Marked by a voice that floats through ranges like it invented them (you’ll never hear so many notes crammed into the words “fucked up for life” as on the DP’s song of the same name), Longstreth’s creations depict a man who’s part wandering troubadour, part mad scientist. And the Projectors’ music ranges wildly—recklessly even—between broad orchestrations, narrow, lo-fi folk and sly, beat-oriented, vaguely R&B combinations of both. It’s the sort of thing that begs for disaster so fiercely that every time it comes off (which it does every time), it’s simply rapturous.
It would be easy, of course, to confuse Longstreth’s recklessness for pretense. What some might call his opus, The Getty Address , was a concept-heavy indie opera said to be inspired by Aztec mythology, the Eagles and the after-effects of 9/11. And the main character (I am not shitting you) is a gentleman named Don Henley. But it worked well enough to become a permanent part of the freak-pop lexicon, and—however weird—is admired by most anyone it touches.
Now, in the wake of the Projectors’ relatively square, everything-in-one-package Marriage Records release, New Attitude , Longstreth is headlong into a new, Black Flag-related project (he even looks like he could be Henry Rollins’ nerdy little brother). And the concept behind it is so wonderfully insane, it’s near unbelievable: Longstreth went back to his family home recently and, while rooting through some various childhood detritus, came across the empty case of Black Flag’s Damaged . At that moment, he decided to destroy the cover-album concept and instead, as the Dirty Projectors, re-create the album from memory.
Given that the album, titled Rise Above , is set to release only days after MusicfestNW, it seems safe to say we’ll be hearing the result. Expect to be awed.