After a long tumultuous period, we managed to patch things up enough to leave the future open, and in 2014 we gave working together on my music a test run.Eventually I brought him on in a greater capacity as a producer, he moved to LA and we recorded my album at his newly built studio in 2015.into a flutter of gorgeous harmonies and psychedelic freakouts.It was also the first time Dirty Projectors was less a Dave Longstreth solo project than a full band experience.One person, Longstreth, is reckoning with a life in disarray, while the other, Coffman, is searching for empowerment in solitude.They each let go by the end of their respective albums.
She and Longstreth started dating shortly thereafter, and stayed together until 2013, when they split both professionally and personally.Having this band seemingly allowed Longstreth to get out of his own mind just enough to create something truly collaborative and great. 2009’s was the best album released that year, and there hasn’t been a rock effort since that’s come close to touching it. Longstreth handles the songwriting but delegates performances in perfect ways. ) girlfriend Amber Coffman sang on the acid-tinged R&B jam “Stillness is the Move,” while other female vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Angel Deradoorian led the way on the idyllic “Two Doves.” Deradoorian quit the band before they released , he was given a toolkit with a big piece of white tape across the front reading, “GENIUS” and then told to make something with it. The most obvious answer is to let them flow like the Icelandic waterfalls in Justin Bieber’s “I’ll Show You.” Bathe in them. This is all to say: Maybe what we need right now is another breakup album from a male vocalist.(It also doesn’t help Longstreth’s case that Coffman has the voice of an angel.) But because Coffman has chosen to decline all press opportunities, the focus remains one-sided, with Longstreth controlling the narrative, whether he means to or not.“All to Myself” begins with the couplet: “I can't just sit around feeling upset / Dwelling on my loneliness.” Meanwhile, that’s exactly what Longstreth does with —with 'dwelling' being a mild way of describing his particular expression of heartbreak.“Keep Your Name,” the first song that Longstreth wrote and the first on the album, begins with an accusation: “I don’t know why you abandoned me / You were my soul and my partner.” He sings this in a slowed-down auto-tune—a distortion technique that he uses throughout to represent his inner post-breakup monologue, which might telegraph feelings that he doesn’t actually believe in the present.For example, the bridge of “Keep Your Name” is a rush of distorted mumbles, much like Gollum’s Turrets in . But they he quickly detracts: “That was some stupid s--t.”One of the most biting accusations in “Keep Your Name” comes after the bridge when Longstreth attacks Coffman’s artistic integrity.You’re supposed to keep that information in mind when you listen to “City of No Reply.” You’re supposed to interpret it as an album about “learning to live with yourself” and about “depression [and] self-doubt,” as Coffman told All the themes that Coffman has identified are certainly present on “City of No Reply.” But hearing the album the way Coffman wants you to hear it proves difficult.These songs may have been written with multiple people and relationships in mind, but as a listener it’s hard to imagine any of it is about anyone but Longstreth.But when Longstreth started talking about his work, the reality set in that he was just a musician who happened to go through a sad and public breakup almost four years ago.He had a full beard and spoke gently, listening patiently when I asked pointed questions like why there were a “lack of female voices” on the album.I’m really proud of the album I made and my hope is that people will listen to it on its own terms.I’ve waited a long time to share it and I’m looking forward to it.