Getting To Beirut Of The Problem

Oh, writer’s block is a right old bugger. I’ve tons of stuff to write about; live reviews of Low, Fleet Foxes and M Ward (in short: “brilliant”, “a touch meh”, and “Holy sweet mother of Jebus, how is he doing that?”; lots of new music floating around the ether, and all I can do is sit in front of my screen with my fingers unmoving and my mouse untouched.

They say the best way to get over it is to just write. So here we go.

Stop Blowing That Damned Trumpet And Row, Or You're Sleeping With The Fishes

Beirut. Jewel of the eastern Mediterranean, as well as being the name of a sporadically marvellous band hailing from New York who, over the last five years, have made some charming records using instrumentation not usually heard outside of a dive bar in Bratislava. You know, accordions and that. And now, they are back, with a new record called The Rip Tide, with a single called East Harlem. I’ve no idea what part of the world Zach Condon has trawled to get ideas from for this one, but goddamn it, it sounds fine:

So, that’s my writers block unblocked then. See you in a week.

MP3: East Harlem by Beirut

Amazon’s Beirut Store

New New Music – Jason Lytle, Beirut, Odawas

After my last post of old new music, here’s some newer music. Hey, finger on the pulse!

Jason Lytle, of the sadly defunct Grandaddy, has started to trickle out some songs from his new album. Grandaddy, in my eyes, were one of the finest bands of the naughties (I hate that word but can’t think of anything better). “Crystal Lake” and “Hewlett’s Daughter” still make me go a bit teary. Once saw them playing to about 20 people in Basel, in Switzerland; whilst it was such a shame that hardly anyone came to the show, they still rocked out and looked ever so happy to be there. They’re one of the few bands to properly describe the modern world in song, in a marvellously delicate and detailed way. So, it’s nice to hear the new tune Flying Thru Canyons on his Myspace site. A delicate, piano-led slowie, a little like “Underneath The Weeping Willow”. Can’t wait for the album.

Rather quickly, I can’t understand why Grandaddy are missing from the Pitchfork 500 list. A bizarre omission which I am sure to return to.

Beirut seems to be on a quest to record albums in a different musical style, going from Balkan-esque on Gulag Orkestar (replete with accordians and Slavonic sardony), to French-esque on The Flying Club Cup (replete with more accordians and berets), and now moving into Mexican-ese with March of the Zapotec. I’ve got to say, he’s a brave man, but his charismatic style and eye for a good tune usually sees him through. This track, La Llorona, is one of the highlights of the new album, available from here.

I love Mariachi horns, me.

Odawas. Now, I can’t say a huge amount about these two chaps as I haven’t really found out much about them; I just stumbled across them somehow (the wonders of the Internet, eh?). They’re from Bloomington, Indiana (well, someone has to be) though they have now resettled in California, where it’s warm. This track, taken from their website, is a charming bit of dream-pop in the vein of finest mid-80’s New Order. And some other people. The new album’s called The Blue Depths.

Lastly, is it wrong to really like this?

Harmless Lovers Discourse by Odawas

La Llorona by Beirut