The release of Beirut’s Gulag Orkestar on the Ba Da Bing! label
(home to that great noise band, The Spiney Ant Eaters) is important because it heralds
the arrival of a real musical talent, in the person of lyricist, vocalist, and
ukulele player, Zach Condon.
This debut is also very important because it points towards and adds to the loose
alternative music collection of bands known as the Elephant 6 Collective.
The main 90’s Elephant 6 Bands (Apples in Stereo, Neutral Milk Hotel,
Olivia Tremor Control, Gerbils, Minders, Of Montreal, etc.) have provided
us ‘authentic music nuts’ with music documents (i.e. CDs) of unparalleled beauty,
honesty and musical experimentation.
I highly recommend any of the Elephant 6 CDs. It is former Neutral Milk Hotel
bandmember Jeremy Barnes, who helped Zach Condon put the
Gulag Orkestar CD together and he also plays on several tracks.
This is why the CD might be mistaken for the new Neutral Milk Hotel release
we’ve all been waiting for.
Not to worry, Gulag Orkestar delivers on all of the goals of
musicality, authenticity and search for new sounds that has been the
target of the Elephant 6 family for the last 10 years. Other bands that are
in some way part of the Elephant 6 family are Beulah, Essex Green, Elf Power,
Marshmellow Coast, and Music Tapes.
Beirut, Gulag Orkestar, Ba Da Bing!
Mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side
scanned from the CD:
Cover photo (top photo) ” … found in a library in Leipzig torn out of a book.
If anybody knows the photographer, please get in touch.”
other photos by: Ben Goldberg
OTHER MUSIC, JUNE 12, 2006
Zach Condon, aka Beirut, (foreground) in black shirt, plays at an in-store concert
at OTHER MUSIC, on June 12, 2006.
with him Beirut tour band musician, Paul Collins.
Photo: Nancy Smith