Seems like most indie music fans had no idea that the Balkan's had their own unique brand of folk music before Zach Condon started mining that territory for sonic gold under his Beirut moniker.
Despite being so closely affiliated with the roots music of that region, Beirut has for years now proven itself an enigmatic collective that continuously produces a fresh product -- all while still maintaining a comfortable residence in their chamber-folk-rock wheelhouse.
The group's August-released latest album, The Rip Tide, should again make long-time followers happy: The swelling trumpet work and typically poetic lyrics of Condon complement one another tremendously on this release, and lead single, "Santa Fe" even manages to marry the electro with the brassy. It's a jubilant number that undermines many people's perceptions that Beirut only excels in the quiet, softer side of the indie realm.
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A few months ago, Condon brought Beirut to the Southside Music Hall for a performance that our fearless, departing leader Pete Freedman felt would've been better served in a more intimate environment than the large hall. Seems as though his wishes caught the ear of the parties concerned for bringing Beirut back to Dallas: Tonight, the band will perform in the big room at the Prophet Bar.
Given that the band has been on tour for a while now, we reached out to long-time Beirut bassist Paul Collins to see what his most-played LP's of 2011 are.
Paul Collins of Beirut's All-Time Top Five Most-Played Albums of 2011
1. Julian Lynch - Terra
"Not to sound like a broken record, but I can't stop listening to it, I can't stop listening to it, I can't stop listening to it."
2. Bill Callahan - Apocalypse
"Callahan is an all-time favorite for Beirut. I listened to this album twice, and put it away in disappointment. I picked it up again three months later and was floored. I don't understand why that always seems to happen with my favorite records, but it does."
3. Michael Hurley - First Songs
"'Tea Song' is my song of the year. His Fatboy Spring album might have made this list, too, if I hadn't only purchased the record a week ago."
4. Laetitia Sadier - The Trip
"I listened to this record while driving through Vermont in the fall. The leaves were all changing. Orange, Red, and Yellow. I love Laetitia, and her imagination and creative capacities seem endless. Wonderful music."
5. Six Organs of Admittance - Asleep on the Floodplain
"Ben Chasny is my favorite living guitar player. This record is dark, beautiful, and inspiring. It's my favorite record of his since School of the Flower. This record feels like a prayer."