Swing Lo Magellan

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Swing Lo Magellan
Swing Lo Magellan.jpg
Studio album by Dirty Projectors
Released July 10, 2012
Recorded 2011
Length 42:00
Label Domino
Producer Dave Longstreth
Dirty Projectors chronology
Mount Wittenberg Orca
(2010)Mount Wittenberg Orca2010
Swing Lo Magellan
About to Die EP
(2012)About to Die EP2012
Singles from Swing Lo Magellan
  1. "Gun Has No Trigger"
    Released: July 10, 2012
  2. "About to Die"
    Released: November 6, 2012
  3. "Offspring Are Blank"
    Released: February 25, 2013
  4. "The Socialites"
    Released: May 13, 2013

Swing Lo Magellan is the sixth studio album by American experimental rock group Dirty Projectors, which was released on Domino Records on July 10, 2012 in the United States and July 9, 2012 internationally.[1]


Album cover[edit]

The album cover features Dave Longstreth and Amber Coffman talking to one of their neighbors in Upstate New York, where Swing Lo Magellan was recorded. The photo was taken by Dave Longstreth's brother.[2][3]


The album was written, recorded, produced and mixed by Dirty Projectors frontman Dave Longstreth in Delaware County, New York. Swing Lo Magellan recording sessions spanned a year and resulted in around 40 demos. The album was not recorded with Angel Deradoorian, who left the band.[4]

Longstreth wanted Swing Lo Magellan to be a collection of individual songs instead of an album united by a single theme, unlike with previous albums. In addition, Longstreth sought to write more personal songs.[2]

Style and influences[edit]

Swing Lo Magellan has been described as more "beats-driven" and more accessible than previous Dirty Projectors albums. For specific influences, critics and Longstreth himself have cited a variety of influences, ranging from popular music acts such as Nirvana, Lil Wayne, Michael Jackson, Neil Young, En Vogue and Blind Willie Johnson to classical music composers such as Arnold Schoenberg and György Ligeti.[5][6][7]


Swing Lo Magellan's first single, "Gun Has No Trigger", was released on March 30, 2012 and was selected as a Best New Track by Pitchfork Media on April 2.[8] On June 8, 2012, a music video for "Gun Has No Trigger" was released. The music video was visually influenced by Apple Inc.'s iPod commercials and by the default profile images used on Facebook and Gmail.[9] On June 14, 2012, a second song from the album, "Dance for You," was released online.[10] Swing Lo Magellan was streamed in its entirety on July 2, 2012.[5]

A film featuring music from Swing Lo Magellan, titled Hi Custodian, was released on September 7, 2012.[11] The film, which features band members inhabiting a variety of characters in a surreal narrative about spiritual death and rebirth, was directed by Longstreth and was influenced by Runaway and Purple Rain.[12]

The album peaked at #22 on the Billboard 200 and #2 on the Independent Albums chart.[13]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 80/100[14]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 3.5/5 stars[15]
The A.V. Club A−[16]
Entertainment Weekly B[17]
The Guardian 4/5 stars[18]
The Independent 4/5 stars[19]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[20]
NME 7/10[21]
Pitchfork 8.8/10[22]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[23]
Spin 9/10[24]

Swing Lo Magellan received general acclaim from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 80, based on 41 reviews, indicating "Generally favorable reviews".[14]

Spin's Dan Weiss called Swing Lo Magellan "The Dirty Projectors' best album by a mile," describing the album as "[..] all magnificent wobble, no collapse." Weiss also praised the female vocals, writing "[..] the female singers [..] buttress Longstreth, rather than rescuing him from the car wreck of his own voice."[24] Chris Mincher of The A.V. Club gave the album a grade of A-, writing "But where Longstreth’s quirks have often felt carefully calculated, here they come off as spontaneous improvisations or even mistakes. This relaxed, informal execution makes Swing Lo Magellan seem vulnerable, imperfect, and earnestly human. By easing off on all the wizardry—as impressive as it is—Longstreth creates room to actually feel something."[16] Pitchfork's Grayson Currin gave the album a Best New Music designation, writing "The band's least ornate batch of songs to date builds upon Longstreth's most direct and identifiable lyrics ever. Which means that Dirty Projectors have upped their emotional and structural accessibility all at once."[22] Alex Niven of The Quietus described the album as "strikingly warm, organic, and intricately drawn" and noted the "basic primal glee in encountering Longstreth's psychedelic neologisms as they crop up".[25] Thomas May of musicOMH also praised the album, writing "Swing Lo Magellan affords generous breathing space to Dirty Projectors' music: a context in which new levels of unpretentious eloquence positively flourish."[26]

