On the debut Gulag Orkestar, Beirut leader Zach Condon took Balkan music — which is often performed by as many musicians as possible without collapsing the stage — and boiled it down to a one-man bedroom act. But touring requires that he share the horn and string workload with an eight-piece band, who finally get their studio time on Lon Gisland. The EP is livelier than the mostly stoic debut, replacing the dirge-like anthems with bittersweet lilts (“Elephant Gun”) and driving instrumentals (“My Family's Role in the World Revolution”). It also features a full-band reworking of Gulag's “Scenic World,” with an accordion humanizing the original's electronic bossa nova backbone. In recent interviews, Condon said that his next album will forgo Balkan folk in favor of French cabaret pop. As promising as another round of eastern European studies would have been, the idea of Condon working his wail-and-croon routine over a new batch of appropriated sounds has me even more curious.
By Jesse Jarnow on 09.25.14 in Features
Behind the sadness of the Clean drummer's hushed, moving debut.
By Rachael Maddux on 02.19.13 in Reviews
The first two minutes of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper's Ripely Pine seem to reinforce the notion of fragile acquiescence that 23-year-old Aly Spaltro's stage name suggests. "Take me by the arm to the altar/ Take me by the col...
By Brian Cullman on 04.22.11 in Reviews
This album is so damn charming that it's easy to overlook its wit, sophistication and sheer musicality. Like Sufjan Stevens, Rufus Wainwright and Ray Davies, Beirut mastermind Zach Condon has an unashamedly white Ang...
By Amelia Raitt on 04.22.11 in Reviews
For those who loved Beirut's Zach Condon for the simple fact of his genre mashing of indie rock and Balkan music on Gulag Orkestar, you'll find little to love on Pompeii. But for those who love Condon for the sla...