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Swing Lo Magellan [VINYL]

Dirty Projectors Vinyl
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: £19.40 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Biography

In 2002 David Longstreth released The Graceful Fallen Mango under his own name. A year later, The Glad Fact reintroduced his experimental rock project as "Dirty Projectors,” a moniker he's kept longer than any particular lineup. Longstreth and a revolving cast of collaborators have since released four full lengths, a compilation of cassettes, and three EPs: From The Getty ... Read more in Amazon's Dirty Projectors Store

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Product details

  • Vinyl (9 July 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Domino Records
  • ASIN: B00861J3SA
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,643 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Offspring Are Blank
2. About to Die
3. Gun Has No Trigger
4. Swing Lo Magellan
5. Just from Chevron
6. Dance for You
7. Maybe That Was It
8. Impregnable Question
9. See What She Seeing
10. The Socialites
11. Unto Caesar
12. Irresponsible Tune

Product Description

Product Description

Swing Lo Magellan is the sixth studio album by Dirty Projectors, and was written, recorded and mixed by Dave Longstreth in upstate New York. The album features the tracks "Gun Has No Trigger" and "Dance for You".

BBC Review

Say what you like about him, but Brooklyn’s Dave Longstreth has never been lacking imagination.

In the 10 years since they began, his experimental art-rock troupe Dirty Projectors have written albums that almost need a pointy stick and a flipchart to be fully explained. 2005’s The Getty Address, for example, was a “glitch opera” about the life of the Eagles’ Don Henley, while 2007’s Rise Above was an attempt to cover – from memory – Black Flag’s Damaged, an album Longstreth hadn’t listened to for nearly 15 years.

Though Swing Lo Magellan’s themes are less overt, the story of Dirty Projectors’ sixth album is still irregular and intriguing. Tired of the “density” of Brooklyn, Longstreth relocated his band – minus the “on hiatus” bassist/vocalist Angel Deradoorian – to a long-abandoned house in upstate Delaware County.

The result is an album that is far less-crowded than previous works (in his own words, Longstreth’s aim here is to veer away from the “florid arrangements” of 2009’s Bitte Orca) and one that, on the whole, feels suitably bucolic.

For instance, the title track, with its gentle acoustic guitar and butterfly melody, may be the most straightforward folk song the band has ever written. Longstreth himself appears more relaxed; single Gun Has No Trigger retains his penchant for complex melody, but without going off at an agitated and inaccessible tangent.

This time around, with Deradoorian absent, it’s up to the harmonies of Amber Coffman to enhance Longstreth’s extraordinary voice. She makes particular impact on the piano-led Impregnable Question as a foil to an uncharacteristically vulnerable frontman – the line “I need you, and you are always on my mind” suggests he’s found some quiet contemplation in the countryside. She takes the mic herself for The Socialites: a sunny, out-of-town perspective on the social snobbery of the city they’ve left behind.

Of course, despite the feeling of rural serenity, there’s still room for some of Dirty Projectors’ clever-clever stuff, too. After all, only Longstreth could write a chirruping homage to a Leo Tolstoy novella, and still call it About to Die.

His imagination, it seems, has never been so fertile.

--Leonie Cooper

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant (4.5 stars) 12 Sep 2012
By Kenneth
Format:Audio CD
There's always been a delightful irreverence about the Dirty Projectors, right back when it was just Dave Longstreth on his lonesome fooling around with 20th century classical music and blending incongruous production values. His unique approach to music making have helped turn DP into one of the most distinctive bands in the world and on Swing Lo Magellan they've made their first legitimate pop record. "Gun Has No Trigger" the albums lead single, features the Projectors trademark off kilter vocal harmonies, subtle instrumentation and Longstreths mangled Thom Yorke-esque falsetto. These elements are sequenced in such a way on "GHNT" though, that as a listener you feel invited to join in the reverie instead of being alienated by it. Lines like "You'd see the oceans swell, And the mountains shook, You'd see a million colors, If you really looked" are incredibly evocative in an elucidated brechtian type of way.

