November 21 2011
This week's free download comes from the band Beirut, which is the project of Santa Fe native Zachary Francis Condon. The song, "Santa Fe," comes from Beirut's latest release "The Rip Tide." You can catch Beirut in Milwaukee at Turner Hall Ballroom on November 30, 2011.
In a typical teenager’s New Mexico bedroom, Zach Condon recorded Gulag Orkestar shortly after quitting college, with some help from local musicians Jeremy Barnes and Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw). For him, it was nothing new, having recorded hundreds of songs since he was fifteen the same way. This time, however, a flood of attention followed, as online raves lead to reverential fandom, international acclaim, and a tsunami of interviews, photoshoots and features, as Condon and his newly formed band traveled to Russia, Poland, Turkey and throughout North America and Europe.
Astonishingly, he proved himself as talented a bandleader as composer. New songs were written, album songs reworked, and the band’s shows quickly developed to dramatic heights far beyond its mere months-long existence. This band went on to record an EP, Lon Gisland, in 2007, which marked the first Beirut recordings with the live ensemble. Half a year later, Beirut came out with another album, The Flying Club Cup. Inspired by an obscure photo from 1910 depicting hot air balloons taking flight mere steps away from the Eiffel Tower, an image Zach stuck to the wall for inspiration, The Flying Club Cup is an homage to France’s culture, fashion, history and music.
In 2009, Beirut released the double EP March of the Zapotec & Realpeople: Holland. The first was partly recorded in Oaxaca with the Mexican Banda Jimenez, and a more pronounced South-American flavor. The second EP ‘Holland’ was credited to Condon’s old name Realpeople and consists of five electrotracks.
Summer 2011 saw the release of The Rip Tide on Condon’s own Pompeii Label, Beirut’s first proper LP since The Flying Club Cup. Written in isolation during a snowy upstate winter, the album marked a stark change in emotional direction, that is to say, inward. Reflecting less on the travels and travails borne of the wanderlust struck musician, instead, The Rip Tide has crystallized the sounds of Beirut’s past into a cohesive and remarkable whole, all while maintaining the unmistakable aesthetic that has brought them around the world, and home again.