Tag Archives: Dirty Projectors


Former Vampire Weekend Member Rostam Plays The Bowery Ballroom

May 2nd, 2017

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rostam Batmanglij first burst onto the music scene as the guitarist-keyboardist for Vampire Weekend—he also produced the band’s first two albums. Batmanglji amicably left the group early last year to launch a solo career as Rostam. I Had a Dream That You Were Mine (stream it below), a collaborative effort with former Walkmen frontman Hamilton Leithauser, arrived last September. “Leithauser and Rostam take their flair for reimagining classic sounds with postmodern glee to new levels,” said AllMusic. And with a full-length solo album due later this year, Rostam (above, the video for his brand-new single, “Gwan”) plays The Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday. Former Dirty Projectors bassist, keyboardist and vocalist Deradoorian opens the show.


Overcoats Sound Right at Home at Sold-Out Rough Trade NYC

April 21st, 2017

Overcoats – Rough Trade NYC – April 20, 2017

Sisterhood runs deep between best friends Hana Elion and JJ Mitchell, a bond so strong it’s birthed a band, Overcoats. The New York City–based duo’s debut, Young, is a reverie of R&B soul folktronica coproduced by Nicolas Vernhes (Daughter, Torres, Dirty Projectors, Cass McCombs) and fellow singer-songwriter Autre Ne Veut. NPR’s Bob Boilen recently described the record as “driven by ambition and passion, not craft … the emotion in their harmonies and the space they give each other is filled with compassion.” Last night, the inseparable pair graced a sold-out Rough Trade NYC on the eve of their new EP’s release, donning white jumpsuits and silver platform boots. Microphone stands adorned with flowers and garlands of cameo silhouettes set the stage as their first headlining tour opened with the rhythmic “Smaller Than My Mother.” The crowd swayed to the lullaby of “Hold Me Close” before Elion exclaimed, “We are so fucking excited to be here.”

Covering the entirety of their album with the exception of one track (“Father”), the kindred spirits garnered much love from fans as the mutual admiration between each singer was palpable. They embraced often in between songs and danced side by side without a care in the world. When introducing the debut single “Little Memory,” Elion confessed it was the first one the girls had written together. The duo covered Hozier’s “Cherry Wine” midway through the set. Elion laid her head on Mitchell’s shoulder to preface “Siren,” as she proceeded to sing, “I feel many weights of many worlds on my shoulders.” In a speech that was carved out on the set list, Mitchell offered their gratitude to touring drummer Joao Gonzalez, Andy on sound and their agents. An overwhelming acknowledgement of the upcoming year ahead left the women truly humbled before an encore of the hymnal “Mother” and the rollicking “Leave the Light On” concluded the performance with a fever pitch of participatory claps. —Sharlene Chiu


Icelandic Singer-Songwriter Ólöf Arnalds Plays Mercury Lounge

February 3rd, 2017

Despite her instrumental prowess—classically trained on violin and viola and self-taught on guitar and charangoÓlöf Arnalds’ calling card is her crystalline voice. She was already fairly well-known in Iceland’s music scene by the time her debut solo release, Við Og Við (stream it below), arrived in 2007, going on to win Record of the Year and Best Alternative Album at the Icelandic Music Awards. When the LP came out in the U.S. three years later, Paste declared, “Earnest, heartfelt declarations of love are a welcome change from the too-cool posturing of so much of today’s popular music. Familial affection will never go out of style; neither will deftly plucked stringed instruments, subtle orchestral swells and a songbird lilt this impossibly lovely.” The singer-songwriter has since toured with the likes of Björk, Jonathan Richman and Dirty Projectors and released several more EPs and full-players, including 2014’s Palme (stream it below). It’s “as pure as powdered snow, yet bubbling over with fairy mischief,” proclaimed AllMusic. Arnalds (above, performing an Icelandic version of “Turtledove” for the Line of Best Fit and, below, covering “Mr. Tambourine Man”) “is a weaver of ephemera, and with each new collection of music, she both defines herself and furthers her own mythology, a mythology that’s wholly intertwined with the lore of her Nordic homeland.” See her play Mercury Lounge tomorrow night. Alternative-folk trio Cold Weather Company open the show.



