Cleaning Up with the Dirty Projectors

A Brooklyn band, the Dirty Projectors remade a Black Flag album — from memory. They stopped by this year to play a track.

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(Soundbite of song, "Rise Above")

BLACK FLAG (Punk Band): (Singing) Jealous cowards try to control. Rise above, we're gonna rise above. They distort what we say. Rise above, we're gonna rise above. Try and stop what we do. Rise above…

ALISON STEWART, host:

If you're familiar with this song, Black Flag's "Rise Above," you may be surprised with the performance we have coming up next. It's by a band called Dirty Projectors. And it came into being after the songwriter for that group, Dave Longstreth, was cleaning out his old room at his parents' house in Connecticut. He found a cracked, empty cassette case for the Black Flag album "Damaged," and it sparked memories and an idea. Longstreth set about trying to recreate the album entirely from his own memory. What he came up with, what the band played when they stopped by the BPP studios did not sound like the Black Flag version at all. It was strange and beautiful - something very new out of a cracked memory.

(Soundbite of song, "Rise Above")

Mr. DAVE LONGSTRETH (Lead Singer, Dirty Projectors): (Singing) Jealous cowards try control. They understood what we say. Tried to (unintelligible) what we do when they can't do it themselves. We are tired of your of your abuse. Tried to stop us, but it's no use. Society's arms think they're smart. I find satisfaction in what they're lacking. I go on with a chance. And I am not gonna have my chance. Rise above. Rise above. Rise above. Rise above. Rise above. Rise above. Rise above.

STEWART: Daniel Longstreth, Amber Coffman and Angel Deradoorian - the Dirty Projectors, in studio at THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

And that's it for The BPP for this January 1st, 2008. Today not only marks the beginning of the New Year, but also the end here at The BPP. We say goodbye to M.J. Davis. M.J. has been with us from almost the beginning - booking, cutting, mixing audio, running, printing scripts. She handled the pressures of a daily news show with grace and aplomb. We wish her the best of luck as she works her way down to the NPR mother ship in Washington, D.C., where she'll be taking her skill and talent to WEEKEND EDITION SATURDAY with Scott Simon. Thanks for everything, M.J.

Our staff today rolled out of bed or just getting home, Angela Ellis, Caitlin Kenny, Dan Pashman, Ian Chillag, Pauline Bartolone and Wyn Rosenfeld. Our show is directed by Jacob Ganz. Rachel Martin is normally our newscaster. We were ably assisted by sound engineer Josh Rogosin. Tricia McKinney is our editor. Laura Conaway edits our Web site and our blog and was our guest newscaster today. Our senior producer is Matt Martinez. Sharon Hoffman is our executive producer.

I'm your host, Alison Stewart. And today is my big sister's birthday. So happy birthday, Lisa. You can always catch us online at npr.org/bryantpark. This is THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News.

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Dirty Projectors Let Black Flag Fly

The Dirty Projectors' new CD, Rise Above, started when bandleader Dave Longstreth found an empty cassette case. It was for an old Black Flag album, Damaged. "I was kind of like, 'Whoa, there's that album,'" Longstreth says.

Longstreth decided to remake the 1990 punk record — from memory. "I just sort of began writing melodies, and then sort of distinct from the melodies I was making, thinking of the words as well as I could, and then just sort of pairing them as best I could," he says.

The result is more ethereal than thrash, intriguing and hard to catch, and yet true to the original.

The Dirty Projectors' members stop in for a taste of Rise Above.

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