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There has to be a sick clown car of psychosis constantly doing doughnuts inside the mind of Dirty Projectors mastermind and Ivy League dropout Dave Longstreth. How else would he get the idea to re-imagine the Black Flag anthem “Rise Above” as a multilayered tapestry of soothing vocals and loungy loops? At this point, the iconic track is nearly unrecognizable—but it works, mainly because he doesn’t result to the usual gimmicks such as self-congratulatory irony. Longstreth is just creative and ballsy enough to take a mainstay and funnel it through his own fractured perception. The man seems to love nothing more than to flirt with both sides of a paradox, being more than willing to take wild conceptual risks but still provide enough rhythms and enticing choruses to offer up a tiny taste of accessibility. It’s no wonder a place like Yale, with its overly starched Thurston Howell types, couldn’t hold onto this guy.
Dirty Projectors performs with No Kids at 9 p.m. at the Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. —Maggie Serota