Courtney Barnett and San Fermin Are a Winning Combination

October 21st, 2014

Courtney Barnett/San Fermin – Union Transfer – October 20, 2014


The rarely mentioned truth about live music is that it is, in essence, an exercise in predictability. From night to night, bands play the same songs with minor variations. The attitude of the crowds may influence things, but when a group plays their songs, they are working from a script, a set list of material, which, hopefully, they know well. Within that paradigm, where is the band’s enjoyment? What does the audience come to see and hear? How is live music a unique experience?

Listening to Courtney Barnett, you get the sense that whatever navel-gazing, highbrow thinking is imposed on her music, she will shrug it off and keep playing. As the lyric to her runaway radio hit, “Avant Gardender,” goes, “It’s a Monday/ It’s so mundane.” Mundane for her, maybe, but for the audience that came to see Barnett with coheadliner San Fermin last night at Union Transfer, the performance was extraordinary, necessarily so. It’s self-evident that everyone would feel something different, from the older couple sitting at the circular table wedged between the bar and a support beam to the many flannel-clad twentysomethings. As a member of the visual majority, I too could pick out the influence of the Dirty Projectors and the National on the intricate orchestral pop of San Fermin.

And in Barnett’s shrug-filled delivery, I even heard a little Dylan. But on Monday I wanted to lose myself in these performances, and for two mesmerizing hours, they offered just that, as routine magic. Midway through her set, Barnett asked, “How is everyone doing? Good, great or average?” You could take a poll, but we all know that the responses would differ. Barnett—and her band—and San Fermin are two well-paired acts, touring as a curveball-to-fastball one-two combination. It’s tricky and off-kilter, but I imagine that every night is slightly different and new. And when it comes to live music, that is what you hope for. —Jared Levy




See Thumpers Play the Late Show Tonight at Mercury Lounge

August 27th, 2014

Friends since childhood, Marcus Pepperell (vocals, guitar and keys) and John Hamson Jr. (drums, vocals and bass) each played in various London bands before teaming up for the synth-pop duo Thumpers three years ago. The project initially began through e-mail correspondence, but once they began writing and recording together in 2012, their catchy, exuberant recordings instantly caught on via the Internet. And then thanks to just a few tunes, Thumpers (above, performing “Together Now” for KEXP FM) signed with Sub Pop. Their debut full-length, the polished Galore (stream it below), arrived in North America this past winter, and AllMusic was impressed: “Thumpers manage to tuck a wide scope of ideas and sounds into their songs without ever feeling too overbearing or crowded…. Constructed with flawlessness in mind, Galore succeeds in its ability to sound intensely produced and polished but never sterile. The same strong heartbeat that makes acts like Dirty Projectors, Phoenix, Suckers and the like equally human and precise beats inside Thumpers’ best songs as well.” See them play the late show tonight at Mercury Lounge.


No Reason to Fear Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks at The Bowery Ballroom

April 22nd, 2014

Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks – The Bowery Ballroom – April, 21, 2014

(Photo: Jeremy Ross)

(Photo: Jeremy Ross)

With a band name like Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, you’d figure the music would be weird and spooky. And what do you know, their sold-out show last night at The Bowery Ballroom was indeed just that. The spookiness was mostly provided by the stage setup, which included oversized skulls, like leftover Halloween decorations. These were lit with colorful projections to a somewhat trippy effect while the band remained cloaked in the dark shadows between them, virtually invisible to the crowd. The weird was provided by the music, played by Tare (Dave Portner), from Animal Collective, on guitar and vocals, Angel Deradoorian, formerly of Dirty Projectors, on keyboards and vocals, and Jeremy Hyman, formerly of Ponytail, on drums. The set list was mainly comprised of material from the trio’s lone album, Enter the Slasher House—songs that combine the aesthetics of the member’s musical roots.