The sparse clicks, empty spaced singing and muted percussion of opener "Offspring Are Blank" lure you into a false sense of security before the chorus of explosive arena rock blows the cobwebs right out your complacent ears. Dirty Projectors mischevious moment of cacophanous euphoria in this song demonstrates how cleverly they can mix abrasiveness and accessability without it feeling disjointed or incongruous in any way. Long time DP fans may miss the absent Angel Deradoorian but should feel consoled with Amber coffman's superlative contributions, she turns in a beautiful vocal performance and some insightful lyricism on "The Socialites", her sweet butter wouldn't melt style of singing in this song cleverly disguises her razor sharp diatribe to judgemental elitists.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars simply brilliant 5 Aug 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
a truly fantastic album, even better than the also great Bitte Orca. Out there but always melodic tapping in to classic pop styles but doing it in their usual off centre way. A must to have
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dirty projectors can do no wrong 31 Aug 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Any of you who know Dirty Projectors work will not be disappointed at the latest offering. This album engages from first to last.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dirty Projectors - Swing low but aim high 10 July 2012
By Red on Black TOP 50 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
In 2009 Brooklyn wonders the Dirty Projectors produced an album of such sheer invention entitled "Bitte Orca" that when they released it it should have come with a patent. The name "Talking Heads" is generally bandied around when it comes to this band but frankly what both bands really share in common is a sense of inventiveness and most importantly a desire to produce music that taxes your brain cells. The inventor in chief in the band is a real "smart alec" named David Longstreth who studied classical composition at Yale University and brings with him a desire to test, tease and on occasions torment in terms of his musical constructions. He also had within the band Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian two female singers blessed with voices that could melt polar ice caps not least in fabulous songs like "Stillness is the move" and the the ravishing beauty contained in the orchestral highs of 'Two Doves".

It appears that for Longstreth's latest offering "Swing Lo Magellan" that regular vocalist, Angel Deradoorian, is on a bit of a hiatus although Coffman remains present. Indeed she takes control on one of the major highlights on this album the bubbling and minimalist funk of the wonderful "The socialites" which for the curious should be the point of entry in this cerebral but largely accessible album. Opening track "Offspring are blank" starts with a good old humming sound from a mix of male and female voices and loops it way through a clever song structure laid out by Longstreth which is punctuated by an impertinent noisy rock guitar which rudely but effectively breaks the gentle flow of the song.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
39 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Sound and the Fury 10 July 2012
By Dr. Rock - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I've been slowly warming up to Dirty Projectors ever since hearing their 2009 release, Bitte Orca. Hailed as a masterpiece of art pop by most critics, the album received a more divisive reaction from the hoi polloi. Tending to naturally lean toward the poppier songs on an album, my immediate favorite was "Two Doves." Overall, I felt that a lot of the album was art for art's sake and its finicky experimentalism prevented me from truly enjoying Bitte Orca as a whole.

With the release of Swing Lo Magellan, the band has veered off into a completely different direction altogether. The sparse string arrangements, African guitars, and crazy drumming remain intact but the focus on pop song structure is a notable change. Indie quirkiness takes a backseat to melody on this album, and the result is some of the best hooks I have ever encountered on a Dirty Projectors record. People are calling this record their most accessible yet - the perfect balance of musical intellectualism and pure pop. Here's my take, track-by-track.

Offspring Are Blank - The first song on the album opens in typical Dirty Projectors fashion, with those excellent female backup vocals, but it isn't long until the song breaks into a 70's fuzz-rock chorus. (6/10)

About to Die - This might be the best example of the tightrope the band walks between pop and obscure. The verses are sporadic and lyrical but the chorus is simple and extremely catchy. When the strings come in, it adds an amazing element to the song. (10/10)

Gun Has No Trigger - Likely the most minimalistic song on the album, Gun Has No Trigger consists mainly of voices, singing over drums and a very funky bass line. This song does indeed sound as if it were pulled from a James Bond film. (10/10)

Swing Lo Magellan - In the title track, Dave Longstreth slips into a Lou Reed singing voice for a song that sounds as if it were right off of The Velvet Underground's eponymous album. The simple folk melody and soft vocals are an unexpected surprise. (8/10)

Just From Chevron - Somewhat reminiscent of "Stillness on the Move," this track features a notable blend of both male and female lead vocals. The lyrical theme here is a dark reminder of 2010's disastrous oil spill. (6/10)

Dance For You - This is possibly the most pop-conscious track on the album. If interesting indie music were ever played on the radio (instead of that one song by Gotye), this song would be a hit. Simple, sweet lyrics that sound unusually sincere and less abstract than Longstreth's usual fare. (10/10)

Maybe That Was It - I was picking up some major Pink Floyd vibes from this track. Its effortless classic rock vibe is obvious, though it sounds to me a little more like a skip track on a Pink Floyd album. (5/10)

Impregnable Question - Piano hits, female oo's, walking bassline, acoustic guitar, tambourine... this song is pure Motown. It's catchy as anything I've heard all year and it sounds like a rare find, pulled out of a milk crate of old records. (10/10)

