play well but neither one is much to look at. I live in NYC. I guess I’m spoiled.

  21. album of the year.

  22. I think they should have gone with “No Intention” instead.

    I played the album at work to a bunch of people who had never heard them and it was the only song everyone enjoyed. To people who are already fans of the band it can seem like sort of a boring song, especially since it’s sandwiched between two monster tracks on the album, but for the uninitiated it’s probably the easiest to enjoy.

    Also, everyone I’ve played the album to hates “Stillness Is The Move”.

    Whatever.

    • Sammmmmy  |   Posted on Sep 3rd, 2009 0

      That is because Stillness is the Move sounds like a crappy Brittney Spears song. I cannot figure out the appeal.

  23. Andrew  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    It seems to me the main problem here is that the girl’s vocals are mixed WAY too low. It’s hard to have harmonies pop when they’re barely audible.

  24. Woah it’s Rivers Cuomo on the bass.

  25. Jordan  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    Rivers Cuomo on bass?

  26. Ohsofunny  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    Rivers Cuomo on bass? Rivers Cuomo on bass? Rivers Cuomo on bass? Rivers Cuomo on bass? Rivers Cuomo on bass? Rivers Cuomo on bass? Rivers Cuomo on bass? Rivers Cuomo on bass?

  27. Willie  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    It just puzzles me why they wouldn’t play Temecula Sunrise, when it’s being released as an EP later this month…

  28. Dali's Car  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    Different types of Beatles fans out there…I for one was floored the first time I heard “Baby your a Rich Man”…if radio still existed and I were a DJ I would play Squeezes “Tempted” followed by “Everyday I Write the Book”(or anything off “Get Happy!”)and then onto ‘Cannibal”…I’d urge the listener to pay attention to the bass before I started…

  29. Bootyfish  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    It’s an interesting sound, but the song goes absolutely nowhere…
    and Polvo did it better 15 years ago.

  30. Three cute girls in sun dresses and a guy who looks like he’s read too much ‘Twilight’.

  31. drake  |   Posted on Sep 2nd, 2009 0

    Reading some of these comments reminds me how much I hate stupid people evaluating Dirty Projectors’ live sound.

  32. Awfullll

  33. Thomas  |   Posted on Sep 3rd, 2009 0

    It was a real solid performance, but I don’t know how many fans they’ll gain from it. It’d be hard to understand Dirty Projectors when you don’t know what you’re getting into. When Stereogum posted the live show from SXSW it was the first I’d heard of them and I couldn’t stand it, but then I went and listened to the album and fell in love. It’s not something I’d bet most people “get” from one song on TV.

  34. easy  |   Posted on Sep 3rd, 2009 0

    Lead singer looks like every other giant douche I see in wicker park. Have fun smelling your own farts DP fans. This is not good music.

  35. dirty projectors < cute girls holding guitars

  36. I saw them open for TV on the Radio, they came off like shit. but i really like their studio work.

  37. travis  |   Posted on Sep 4th, 2009 0

    I wanted everyone else to get out of the way so I could watch the drummer.

  38. duh  |   Posted on Sep 4th, 2009 0

    ok, just to clear somethings up here–

    dave longstreth is an amazing guitar player. his guitar is just too high in the mix. at least on this youtube video. also, the girls voices are not “popping” because they are way down in the mix. on the album those vocals come in louder than the lead melody.

    just sayin’…

    • You're pretty dumb  |   Posted on Sep 5th, 2009 0

      thanks for clearing that up, mixmaster. oh- by the way…you’re totally wrong. Dave just didn’t play well here. no biggie.

      • Jayne  |   Posted on Sep 6th, 2009 0

        Dave’s guitar playing was more or less like it always is. A lot of people mistake the scratchy staccato, finger-picked style as being amateur. And he said himself he likes to approach music as an amateur, so as far as that translates to his guitar-playing, you get the sense that an amateur is playing these fantastic guitar lines because he’s just punching through them like he doesn’t give a fuck.

        It’s really just him ripping off West-African guitar sounds and technique. He played brilliantly here as he always does. I applaud him for not succumbing to the century-old notion that you need a bassy, mellow, flowing guitar sound. I love hearing him miss notes so that they come off just as tight plucking sounds. Point is it’s obviously not a result of poor technique that anything happens on his guitar, but a result of sort of surrendering to and embracing anything that goes wrong with it.

        • Bjork  |   Posted on Sep 6th, 2009 0

          This comment is pretentious as balls, and this is coming from a Dirty Projectors fan.

          • Jayne  |   Posted on Sep 6th, 2009 0

            OK? So do you agree or disagree with my point?

            Can’t we have a discussion without attacking the way people state their view?

            Oh, and here’s an interesting fact: If you read music blogs, there’s a 95% chance you don’t know what the word “pretentious” means, although you’ll still use it as an all-encompassing word for the emotion you get when people use words/sentences you don’t use all the time.

          • tesla  |   Posted on Sep 7th, 2009 0

            aaaahhhhh you have no idea of the irony!!!

          • qwert-meister  |   Posted on Sep 7th, 2009 0

            there’s a difference between diction and misuse of a word.

  39. stan  |   Posted on Sep 6th, 2009 0

    the girls vocals are definitely too low.

  40. that was just sloppy sounding.

  41. krangsquared  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 0

    THIS is supposed to be “something approaching broader accessibility”? It’s the opening track of their album – THIS is how you draw people into your music? Sheeeeyeeeet. Just because it’s different doesn’t mean it’s any good. It’s funny reading all these die hard fans trying to rationalise and explain away such a woeful performance. Or maybe it’s a good performance of a woeful song. Whatever.

    But on the plus side – those girls are cute. Especially the rightmost one. Bring herrr tooo meeee… I’m not picky.

    And holy shit, Jayne’s comments about the dude’s guitar playing would have to be the wankiest I have read for the year. Talk about the dumb rationalising the shitty. “I love hearing him miss notes” — hahahahahahaha… why don’t you just go to any beginners guitar class if that’s all you want? As for the “West African” reference, I suggest other readers have a listen to Graceland – listen to the guitar on “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” for an idea of how this style sounds when played with skill and emotion, and not just “indie boy don’t give a fuck”-ness.

    • kf  |   Posted on Sep 9th, 2009 0

      Read: Please compare this Ivy League WASP to this other one for an example of how to play West African guitar music.

      ahaha

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