How do I love thee, NPR, let me count the ways

Either the most advanced Venn diagram ever or mind-melding

Either the most advanced Venn diagram ever or mind-melding

In case you haven’t devoted some time to the Exclusive First Listen feature of NPR Music, you will shortly upon finishing this blog entry. The website streams entire new albums from the up and comers of modern music as well as the veterans. NPR has streamed the newest offerings of quite a few TS&tN favorites (yes, I’m abbreviating my own blog name to a pithy acronym — if I don’t do it, nobody else will), such as Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone and Laura Gibson’s Beasts of Seasons. The choices are so exciting that they make me wonder about the origins of my own tastes. Do I like music because NPR politely suggests I should, or do I like NPR because it shares my musical interests? It’s a conundrum as knotty as the act of listening to pop music itself.

I’m particularly appreciative of Exclusive First Listen’s attention paid to the upcoming album from the Dirty Projectors, Bitte Orca. I had heard a couple of the leaks already, and they intrigued me as most blends of girl/boy harmonies and unconventional structure usually do. But Bitte Orca should be heard as a whole to completely appreciate all the weird and classic elements that the band juggles. The band sets forth rhythms you expect to go in one direction, but instead sprawl out into five distinct trajectories in the space of a single song, partly thanks to drummer, Brian McComber. Female vocals from Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian sound like choir girls cutting loose after the choral director has left for the afternoon. You could rightfully call founder Dave Longstreth a kid with a short attention span and too many toys at his disposal. But then you would discount the way the songs alternate between ethereal and intense. It’s a fun kind of bipolarism, and you get to hear it for free. Public radio rules.

Dirty Projectors will release their album, Bitte Orca, on June 6. They will play at Holocene on Saturday, July 4. What’s Up will also play.

  • Dirty Projectors ~ Bitte Orca ~ Domino

Stillness Is the Move

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3 Responses to “How do I love thee, NPR, let me count the ways”


  1. 1 Mark June 3, 2009 at 11:30 PM

    I listened to this last night. Loved it immediately because of the schizophrenic rhythms and pop elements. So good. I’m going to post on DP soon.

  2. 3 Mark June 4, 2009 at 4:02 AM

    Me too. I came close to going to that DP/TVotR show, but it sold out.


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