#8 on the 2009 Musical Advent Calendar
March of the Zapotec/Holland by Beirut
When I first saw Zach Condon and his orchestral masterpiece of a band Beirut perform, Condon wasn’t allowed to drink or hang out in the club before or after his performance due to the fact that he was only 20 years old. What were you doing at 20? Certainly not leading 6-7 talented musicians, all of whom were older than you by a number of years, in a full set of songs written by you. That was in 2006, and the band was touring to promote their excellent debut album Gulag Orkestar. Fast forward to earlier this year, when we see the third release from Condon and his band of merriment, a double EP.
The first disc, March of the Zapotec, was inspired by Condon’s trip to Oaxaca, Mexico. You can hear definite Mexican-inspired themes in the horns found in the video above, for the song La Llorona. According to Wikipedia:
The Jimenez Band, a 19-piece band from Teotitlán del Valle, backs Condon on this EP… Owen Cook animated and directed the video, which is thematically related to the legend of La Llorona, a popular story in Spanish-speaking countries.
The second disc, attributed to Zach Condon’s electronic-music making alter ego “Realpeople,” is called Holland. And I’ll be damned if the kid, now 23, doesn’t excel to great heights within this very different genre of music as well. The fifth song on this disc, “No Dice,” is going to be one of my top all-time songs, I just know it.
It’s safe to say Beirut is quite unlike any other current band I listen to. There are a couple bands I hear hints of (Neutral Milk Hotel, Devotchka) other bands, but they are only the tiniest of glimmers. And it’s precisely that, the fact they sound unlike anyone else, that I believe will make them appealing to a wide audience. Give them a shot.
Come back tomorrow for a surprise from the best-selling artist on the countdown.
9. There is no Enemy by Built to Spill
10. Dark Was The Night, a Red Hot Compilation
11. The Mountain by the Heartless Bastards
12. Creaturesque by Throw Me The Statue
13. Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band by Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
14. Horehound by The Dead Weather
15. Promenade by Grand Hallway
16. Grand by Matt & Kim
17. Blood Bank EP by Bon Iver
18. Fever Ray by Fever Ray
19. Tell ’Em What Your Name Is by Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears
20. Mo Beauty by Alec Ounsworth
21. Here Comes Science by They Might Be Giants
22. Noble Beast by Andrew Bird
23. Hungry Bird by Clem Snide
24. Actor by St. Vincent
25. Elvis Perkins in Dearland by Elvis Perkins in Dearland
26. XX by the XX
27. Grrr… by Bishop Allen
28. Keep It Hid by Dan Auerbach
29. It’s Blitz! by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs
30. Beware by Bonnie “Prince” Billie
31. Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear