Out of laziness, I missed the Dirty Projectors show last week in San Francisco. I'm pretty disappointed, because I'm sure I missed an amazing show, and Rise Above--their most recent album--is one of my current favorites.
If you're not familiar with the concept of Rise Above, here's how I described it around eight months ago:
[it's] a reinterpretation of Black Flag's Damaged, made without listening to the original album, recorded on a four-track that Dave Longstreth picked up mid-inspiration at the local music shop (apparently), but with merely a 25-year-old memory of said album and its songs & lyrics ...
I love this because--yes, taking the story with a grain of salt--Rise Above is what Damaged sounds like inside of Dave Longstreth's head! This is how his twenty-five-year-old memory of the album has evolved, and that's pretty neat. Frankly, it sounds better than Black Flag ever did, to me, and probably a lot worse to people who grew up listening to Black Flag.
This fucking city
is run by pigs!
They take away the rights
from all the kids.
As a reference point, Longsteth's take on punk sounds very much like early Scritti Politti: scratchy, nervous guitars combined with a mix of anxious yelps and R&B crooning.
And, perhaps despite itself, some moments of really intense beauty. The album closes with "Rise Above", one of the most conventionally pretty songs the Dirty Projectors have ever recorded, and a gorgeous end to a truly brilliant album.