Tag Archives: Beirut

9 of the best – sounds of noughties

It would seem that 2004 was peak noughties (to these ears…):

The Avalanches – Since I Left You (2000)

 The Strokes – Modern Age (2001)

The Flaming Lips – Do You Realize? (2002)

Broken Social Scene – Stars And Sons (2003)

The Walkmen – The Rat (2004)

Sébastien Tellier – La Ritournelle (2004)

Sigur Rós – Hoppípolla (2005)

 Midlake – Bandits (2006)

Beirut – Nantes (2007)

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Honourable mentions also go to: Lambchop for ‘Up With The People’ (2000); Outkast for ‘Ms. Jackson’ (2000); Ian Brown for ‘F. E. A. R.’ (2001); The Shins for ‘New Slang‘ (2002); Kings Of Leon for ‘Red Morning Light‘ (2003); Radiohead for ‘A Wolf At The Door’ (2003); Mew for ‘Comforting Sounds’ (2003); Kasabian for ‘Club Foot’ (2004); Danger Mouse for his remix of ‘Public Service Announcement’ (2004); The Good, the Bad and the Queen for ‘Herculean’ (2006); The Hold Steady for ‘The Chillout Tent‘ (2006); The Strokes for ‘You Only Live Once’ (2006); and Jay Electronica for ‘Exhibit C’ (2009).

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Beirut – Elephant Gun (2007)

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Ten years ago, Beirut were in their pomp. Originally a musical project of Santa Fe native Zach Condon, the band’s first performance was in New York in May 2006, to support the release of their debut album, Gulag Orkestar. By January 2007,  they carried their critical acclaim into the release of their first EP Lon Gisland. Its opening track ‘Elephant Gun’ again combined elements of indie rock and world music so successfully. Prodigious stuff; Condon was still only 20. Have a great week.

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Beirut – Nantes (2007)

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Beirut 2007

“Well it’s been a long time, long time now since I’ve seen you smile.” The initial sadness of Beirut’s ‘Nantes’ is percolated with waves of percussion, brass and an organ riff that could be straight off a Metronomy track. For those of you have not listened to Zach Condon et al’s gypsy-folk-infused The Flying Club Cup, please take the time to do so. It’s a tonic.

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Beirut – Santa Fe (2011)

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Beirut’s Zach Condon released his debut album The Gulag Orkestar at the age of 19, having been inspired by the Balkan folk music he heard on his gap year travels. That’s youthful confidence for you. By his third long player The Rip Tide, you can still hear the frilly brass and accordions, but throw in a Talking Heads riff and you have ‘Santa Fe’. A song for a sunny day. We need one of those in Blighty soon (and perhaps their boat).

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Neutral Milk Hotel – In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)

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The long player In the Aeroplane Over the Sea was a definitive release. It’s lo-fi and not easy to listen to, but you can hear greatness as the dynamics evolve from track to track. I feature one song, but the album really needs to be listened to in its entirety. Jeff Mangum’s edgy vocals, the surreal lyrics, the psychedelic instrumentals and those blissful horns are all remarkable. Beirut, Arcade Fire, The Decemberists, Okkervil River et al would take note. The title track’s “beautiful face” is that of Anne Frank, the reference point for the whole album – so it’s all pretty gothic too.

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Beirut – Postcards From Italy (2006)

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Are these guys really from New Mexico? And if so, are they all called Vratko and Miroslav?! As Pitchfork quite astutely posed on release, perhaps these songs are really incredible or perhaps they simply mimic and mine musical traditions unfamiliar to the average indie rock fan. But as I quite esoterically thought at the time, I don’t care. Take me to the Gypsy caravans, mournful accordions and wood-smoke air of Albuquerque now.

(MOMENT ALERT: BTW, I love ‘moments’ in songs and this has two – trumpets at 2:02 and the rest of the instruments at 2:55. Enjoy.)

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