Dirty Projectors | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Dirty Projectors


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Now that there's no point waiting for Michael Jackson's "Live From Corcoran" collaboration with Charles Manson, the Dirty Projectors' The Getty Address (Western Vinyl) pretty much has the Weirdest Release of 2005 title sewn up. The loosely defined group, led by Yale dropout Dave Longstreth, caught my attention with its 2003 album The Glad Fact--first with the repellent cover drawing of a nude, spread-legged fat man against a bile-colored backdrop, then with intriguingly cracked but melodic songs like "My Offwhite Flag," which sounds like Hall and Oates fronting the Dead C. But that album was positively conventional compared to the Projectors' latest. Deferring to their press release for a moment, it's "an album-length narrative inspired by Aztec mythology, the Eagles, and the 9/11 aftermath," depicting "the conflict of Hernan Cortes and the Aztecs in 1519-21" and "the virtualization of wilderness on a completely circumscribed globe." Oh, and the protagonist is Don Henley. The music is appropriately sprawling and elaborate, with more than 20 players, including a wind septet and an eight-piece women's choir; Longstreth composed and arranged the parts himself, reworked them digitally, and added guitars, drums, and his own warbling, modal-sounding vocals. The results are glitchy, operatic, otherworldly, and absorbing: listening to the album while following the illustrated libretto, I was transported for an hour to a universe where Eagles lyrics become pre-Columbian myth and vice versa. Now I'm trying to figure out whether that qualifies as a bad trip. Longstreth is touring with a nine-piece band this time; Volcano, Dogme 95, and the Wind-up Bird open. The Getty Address is also reviewed in Section 1. Sat 6/25, 9 PM, Subterranean, 2011 W. North, 773-278-6600 or 800-594-8499, $8.

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