Not all critics were entirely positive towards the album. Entertainment Weekly's Darren Franich wrote "It [Swing Lo Magellan] should be thrillingly anarchic; instead, it just meanders."[17] Aneet Nijjar of AllMusic acknowledged that some listeners might find the band's "rather knowing idiosyncrasy" to be "off-putting and smug."[15] Blurt wrote that while Swing Lo Magellan was "instantly likeable," the album "unravels into nonsense and complexity on second glance."[27] Alex Wilson of Tiny Mix Tapes did not find the album engaging and criticized the music's inability to match the ideas behind the album. Wilson concluded: "Simply put, the music on Swing Lo can’t support its great ideas. [..] Maybe time will prove me completely and utterly wrong, but as far as I can tell, nothing on Swing Lo walks by itself."[28]


On 5 December 2012, Swing Lo Magellan was nominated for Best Recording Package at the 55th Grammy Awards.[29] On December 20, 2012, Pitchfork Media ranked the album #15 on its list of the top 50 albums of 2012, writing: "For some bands, maturity means getting softer. For bands as talented and skeptical of routine as this one, it means getting better."[30] The album also placed #50 on Rolling Stone's list of the top 50 albums of 2012.[31] The album was listed 10th on Stereogum's list of top 50 albums of 2012.[32]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Offspring Are Blank" 4:01
2. "About to Die" 3:59
3. "Gun Has No Trigger" 3:24
4. "Swing Lo Magellan" 2:38
5. "Just from Chevron" 4:07
6. "Dance for You" 3:24
7. "Maybe That Was It" 3:57
8. "Impregnable Question" 2:43
9. "See What She Seeing" 3:40
10. "The Socialites" 3:49
11. "Unto Caesar" 3:38
12. "Irresponsible Tune" 2:47

Bonus 7" Single[edit]

Early versions of the 'Deluxe Limited Edition First Pressing' of the album sold at some Independent Music stores in the UK included a 7" vinyl single containing two tracks not included on the album. The record was also available for free at all U.S. shows on its summer tour. Its Domino Records catalog number is DNO1012.[33]

  1. Side A: "Buckle Up"
  2. Side B: "Desire To Love"


Dirty Projectors[edit]

Additional Musicians[edit]


  • Rob Moose - violin (2, 6, 9 and 11)
  • Nadia Sirota - viola (2, 6, 9 and 11)
  • Clarince Jensen - cello (2, 6, 9 and 11)
  • Alex Sopp - flutes (2, 6, 9 and 11)
  • Hideaki Aomori - clarinets, saxophone (2, 6, 9 and 11)
  • CJ Camerieri - trumpet, horn (2, 6, 9 and 11)

Recording personnel[edit]

  • David Longstreth - producer, arranger, mixing
  • Donato Paternostro - engineering, additional mixing (6, 7, 8 and 10)
  • Carl Barc - additional mixing (6, 7, 8 and 10)
  • Bob Ludwig - mastering


  • Jake Longstreth - cover photograph
  • David Longstreth - art direction, design
  • Rob Carmichael - design


Chart (2012) Peak
US Billboard 200 22[34]
US Billboard Independent Albums 2[34]
US Billboard Alternative Albums 4[34]
US Billboard Rock Albums 4[34]


