Dirty Projectors are a music group led by singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist David Longstreth. Based in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York City, with connections to the Portland, OR and Olympia, Wash. music scenes, the group has produced a distinctive sound of electronic experimentation, melded with traditional instruments and discordant vocals. Their recordings range from Prince-style one-man-recording-studio productions (New Attitude EP), to arranged orchestrations (the "Slaves' Graves" half of Slaves' Graves & Ballads, to basic voice over nylon-string guitar (the "Ballads" half of the aforementioned, recorded at Calvin Johnson's Dub Narcotic studio.) Throughout, Longstreth's aggressively melodic vocals provide a consistent identity for otherwise widely divergent approaches to pop music. Longstreth claims influences ranging from Don Henley (who appears as the main character in his 2005 album The Getty Address) to Mariah Carey. The former's influence is hard to tease out, though the latter's vocal gymnastics clearly provide a clue to Longstreth's approach. Longstreth's forthcoming album Rise Above is an attempt to reimagine Black Flag's Damaged, a task he compares to that of the main character of the Borges story "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote."
The American duo known as Wye Oak have brought some unusual influences to their style of folk music, including indie, dream pop, and shoegaze. Their stage setup on tour dates is also unique, with lead vocalist Jenn Wasner thrashing away on her guitar and drummer / keyboardist Andy Stack playing the drums with his right hand, striking the bass pedal with his foot, and creating basslines on the keyboard with his left hand. Wye Oak has become well known, not only for the duo's vocal harmonizing, but for catching audiences off guard with distortion or sudden changes in volume. Audiences can attempt to define Wye Oak's style on their many tour dates in 2011 as they open for some of the biggest names in music.
Both Wasner and Stack had played in numerous local bands around Baltimore since high school, but didn't form Wye Oak until 2006. The duo initially searched for more members, but settled on a musical duo and began playing numerous local tour dates. Their debut album, If Children, was released independently in 2007, but gained such local and underground popularity (especially among bloggers) that it led to a record deal and a re-release of the record. Wye Oak continued to craft a unique sound on The Knot in 2009, culminating in the release of Civilian this year.
Civilian has been acclaimed as the winning evolution of Wye Oak's style, allowing the duo to crash noisily into mainstream popularity. It's also allowed Wasner and Stack to spread their new sound as openers for some heavy hitters' tour dates in 2011. Some of those bands include Portugal. The Man, The Decemberists, Okkervil River, and their stylistic counterparts, Yo La Tengo. Wye Oak is also performing at some of the summer's biggest music festivals, so check Eventful for all of their 2011 tour dates.