Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: In 2002, an Ivy League student recorded a quirky, yet promising album on a four-track in his bedroom. He dropped out of school and moved to Brooklyn to pursue a music career, fueled by the modest buzz surrounding the release.
It’s an archetypal story, but it’s important to remember that all archetypes begin as something original and exciting; a testament to just how influential Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth has been over the past decade.
Swing Lo Magellan, Dirty Projectors’ seventh album, finds the band at a crossroads. Key contributor Angel Deradoorian split, leaving Longstreth with the pressure of releasing the pivotal follow up to an album that has cruise ship-sized shoes to fill, his 2009 breakthrough, Bitte Orca, without his most senior collaborator. The “on the cusp” success of Bitte Orca has primed the tenured Dirty Projectors to “make the leap” to Grammy Award-nominee mainstream acceptance (or recognition, to be more accurate), another increasingly archetypal plot line for indie bands in this day in age. Longstreth’s been at this project for a decade, now. It’s make or break time.