The Dirty Projectors' last two releases, "The Getty Address" and "Rise Above," were lo-fi concept albums built around inscrutable song structures. Given the Brooklyn-based indie band's track record, "Stillness Is the Move" -- the group's pop-confection first single from the forthcoming album "Bitte Orca" -- represents a jarring departure.
Over a shimmering guitar loop and playful backing beat, guitarist Amber Coffman sings about the fear and comfort of settling down, something the band may be experiencing stylistically.
"I've never identified with that idea of 'experimental.' I like music that takes risks and tries new things," singer/guitarist Dave Longstreth said. "But I like music that is assured and resolved too."
Slated for release June 9 on Domino Records, "Bitte Orca" contains arrangements as intricate as those on the band's previous albums. But tracks like "Cannibal Resource" and "Two Doves" offer a more immediate approach.
The set was recorded in Brooklyn and Portland, Oregon, and it's a departure from the band's previous album-spanning concepts. "Rise Above," for instance, was a song-for-song reinterpretation of punk band Black Flag's 1981 album "Damaged."
"The restrictions of 'Rise Above' ... were just a means to a greater freedom," says Longstreth, the band's principal songwriter. "'Bitte Orca' was crazy because everything was permitted."
The new album is the Dirty Projectors' first for Domino, which signed the six-member outfit in April 2008. In addition to Coffman and Longstreth, the members are Angel Deradoorian, Brian Mcomber, Nat Baldwin and Haley Dekle.
After releasing albums on the independent labels Marriage, Western Vinyl and Dead Oceans, Longstreth is pleased to be part of an imprint with "a history of bringing difficult, uncompromising music to the center of the culture." (Among the label's releases are work by Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys and The Kills.)
Even without the impending Domino debut, 2009 has been an eventful year for the Projectors. They collaborated with former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne on "Knotty Pine," the lead track from Red Hot Organization's star-studded "Dark Was the Night" compilation, released in February. The band later performed alongside Byrne and other indie breakouts like Feist and Bon Iver at a special "Dark Was the Night" concert event May 3 at New York's Radio City Music Hall.
Five days later, the band played an intimate show with Bjork at Manhattan's Housing Works Bookstore Cafe to an audience of 300. The collaborations have helped raise the band's profile and whet anticipation for the new CD.
The Dirty Projectors are on the road in North America, opening for fellow Brooklyn band TV on the Radio, and perform Friday (June 12) at the Bonnaroo festival in Tennessee. The act has also lined up a brief U.S. headlining tour, beginning June 17 in Philadelphia.