See What She Seeing - This track is pleasant enough. The strings in the background add a nice touch to a song that would otherwise seem empty. (6/10)

The Socialites - The only song on the album without David Longstreth's vocals, The Socialites is a lyrically straightforward take on snobs. It can be summed up in one line, "I'm glad they're the ones on the other side of the glass." Notice the synthesizers in the background purring like alien cats throughout. (8/10)

Unto Caesar - Sounding a little like a hippie jam, "Unto Caesar" sounds strangely like something that could be played at Woodstock at its best, and similar to a Dave Matthews B-side at its worst. "When should we bust into harmony?" is a great hidden line in there. (6/10)

Irresponsible Tune - A soulful album closer. It almost sounds like a modern take on a classic blues song that nobody ever heard. (7/10)

Overall, this album is a huge step in the right direction if this band seeks to widen their appeal. Thanks for reading.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dirty Projectors - Swing low but aim high 10 July 2012
By Red on Black - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
In 2009 Brooklyn wonders the Dirty Projectors produced an album of such sheer invention entitled "Bitte Orca" that when they released it it should have come with a patent. The name "Talking Heads" is generally bandied around when it comes to this band but frankly what both bands really share in common is a sense of inventiveness and most importantly a desire to produce music that taxes your brain cells. The inventor in chief in the band is a real "Smart Alec" named David Longstreth who studied classical composition at Yale University and brings with him a desire to test, tease and on occasions torment in terms of his musical constructions. He also had within the band Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian two female singers blessed with voices that could melt polar ice caps not least in fabulous songs like "Stillness is the move" and the the ravishing beauty contained in the orchestral highs of 'Two Doves".

It appears that for Longstreth's latest offering "Swing Lo Magellan" that regular vocalist, Angel Deradoorian, is on a bit of a hiatus although Coffman remains present. Indeed she takes control on one of the major highlights on this album the bubbling and minimalist funk of the wonderful "The socialites" which for the curious should be the point of entry in this cerebral but largely accessible album. Opening track "Offspring are blank" starts with a good old humming sound from a mix of male and female voices and loops it way through a clever song structure laid out by Longstreth which is punctuated by an impertinent noisy rock guitar which rudely but effectively breaks the gentle flow of the song. Other songs like the poptastic single "Gun has no trigger" are far more straightforward affairs and in days of yore before Cowell created monstrosities dominated the airways might have actually charted. The title track does tip a nod to David Byrne but is none the worse for it while the playful "Dance for you" shows that Longstreth is taking a decidedly more accessible path than earlier albums. On that song he reflects that "there is an answer, I havent found it" and yet musically he seems to be getting closer to a form of inventive pop perfection matched by too few other bands. Irritatingly "Impregnable question" sounds to this reviewer like a Prince song but with the old grey matter receding rapidly identfying which is one it is is proving a source of high irritation (help!). Some might complain that all this amounts to a significant blunting of the dense quirkiness that was found on previous Projectors output and yet one of the best songs on this album "See what she seeing" sounds like a manic Kid A style ping pong match with a structure held together by the Longstreth's best vocal. One significant complaint is that he is so full of ideas that perhaps ultimately he rather over dominates this album and with a vocalist like Amber Coffman at hand it seems to be a case of wilful underuse of her considerable skills?

"Swing Lo Magellan" ends with a song entitled "Irresponsible tune" which ironically for Longstreth at least is a straightforward acoustic strum albeit one that hauntingly fades out to conclude a work which cements the reputation of the Dirty Projectors as a band who are not content to stand still and rest on the proverbial laurels. This is an intricate and invigorating album that for those who have never heard of this band represents an ideal starting point because of its underlying pop sensibility. Dirty Projectors remain a challenging band who remain wedded to producing music that sometimes doesn't quite hit the mark but when it does they are unstoppable.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Album: Eclectic but not Esoteric / Fun but not Silly 13 July 2012
By T. A. Daniel - Published on Amazon.com
Recorded across one year and 40 demos, The Dirty Projector's SWING LO MAGELLAN has made its way out of the studio. Written, arranged, mixed, produced, by David Longstreth, this album was meant to be more personal and eclectic than previous releases. Strangely, this album feels more complete than others (even 2009's very good BITTE ORCA), while maintaining Longstreth's promise that these songs wouldn't be united by a single theme or style.