As the set began, the music seemed to resist melody altogether, feeling almost like a collage of sounds and lyrics. With Deradoorian and Portner pushing the boundary between an almost doo-wop-y pop and free-form psychedelic, it was Hyman who became the focus, his drumming added to the chaos while controlling it and reining it in. Eventually, the show found its groove without sacrificing its quirky, rotated feel. The Billy Joel–on-acid sound made way for a Blondie-cracked-open-and-scrambled disco feel, with Deradoorian filling in with pulsing basslines on her synthesizer. It was like your eyes getting acclimated to the dark, finally seeing the details of the musicians lurking between the skulls and hearing the music they made for what it was. And as it turns out, the Slasher Flicks are nothing to be afraid of. —A. Stein




Boston’s Calling …

May 24th, 2013

While summer doesn’t technically start ’til June 21st, the summer season kicks off today, with the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. And what better way to do that with a music festival featuring a lineup that kicks all 11 kinds of ass over the course of two days and nights at the Boston Calling Music Festival. Tomorrow’s docket includes fun. (above, performing “Some Nights” on Saturday Night Live), the Shins, Marina and the Diamonds, Matt & Kim, Portugal. The Man, Cults, MS MR, St. Lucia and Bad Rabbits. Not to be outdone, Sunday features the National (below, doing “Bloodbuzz Ohio”), Of Monsters and Men, Young the Giant, Andrew Bird, Dirty Projectors, Ra Ra Riot, the Walkmen, Youth Lagoon and Caspian. Pretty great, right? So what are you waiting for? Head directly to Beantown and spend your weekend rocking out.




A Big Band Brings a Big Sound to Mercury Lounge Tomorrow Night

August 10th, 2012

It’s hard to pin down Ava Luna’s notable sound. Or as frontman Carlos Hernandez says, “We have a lot of synthesizers and vocal harmonies. I would call it kind of heavy and strange, but also very poppy.” Imagine well-crafted songs (thanks in part to Hernandez studying Music Composition at Columbia) that employ a heady mix of’60s doo-wop, ’70s R&B and a dash punk and avant-garde all topped off with a trio of women adding three-part harmonies and you’re starting to get the idea. The Brooklyn septet has been eagerly compared to Dirty Projectors, and the influential Seattle public-radio station KCRW has mentioned Midnight Vultures–era Beck. So there’s also that. As their excellent new album, Ice Level, proves, Ava Luna (above, playing “Past the Barbary” for Pink Couch Sessions) makes the kind of music that you can listen to over and over again and get something different each time, which in an era when music all too often sounds the same, is pretty damn cool. See them tomorrow night at Mercury Lounge.

Dirty Projectors on The Bowery Presents Live

July 10th, 2012

Dirty Projectors – Music Hall of Williamsburg – July 9, 2012

Last night Dirty Projectors streamed live from Music Hall of Williamsburg on The Bowery Presents Live. They played some new songs—like “The Socialites,” above—off Swing Lo Magellan, out today on Domino Records, and delved deeper into their back catalog. You can relive the whole thing by watching the entire show again until 9 AM EDT tomorrow at http://youtube.com/thebowerypresents.

Dirty Projectors are a don’t-miss band when they play live, which they do again tonight at Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell. Check out the group’s playlist with songs from last night’s show and make sure to visit it again on Thursday, when we add even more. Subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live on YouTube for more live-streaming shows like this one, plus the stripped-down performances and intimate interviews we feature every week.

Photos courtesy of Jeremy Ross | jeremypross.com


Watch Dirty Projectors Play Songs Off Critically Adored ‘Swing Lo Magellan’ Tonight!

July 9th, 2012

Dirty Projectors’ sixth studio album, Swing Lo Magellan, comes out tomorrow, and its sparkling reviews are in today. Pitchfork awards the disc its Best New Music label, SPIN calls it the band’s “best album by a mile” and Consequence of Sound mentions its “undeniable power.”

You don’t have to wait until tomorrow to experience some of the new music, though: Tonight’s sold-out Dirty Projectors show in Brooklyn will be streaming live beginning at 10 PM EDT on The Bowery Presents Live. And the best part is you don’t have to go it alone. Log in through Facebook, Google+ and Twitter to be part of our live chat on http:youtube.com/thebowerypresents. Hashtag: #DPsLIVE

(Dirty Projectors also play the Prospect Park Bandshell as part of Celebrate Brooklyn tomorrow night.)

