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Saturday, July 14, 2012

This week in music (week of 7/10/2012)

I haven't written one of these "this week in music" posts in a while. Part of that has been other things on my plate, but it has also been due to a lack of exciting new releases. While July is still pretty slow on that front, there was one release this week that blew me away. Thanks to the previously mentioned drip.fm subscription service through Domino Records, I had the new Dirty Projectors delivered right to my inbox.

New release of the Week - Swing Lo Magellan by Dirty Projectors

I really don't know where to start with discussing this album. I've seen the album described as "interesting." That can be a bit of a loaded word, but it's actually a pretty good description of this album. Oftentimes "interesting" may imply that there aren't nicer descriptions, but that isn't the case here. Some of the Dirty Projectors' old stuff can be pretty experimental, but several reviews also call this their most accessible album to date. That combination seems to be what makes this such a great record. The album really is accessible just to listen to without actively engaging it too much, but it is also an "interesting" album that lends itself to closer (and many, many repeated) listens. An interview on Consequence of Sound seems to hit the nail right on the head when they say that Dirty Projectors do a great job of realizing that the voice can be an instrument too. Ultimately, anything I can say won't do it justice, but since this is a blog and all I better try. I highly recommend just finding the album (for $3.99 on Amazon!) and giving it a listen all the way through.

The first track, "Offspring Are Blank," does a good job showcasing some of the shifting of styles and genres that the album goes through. The song starts out with clapping percussion adding one of the constants across the album, beautiful harmonies by the trio of female singers accompanying lead singer David Longstreth. Before you can get too comfortable, the track transitions into a pretty rocking part only to switch back again. Throughout the album there are elements of pop, rock, folk, soul, and plenty more.

"Gun Has No Trigger" was the first single released from the album, and it is a really good track, but I think I may actually prefer the second single "Dance For You" (another track that goes through some stylistic shifts throughout) or the penultimate track "Unto Caesar" (which features the exchange "Down the line did the martyrs morbid poetry"/"uh, that doesn't make any sense what you just said" that never fails to makes me smile when I hear it). There really isn't a weak track on the album though and there is a really good chance that this album ends up one of my top five or so this year.

I had listened to the Dirty Projectors' previous album "Bitte Orca" a little bit when it came out three years ago, but it didn't leave much of an impression on me. I'll definitely have to go back now and listen to that (as well as some of their older albums), but for now I plan to just play the heck out of "Swing Lo Magellan."

And for a taste of what I've been rambling on about, here is the track "Dance for You"

And because I'm having a hard time committing to just one song and the video is neat (and pretty clearly inspired by iPod commercials), here is the lead single "Gun Has No Trigger" as well.

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