Dirty Projectors: “About to Die”
There’s nothing normal about the Dirty Projectors. While they’re nominally under the “indie” umbrella, but it’s useless to try and pin any sort of label on the band. The shape-shifting outfit has tackled a concept record about a character named Don Henley, a complete re-imagining of Black Flag’s seminal hardcore record Damaged, and deftly took on hopped-up afro-pop and R&B for their breakout 2009 record Bitte Orca.
At the head of this maelstrom is singer, songwriter and musical alchemist Dave Longstreth. Many talented folks have made their way through Dirty Projectors ranks, but Longstreth is the fella in charge. Longstreth started the musical exploration with 2002′s The Graceful Fallen Mango, an album he recorded largely on his own with simple equipment (computer and four-track) and released under his own name. 2003 was a big year. It marked the first release under the Dirty Projectors moniker (the understated album The Glad Fact), as well as Morning Better Last!, a full-length made up of some previously recorded EPs. The following year the Dirty Projectors issued the starkly beautiful Slaves’ Graves & Ballads, a record that featured lovely string arrangements and Longstreth’s arresting, emotive voice. 2005 brought the ambitious concept record The Getty Address, and the Black Flag-meets-Afro-pop (yes, you read that correctly) Rise Above in 2007. On the heels of singles like “Stillness Is The Move” (Beyonce’s younger sis Solange even covered the tune), a measure of commercial success caught up with Dirty Projectors’ critical accolades with Bitte Orca. The band also collaborated with Björk on the 2010 benefit EP Mount Wittenberg Orca.
Earlier this summer the band released their seventh studio album Swing Lo Magellan. The album featured some of Dirty Projector’s most straight-forward tunes yet. But while they may sound like a far cry from the minimalist sounds of Longstreth’s solo work and early Dirty Projectors material, they still share the same experimentalist DNA. Today’s song of the day, “About to Die,” comes right off Swing Lo Magellan, and it’s the title track on a brand new EP from the Dirty Projectors that comes out today (Nov. 6) and features three new tunes from the band. “About to Die” is built on an intricate, head-bobbing rhythm. Longstreth’s loungy vocals are backed by some very cool female R&B harmonies. It’s a horizon broadening track from a band that’s always moving forward.