In 2008 I moved to the Brooklyn neighborhood known as DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass). The odd acronym was created by artists who moved into the area in the 1970s, when it was an industrial wasteland. The artists enjoyed living and working there, and came up with the goofy name to discourage gentrification - what status-obsessed New Yorker would want to live in a neighborhood called "Dumbo"?
But they could only hold off developers and realtors for so long, and the area eventually gentrified. I didn't realize how deeply this had pervaded when I moved there; I thought I was going to a place where art ruled. I was shocked to discover how long-gone those days were... the population was mostly hipsters and rich folk playing at being artists.
After a while I relocated to Albany, NY. During the moving process, though, I learned that many of my Dumbo neighbors were leaving as well, unable to ride out this recession - the people who priced the artists out were getting priced out themselves. I wrote this song on my way out of town. Some of the vocal was even recorded in my apartment right before I left - you can hear the train going over the Manhattan Bridge in the background. The band was recorded at Brooklyn's Studio G, with the exception of Ralph Carney on clarinet - he tracked his part at his home studio in San Francisco.
"Yuppie Exodus From Dumbo" is full of hipster references, and the genre - Dixieland swing - plays to the retro aesthetic of Brooklyn design and music. I had wanted to make a cylinder record for some time, and this song seemed like the perfect candidate. My friend Michael Doret, a wonderful illustrator who grew up in Brooklyn, designed the label, and we released the song as a limited, signed edition of 50 cylinders. The project was really just for fun - I didn't think we'd sell even a dozen of the things - but here the print run is just about sold out. It's been eye-opening for sure!