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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

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