  1. ^ Minsker, Evan. Dirty Projectors Announce New Album. Pitchfork Media. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  2. ^ a b Stosuy, Brandon. Interviews: Dirty Projectors. Pitchfork Media. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  3. ^ Singh, Amrit. Dirty Projectors’ David Longstreth On Wonderful Rainbows, Being Vulnerable, And The Cowardice In Modern Music. Stereogum. 9 July 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  4. ^ DIRTY PROJECTORS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM 'SWING LO MAGELLAN'. Domino Records. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  5. ^ a b Longstreth, David. Inspiration in the Bible and the Beats. New York Times. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  6. ^ On Nickelback, Lil Wayne and Nirvana: Dirty Projectors David Longstreth Shares The Thirteen Artists Who Inspired 'Swing Lo Magellan'. Pedestrian.tv. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  7. ^ Needham, Alex. Dirty Projectors - cool in any language. The Guardian. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  8. ^ Neyland, Nick. Dirty Projectors: "Gun Has no Trigger". Pitchfork Media. 2 April 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  9. ^ Tedder, Michael. Video: Dirty Projector's "Gun Has No Trigger". NBC New York Nonstop. 8 June 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  10. ^ Fitzmaurice, Larry. Listen: New Dirty Projectors: "Dance for You". Pitchfork Media. 14 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  11. ^ Putrino, Matt. Dirty Projectors' "Hi Custodian" Film Gets Release Date, NYC Premiere Info. prefixmag.com. 16 August 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  12. ^ Watch the Full Trailer for the Dirty Projectors Film. Pitchfork Media. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 9 July 2012.
  13. ^ https://www.billboard.com/artist/300989/dirty+projectors/chart
  14. ^ a b "Reviews for Swing Lo Magellan by Dirty Projectors". Metacritic. Retrieved July 13, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b Nijjar, Aneet. "Swing Lo Magellan – Dirty Projectors". AllMusic. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Mincher, Chris (July 10, 2012). "Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan". The A.V. Club. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  17. ^ a b Franich, Darren (July 3, 2012). "Swing Lo Magellan". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  18. ^ Petridis, Alexis (June 28, 2012). "Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan". The Guardian. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  19. ^ Price, Simon (July 8, 2012). "Album: Dirty Projectors, Swing Lo Magellan (Domino)". The Independent. Archived from the original on August 24, 2014. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  20. ^ Wood, Mikael (July 10, 2012). "Album Review: Dirty Projectors' 'Swing Lo Magellan'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  21. ^ Gardner, Noel (July 8, 2012). "Dirty Projectors – 'Swing Lo Magellan'". NME. Archived from the original on April 9, 2016. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  22. ^ a b Currin, Grayson (July 9, 2012). "Dirty Projectors: Swing Lo Magellan". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  23. ^ Hermes, Will (July 13, 2012). "Swing Lo Magellan". Rolling Stone. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  24. ^ a b Weiss, Dan (July 9, 2012). "Dirty Projectors, 'Swing Lo Magellan' (Domino)". Spin. Retrieved July 10, 2012. 
  25. ^ Niven, Alex. "Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan". The Quietus. Retrieved 12 September 2012. 
  26. ^ May, Thomas (9 July 2012). "Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan". musicOMH. Retrieved 10 July 2012. 
  27. ^ Swing Lo Magellan by Dirty Projectors. Blurt. Retrieved 10 July 2012.
  28. ^ Wilson, Alex (10 July 2012). "Dirty Projectors - Swing Lo Magellan (Domino)". Tiny Mix Tapes. Retrieved 11 July 2012. 
  29. ^ Frank Ocean Up for Six Grammys, Including Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Best New Artist. Pitchfork. 5 December 2012. Retrieved 6 December 2012.
  30. ^ The Top 50 Albums of 2012. Pitchfork. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
  31. ^ 50 Best Albums of 2012. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 23 December 2012.
  32. ^ http://stereogum.com/1210661/stereogums-top-50-albums-of-2012/franchises/listomania/
  33. ^ Kaye, Ben. Dirty Projectors reveal tour-only 7″. Consequence of Sound. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  34. ^ a b c d Swing Lo Magellan - Charts & Awards. Allmusic. Retrieved 1 August 2012

External links[edit]