Progress Report

Progress Report: Dirty Projectors

NAME: Dirty Projectors
PROGRESS REPORT: Mixing Dirty Projectors’ sixth studio LP, recorded at the Rare Book Room in Brooklyn, NY and in Portland, OR

“The album is related to Plaxico Burress,” says Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth. It sounds like bullshit, especially since Longstreth finished recording the LP in September, two months before Burress let a gun go off in his pants. But Longstreth’s previous releases had unusual themes.

2007’s Rise Above was a remembered re-interpretation of Black Flag’s Damaged, and 2005’s Getty Address was a fractured epic about September 11, the Aztecs, and Don Henley. So another complex saga based around the rise and fall of the Giants wide receiver is within the realm of possibility — except this LP sounds like it’s less dense than the rest of Longstreth’s discography. “We tried to make it as simple and transparent as possible,” says Longstreth. “It consists of several beautiful, simple songs, one after another. Sort of like a series of line drawings.” Longstreth kept his band consistent and simple. Members Angel Deradoorian, Amber Coffman, and Brian McOmber are the album’s only players, and Coffman and Deradoorian even take lead vocals on one track each. “Sort of like a Beach Boys or a Beatles album,” he says.

Besides recording at Brooklyn’s Rare Book Room, where Dirty Projectors mainly wrapped up and re-recorded loose ends, Longstreth has been doing cross country drives to record in Portland, Oregon, where friends are building a huge, vague structure. “It’s sort of hard to say what it is. They say it’ll be a museum that they’ll eventually sell to the city, but I don’t really believe them. It’s kind of like that movie Synecdoche, New York but with energy and optimism instead of the mawkish anguish.” His friends let him build a recording studio in the space, and Longstreth used the large and “Holodeck”-like space to write and record most of his album. He says the unnamed LP will be finished by the end of January.

Longstreth began writing for the album in Lisbon, Portugal, jotting down an Excel sheet’s worth of thoughts. “These are some phrases that took on a deep feeling for me,” he says, though, on the sheet, he’s labeled it the “cliche directory.” There are 318 phrases listed in alphabetical order, though some are repeated, and while they reveal little about the sound of the record, they do show how his mind works. Some words jump out at you: “hold me / you in your / my arms,” “woke up in the middle of the night,” “broke / broken (my) heart,” “homewreck,” only because they’re the phrases most of pop music is based on. But can we really expect a simple, transparent album, built on cliches and related to Plaxico Burress? Or is he just fucking with us? “Most albums I’ve made have a feeling of ‘cufk you’ buried in their mantle,” says Longstreth. “But this one proceeds more from a ‘fcuk me.'”

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