Exclusive Video: Daughter Is a Young Band to Watch

July 5th, 2012

With expertly layered, nuanced music that belies their age, you’d have no idea Daughter, the group The Guardian calls “the progeny of Enya and Eno,” hasn’t even been together for two years. But all that makes this English experimental-folk trio a band not to miss—brooding atmospherics, moody lyrics and a beautiful voice—is revealed in this stirring rendition of “Youth” for The Bowery Presents Live.

After the performance, the group’s members, Elena Tonra, Igor Haefeli and Remi Aguilella, looked back on meeting in school, being proud of their work and people knowing the words to their songs. Watch the interview here. And subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live on YouTube for more of these cool videos posted each week, plus live-streaming shows, like Dirty Projectors on Monday at Music Hall of Williamsburg.


Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Dirty Projectors on 7/9

July 3rd, 2012


Dirty Projectors’ new album, Swing Lo Magellan, comes out next Tuesday. Tickets are available for their Celebrate Brooklyn show that night at the Prospect Park Bandshell. But the band’s appearance the night before at Music Hall of Williamsburgstreaming live on The Bowery Presents Live—is sold out. And if you absolutely have to be there, you’ve still got a chance because The House List is giving away two tickets. So try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Dirty Projectors, 7/9) and a brief message explaining why you’re looking forward to the new album. Eddie Bruiser, who’s had a sneak peak, will notify the winner by Monday. Good luck.

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The Shins Return

May 1st, 2012

The Shins – Terminal 5 – April 30, 2012

A funny thing happened when the Shins released their latest album, Port of Morrow. Five years had passed since the group’s previous one, Wincing the Night Away, just enough time that their legion of fans was almost ready to think about the Shins in past tense. But a new disc was all that was needed to remind them of the band’s brilliance, and their live show echoes this experience.

Playing their second of three sold-out shows at Terminal 5 last night, it was as though once every song was recognized, it was greeted with “Oh, yeah, I love this song!” roars of approval from the crowd. Given that James Mercer had entirely overhauled the band since his last album, many of the older songs have evolved from their recorded versions. Older ones seem to have incorporated the punchiness heard on new songs like “The Rifle’s Spiral” and “Bait and Switch.” “So Says I” sounded faster than its studio take, being driven by a much more forceful tempo.

Special guests Amber Coffman and Haley Dekle of Dirty Projectors joined the band for a few songs, providing garnishing harmonies on “Australia” and a handful of other songs. Shins guitarist Jessica Dobson added some beautiful high harmonies to “New Slang” that fit flawlessly into the already near perfect song. Mercer returned for the encore to play a solo acoustic version of “Young Pilgrims.” The audience was so hushed listening to him that when some guy yelled, “Why are you so good?” the entire venue heard it and erupted in laughter. It was a valid question. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Joe Papeo | www.irocktheshot.com


Phoenix Plays the Garden

October 15th, 2010

Three guys, Thomas Mars (vocals), Deck d’Arcy (bass) and Chris Mazzalai (guitar), began playing garage rock in a suburban basement in the ’90s. It’s a familiar story you’ve heard from countless other bands. The main difference in this case is that the group began outside of Paris rather than, say, Detroit or Milwaukee. Around that same time, Mazzalai’s older brother, Laurent Brancowitz (also a guitarist), was in another trio, Darlin’. That band released several songs, which Melody Maker described as “a bunch of daft punk.” Not too much later Brancowitz’s bandmates split to form Daft Punk and he joined his brother’s musical outfit, Phoenix. The now quartet got started covering Hank Williams and Prince in French bars, but they kept working their way up and people began to notice. They added synthesizers to the mix and put out several well-received albums, but it was their fourth studio effort, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, that put them in the mainstream. Since then Phoenix (above, performing “1901” on Late Show with David Letterman) has sold out increasingly larger rooms, and now they’re playing the big one, Madison Square Garden next Wednesday. Not only should you be at this show, but make sure to get there early enough to see Dirty Projectors and Wavves, too.


Dirty Projectors – Terminal 5 – September 11, 2010

September 13th, 2010

Dirty Projectors - Terminal 5 - September 11, 2010

Photos courtesy of Brian C. Reilly | www.briancreilly.com

(Dirty Projectors open for Phoenix at Madison Square Garden on 10/20.)