DIRTY PROJECTORS – “Dirty Projectors”
THE GOOD: Brooklyn indie rock outfit Dirty Projectors (singer/songwriter/guitarist David Longstreth and an ever-changing roster of collaborators) comes back with an eponymous seventh.
THE BAD: Longstreth’s progressive tendencies are now in full-force. Expect complex arrangements and the melding of many genres. Not “bad” just complicated.
THE NITTY GRITTY: At its core, “Dirty Projectors” is a break-up album; Longstreth ended his relationship with long-time bandmate Amber Coffman at the beginning of the creative process. Tracks such as “Death Spiral” and “Up in Hudson” focus on the difficulties that come with relationships, sad endings, moving on, etc.
Musically, Longstreth bounces from the electronic squiggles of “Work Together” to the ‘60s-based organ sounds spread over “I See You” and all points in between. R&B singer Dawn Richard lends her voice to the bright sunshine of “Cool Your Heart.” Strings and atmospherics add somber vibes to the low hum and soulful harmonies on “Little Bubble.” Bring your sense of adventure and prepare for unpredictable dissonant mood swings.
BUY IT?: Your call.
RAEKWON – “The Wild”
THE GOOD: The Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon belts out his seventh solo album.
THE BAD: One can argue the only Wu-Tang member that ever topped his own solo debut was Ghostface Killah. Raekwon will probably never match HIS solo debut, 1995’s “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.” But “the Wild” is a step in the right direction.
THE NITTY GRITTY: The new set is much less glossy than 2015’s “Fly International Luxurious Art.” His style still intense, Raekwon gets back to the streets, conjuring up vivid full-color urban landscapes, and finds himself knee deep in that scratchy, gritty Wu-Tang-vibe. Dirty beats, choppy lo-fi vocal samples, eerie atmospherics, and bullet-riddled gangster tales are once again the norm.
Yeah, there are a couple of missteps along the way. “Marvin,” the tribute to Marvin Gaye with back-ups by CeeLo Green, feels out of place. The Lil Wayne collaboration “My Corner” sounds too synthetic. For the most part though, “the Wild” is dusty and dangerous, as it should be.
BUY IT?: Sure.
GOLDFRAPP – “Silver Eye”
THE GOOD: Electronic duo Goldfrapp (Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory) come back with a varied seventh.
THE BAD: No gripes.
THE NITTY GRITTY: Entirely composed by the pair themselves, the record does boast a number of collaborators on the production side. The two worked closely with producer John Congleton (St Vincent, Wild Beasts), electronic composer the Haxan Cloak, and producer/guitarist Leo Abrahams
Despite the disparate guest list, the record works incredibly well as a whole; the songs complementing each other perfectly. From the spacey trip-hop echoes carrying “Zodiac Black” to the decadently danceable “Everything is Never Enough” to the dark rumblings permeating “Ocean,” “Silver Eye” is an accomplished set that rarely takes an expected route. It’s full of surprises while still maintaining that desired classic Goldfrapp vibe.
Stripped down to their bare essence, the songs themselves are probably the pair’s strongest in quite some time too (not that other recent albums were lacking in any way). This is simply an act playing to their strengths.
BUY IT?: Yes.