NPR’s First Listen series is currently streaming the new Beirut album, which isn’t due out until the end of the month. After just one listen, I am already a huge fan of The Rip Tide. No surprise here though, I have devoured with great pleasure everything that Zach Condon and company have previously released, and I think this album will be no different. Musically it picks up right where they left off; another gorgeous baroque pop album with some absolutely fantastic arrangements. It’s a short record, clocking in at just over 33 minutes, but it packs quite a punch. I just found it to be breathtakingly beautiful, especially the short and sweet “Goshen.” Anyway, I am a fan of the record, but fortunately you can check it out for yourself before making the purchase. It will be streaming here until its official release date on August 30th. Go here to download the first single, “East Harlem.”
Just heard another new Beirut single this week and it has me even more excited for the release of The Rip Tide, which is slated for a digital release on August 2nd. Physical copies will hit stores later that month on the 3oth. It is coming out on Pompeii Records, Zach Condon’s own record label. If you haven’t heard his first single he released, you can find it here.
Buy Beirut’s phenomenal debut album for only $5 here – Gulag Orkestar
It’s been way too long since I have posted anything new on here and it’s been way even longer since we have gotten anything new from the incredibly talented Zach Condon. No news yet on a new album coming anytime soon. But they have apparently been performing a few new songs at their live shows and will be selling “East Harlem” on an exclusive 7-inch single that you can order here, which gives me hope that we might yet receive a new full-length from them by the year’s end. Either way this gorgeous and catchy tune should hold you over for quite some time.
Beirut – East Harlem by Revolver USA
8. Neko Case
Middle Cyclone – 03/03
This girl just keeps getting better and better. I find myself jumping at any chance to hear her voice, whether it is just backing up her bandmate A.C. Newman with their innovative rock band the New Pornographers, or as in this case singing the lead on a solo album. Although, fortunately for us, the term solo is very relative. Throughout the album she is surrounded by great talent with the guestlist including M. Ward, Garth Hudson, Sarah Harmer and members of the New Pornographers, Los Lobos and Calexico, to name a few. In addition to twelve new songs that Neko wrote herself, Middle Cyclone includes covers of ‘Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth’ by Sparks, and “Don’t Forget Me” by Harry Nilsson. All I have heard is this first single that she has given away for free. But it is unsurprisingly rumored to be her best yet. As if I haven’t given you enough reason to go get this album, she recently graced the cover of Paste Magazine.
Check out this great video on the making of the album.
7. Samantha Crain
Songs in the Night – 4/28
The creators of my favorite EP of the year, are set to release their full-length debut this April. Samantha Crain hails from the tiny little town in Oklahoma where my beautiful bride attended college. So it has been fun to see how much attention she is getting lately. The album is going to be released on Ramseur Records, home of the Avett Brothers and the Everybodyfields, two bands that have been getting a lot of playtime in my library. Along with her band the Midnight Shivers (Jacob Edwards, Andrew Tanz and Stephen Sebastian), Crain recorded all twelve tracks in five days at Echo Mountain Studios with producer Danny Kadar (Grizzly Bear, My Morning Jacket). Here are two Daytrotter performances of tracks from the new album.
March of the Zapotec/Realpeople Holland - 2/24
Zach Condon is absolutely phenomenal and I am so extremely excited about this album. As I am listening to the few tracks that have leaked so far, I am having a hard time imagining how I could be any more excited about an album. But apperently I can, for I have five more to go. If you are unfamiliar with Beirut, it is Balkan music filled with some of the most gorgeous horn arrangements you’ve ever heard, made by a kid from Santa Fe, New Mexico. In just a matter of weeks he gives us his third official release with a double EP, March of the Zapotec, Realpeople Holland. The latter of the two appears to be synth-driven, which is something completely new from him. It should be fun, but I am definitely glad that March of the Zapotec seems to be just building off of their usual style. I’ve heard a track from each, and honestly he’s never sounded better.
5. Andrew Bird
Noble Beast – 1/20
Yes I know, this album has already been released. Therefore, I am no longer anticipating this album, but rather I am in the middle of digesting it. But I am taking my time and savoring every moment. But it seems that is what you must do with an Andrew Bird record. I find my self just sitting for hours chewing not on just his intricate string-filled melodies, but also on his carefully chosen words. Like many of his previous records I have found myself curling up with a dictionary as I prepare to be taken into his whistly lit-pop world. Noble Beast is nothing new, but that makes it no less exciting. And so far it is very deserving of this number five spot on my list.
Andrew Bird performing Fitz and Dizzyspells on Letterman.