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Dave Longstreth is not your run-of-the-mill singer/songwriter, quite the contrary actually. He croons, warbles and yelps about epic and unearthly stories while fractured orchestras and oddly syncopated beats paint the only possible backdrop for these grandiose tales. The Yale dropout is the main creative force behind the Dirty Projectors, which also includes a rotating cast of musically talented characters akin to the playful mind of Longstreth. Distorting more genres than a college music director could spit off in 30 seconds, the Dirty Projectors have managed to release five full-length albums in just 3 years (the first, The Graceful Fallen Mango, was under solely Longstreth’s name) each with its own distinct sound. The latest, 2005’s The Getty Address (Western Vinyl), is a post-operatic saga fusing the worlds of Eagles frontman Don Henley, conquistador Hernan Cortes and his skirmish with the Aztecs, a diminishing natural wilderness and the 9/11 aftermath. Along with his usual musically splintered hi-jinks, Longstreth seems to be leaning toward a rhythm & blues inspiration as his songs almost have a defined groove to match his crooning falsetto. Utilizing everything from a full woman’s choir to beer bottle flutes to a cello octet, there is never a dull moment on The Getty Address, though there a few instances that leave your ears confused and your brow ruffled. Groups like the Dirty Projectors and the unrelenting imaginations of artists like Longstreth are essential to the contemporary music scene; they refuse to be pigeonholed or adhere to a template. They push the boundaries so far that instead of alienating themselves completely, they create a sound all their own, and a salivating, open-minded audience is never far behind.




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