Who? Under the name Beirut, 19-year-old Zach Condon looks to the odd combination of Balkan gypsies and Magnetic Fields mastermind Stephen Merritt to craft his full-length debut, Gulag Orkestar. The album features no guitars, and it owes its lush orchestration to the accordions, violins, and kitchen-sink percussion contributed by ex-Neutral Milk Hotel member Jeremy Barnes and his current Hawk and a Hacksaw collaborator, Heather Trost.
What’s the Deal? Condon may hail from Albuquerque, call Brooklyn his home, and choose Lebanon’s capitol for his nom-de-plume, but this teenager sounds straight up Balkan. His orchestral gypsy dirges feature a string of somber horns that sound fueled on the tears from a torn Soviet Bloc.
Fun Fact: Condon, with his teachers’ permission, skipped class to record music at home. The teenager reportedly made eight albums worth of material during these school-time sessions. JULIA SIMON
Now Hear This: Beirut – “Postcards from Italy” (Download MP3)
Talk: Should you bring your passport to enjoy Beirut? COMMENT
On the Web: beirutband.com