The Dirty Projectors is a band that is constantly experimenting with its own sound. This album is no different, but it feels much looser than past releases. Where other albums felt conscious about the experimentation that was taking place, SWING LO MAGELLAN feels much less thought out; instead, many of the vocal flares and instrumental flourishes sound improvised or instinctual. It feels less like Longstreth is trying to be interesting and more like he's having fun writing music. The second half of the album doesn't quite live up to the fantastic first half of SWING LO MAGELLAN; "The Socialites," doesn't have a good enough melody to support itself. "Unto Caesar" and its dragging strings slow the song down to a crawl. "Irresponsible Tune," while an interesting choice to finish the album, doesn't meet their rest of the album's emotional heights.

Stylistically, this album is all over the place. The ripping guitar riff that interrupts quiet intro track "Offspring Are Blank" could have come out of Fugazi. The go-for-broke vocals in "About to Die" and "Unto Caesar" are reminiscent of Animal Collective. The rhythmic meter and crooning of "See What You're Seeing" recalls a great Hot Chip track. The closing track "Irresponsible Tune" wouldn't sound too out of place in a collection of recent Neil Young acoustics. SWING LO MAGELLAN covers plenty of musical ground, and while I use other bands for stylistic references, the Dirty Projectors are uniquely their own.

For listeners that are new to the Dirty Projectors, this album is a great one to start with: it's consistent, and it feels like a good summation of everything the band has worked on until now. For those who are familiar with Longstreth and company, SWING LO MAGELLAN is a great addition to the band's already good discography, but some listeners might mourn to the absence of Angel Deradoorian. Fans of the Talking Heads, Animal Collective, Hot Chip, or the Shins will find material here to like. Standout songs to sample/download: "Gun Has No Trigger," "About to Die," and "Impregnable Question." These songs will give listeners an idea of what to expect for the band's musical style, but it's not representative of everything SWING LO MAGELLAN has to offer.

Overall, if you have been put off by the Dirty Projector's quirky sensibilities in the past, you can probably pass on this. If, however, you're looking for an interesting album that has plenty of nuance to pour over, SWING LO MAGELLAN is a great listen.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GET THIS ALBUM! 4 Feb 2013
By TL - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Vinyl|Verified Purchase
AMAZING album-- most overlooked album of 2012---
i would give it more starts if there were more.
It came quickly in the mail and was in PERFECT condition.
the deluxe edition comes with these "braille-like" cards of the lyrics- so cool!
great purchase.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant (4.5 stars) 12 Sep 2012
By Kenneth - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
There's always been a delightful irreverence about the Dirty Projectors, right back when it was just Dave Longstreth on his lonesome fooling around with 20th century classical music and blending incongruous production values. His unique approach to music making have helped turn DP into one of the most distinctive bands in the world and on Swing Lo Magellan they've made their first legitimate pop record. "Gun Has No Trigger" the albums lead single, features the Projectors trademark off kilter vocal harmonies, subtle instrumentation and Longstreths mangled Thom Yorke-esque falsetto. These elements are sequenced in such a way on "GHNT" though, that as a listener you feel invited to join in the reverie instead of being alienated by it. Lines like "You'd see the oceans swell, And the mountains shook, You'd see a million colors, If you really looked" are incredibly evocative in an elucidated brechtian type of way.

The sparse clicks, empty spaced singing and muted percussion of opener "Offspring Are Blank" lure you into a false sense of security before the chorus of explosive arena rock blows the cobwebs right out your complacent ears. Dirty Projectors mischevious moment of cacophanous euphoria in this song demonstrates how cleverly they can mix abrasiveness and accessability without it feeling disjointed or incongruous in any way. Long time DP fans may miss the absent Angel Deradoorian but should feel consoled with Amber coffman's superlative contributions, she turns in a beautiful vocal performance and some insightful lyricism on "The Socialites", her sweet butter wouldn't melt style of singing in this song cleverly disguises her razor sharp diatribe to judgemental elitists.

On the title track Longstreth gets his dylan on, by rambling out a modern day folk tune which their short film Hi Custodian perfectly captures the spirit of. "Dance For You" whilst being one of my personal favourites also serves to describe the irrepressable brilliance of Swing Lo Magellan by condensing everything that makes this album so great into one song. Inventive arrangements, catchy guitar riffs, handclapped rhythms and pensively playful lyrics all flow melifluously here and it's a marvel to behold. Whether this album has managed to replace Bitte Orca as the bands crowning achievement seems like an unnecessary thing to contemplate right now as i'm still having far too much fun getting to know this gem to begin making such comparisons. One thing i will say though is that after half a dozen listens swing Lo just keeps getting better and better so at the very least it's a real possibility.
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