In January, member of Vinyl Me, Please Essentials will receive a 10th anniversary edition of Bitte Orca, the landmark 2009 album from Dirty Projectors. Our new edition — the first vinyl reissue of the album — comes on clear vinyl with red and blue blobs, and in an expanded 2-disc edition including live and bonus tracks. You can read our interview with frontman Dave Longstreth about the making of the album here, and read below to learn more about why we picked this album.
Andrew Winistorfer: We picked this because it’s a really great album — as with all our Essentials picks, we try to pick very great albums — and 2009 was a really special year for indie rock. It felt like this year where it really felt like indie rock was gonna overtake whatever mainstream rock was in 2009, which was still like Linkin Park and Creed, or whatever. It felt like this brief year where the biggest rock records of the year were by these weird bands from Brooklyn: Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest, Phoenix’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix — which we did as Essentials earlier in 2019. We had the opportunity to do this Dirty Projectors record for the 10th anniversary; we’re announcing it in 2019, but it’ll actually come out in 2020.
2009 was this really great Golden Period for indie rock, and there are so many records to celebrate from that year. Bitte Orca is sort of the moment where the Dirty Projectors became more than an art rock band. This guy from Yale, Dave Longstreth, had been making pretty weird records leading up to this; this album was the one where this band could suddenly play big theaters, they’re no longer playing lofts in Brooklyn. You actually said you were lookin’ for a song with some bop in it, earlier... “Stillness is the Move” is the boppiest Dirty Projectors record ever.
Michael Penn II: I think we lookin’ for some different kinda bop, Storf…
OK! (laughs) Different kind of bop than indie rock bop. I was music blogging full-time in 2009, and working at Target at night, and this record makes me remember how monumental 2009 felt as an indie rock music blogger to be covering all these records as they were happening. That was still the era where you were waiting for leaks; I remember waking up every morning and being like, “Is the new Grizzly Bear gonna leak? The new Dirty Projectors?” It was just a crazy year.
That was why we ended up picking this for Record of the Month, because it was an opportunity to honor a lot of our membership base that’s closer to my age; they were in their early- to mid-20s when this record came out, and it’s a good little trip into our collective nostalgia to remember this record from 10 years ago.
This one is a really cool colorway: This has never been on color vinyl at all, and the Bitte Orca cover’s very distinct with the big red and blue blobs. We did 2LP clear vinyl with red and blue blobs on record one and two. This is the expanded edition: LP1 is the album, and LP2 has live takes and some b-sides. It comes in a very nice gatefold jacket, and the vinyl color really matches the cover in a smart, fun way.
Michael Penn II (aka CRASHprez) is a rapper and a former VMP staff writer. He's known for his Twitter fingers.