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The Flying Club CupSince its release in May of 2006, Beirut's internationally celebrated Gulag Orkestar album has soundscanned more than 45,000 copies, and the band has done a tsunami of interviews, photoshoots and features (including NY Times, Spin, Pitchfork, Urb, and Village Voice). This great fervor developed around an album conceived and constructed in a teenager's New Mexico bedroom.
Six months of recording has led to The Flying Club Cup, an homage to France's culture, fashion, history, and music. Two years ago, Zach Condon immersed himself in Balkan folk, absorbed sounds, scales, styles, and the sonic joys of a skeletally structured, cacophonic ensembleoand moved west. Soaking up the likes of Francois Hardy, Charles Aznavour, and, most notably, Jacques Brel (a huge influence on both Scott Walker and Mark E. Smith), Condon has been articulating his conversational French.
Most of the album was created at a nondescript Albuquerque office space, a.k.a. A Hawk and a Hacksaw's practice room; Heather Trost plays violin and viola on three songs. Engineering and production assistance came from Griffin Rodriguez (A Hawk and a Hacksaw, Man Man). He helped separate the many instrumentalists involved in recording, as opposed to Gulag's largely solo flight.The orkestar, which has solidified into a core group of eight members, has grand plans for replicating the album live, and is now an integral part of Beirut's identity. Additional recording was done with Owen Pallet (Final Fantasy) at the Masonic church studio owned by The Arcade Fire.
Within the spectacle and intimacy of The Flying Club Cup, you can hear a love letter to the joie de vivre that defines our existence. Listen closer, and you also hear the emergence of a singular musical talent of Mr. Zachary F. Condon, at present living in Paris-- unbounded by cultural borders and by where his heart travels.
A September-October '07 tour of nice theaters in large U.S. cities is in the planning stages, as are more dates in 2008.
Experience a special series of new Beirut videos at http://flyingclubcup.com
A Call To Arms
A Sunday Smile
Forks And Knives (La Fete)
In The Mausoluem
Un Dernier Verre (Pour La Route)
The Flying Club Cup
Untitled$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
No one could deny Scott Walker is an unpredictable artist. Once the lead singer for the Walker Brothers (famous for their string laden Sixties defining hits Make It Easy On Yourself and The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore) he released his first solo album Scott in 1967. Eschewing all Pop trends at the time, Walker stepped it up a notch, crooning with a nod to Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and chansonnier Jacques Brel. A pretty bold move indeed, in a time when Pop music sounded psychedelic, bare and up-tempo.
His philosophical lyrics are accompanied by lavishly orchestrated tracks making Scott a wildly interesting listen. His approach paid off: the album reached the Top 3 in Great Britain and was the first in a string of very successful solo albums. One of the songs on this album (The Lady Came from Baltimore) was written by Tim Hardin, whose Bird On A Wire is released on March 4.1. Mathilde
2. Montague Terrace (In Blue)
4. The Lady Came From Baltimore
5. When Joanna Loved Me
6. My Death
7. The Big Hurt
8. Such A Small Love
9. You're Gonna Hear From Me
10. Through A Long And Sleepless Night
11. Always Coming Back To You
12. Amsterdam$37.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Down The River Of Golden DreamsOkkervil River's Down the River of Golden Dreams takes the band's hallmarks - lush, eclectic orchestration that evokes chamber pop and soul, lapel-gripping emotional urgency, and the lyrical, direct songwriting of frontman Will Sheff - and expands and elevates them in service of a stunningly ambitious set of new songs.
If last year's Don't Fall in Love with Everyone You See was the middle of the darkest night of the year, Down the River of Golden Dreams is the earliest light of a morning that could either bring the first breeze of spring or a battalion of tornadoes. On it the band stretches their wings, they shake off the fear and trepidation of the last record and try to look life in the face, emboldened by distorted blasts of Wurlitzer, guttural stabs of Hammond organ, urbane strings, and jaunty horns that could be the work of a shitfaced Canadian Brass. Down the River of Golden Dreams combines with Okkervil's trademark melancholy a sense of drama and play at which the last album only hinted. It oozes the band's signature string-destroying folk-rock attack and umbilical chamber-pop swoon, but it also echoes the venomous cabaret of Jacques Brel, the off-kilter swagger of the Faces and Bob Dylan's Blonde On Blonde, and the dusky balladry of Nick Cave. In addition, it displays a new confidence in frontman Will Sheff, whose concise, literary lyrics and emotionally direct delivery are rapidly distinguishing him as one of rock music's best new songwriters.Down the River of Golden Dreams
It Ends With a Fall
For the Enemy
Blanket and Crib
The War Criminal Rises and Speaks
The Velocity of Saul at the Time of his Conversion
Main Island Lovers
Song about a Star
Seas Too Far to Reach$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Realism (Out Of Stock)The Magnetic Fields' third Nonesuch disc, Realism, is the flipside to the industrial pop of Distortion, the quartet's brilliant 2008 homage to, of all things, the clangorous sound of the Jesus and Mary Chain. While Distortion was recorded quickly and noisily in the stairwells and rooms of the New York City apartment building to which singer-songwriter-bandleader Stephen Merritt was about to bid adieu for California, Realism was cut in the distortion-free environs of a Los Angeles studio, and its sound is as pristine as a plein-air painting. There are no drum kits to be heard, and the fascinatingly varied instrumentation - guitars, accordions, violins, cellos, tablas, banjos, tuba, even a smattering of mellifluous falling leaves - did not need to be plugged in. And, as with Distortion, the album credits emphasize: No Synths.
With tongue only slightly in cheek, Merritt has taken to declaring Realism his folk album. To get the point across, there is an upbeat, sing-along number early in the set called We Are Having a Hootenany. Merritt's inspirations, however, were the orchestrated, mostly British folk of the late '60s/early '70s, which owe as much to '60s psychedelia as to traditional music, and the work of Judy Collins, who stretched the boundaries of folk with the chamber pop arrangements of such albums as In My Life and Wildflowers.
Like Collins, Merritt favors variety and theatricality. She skipped from Jacques Brel to the Beatles; he goes from the trippy, toy-box melodies of The Dolls' Tea Party and Painted Flower to the foot-stomping rhythms of The Dada Polka. There's even a deceptively festive holiday number, Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree, featuring a lusty chorus sung in German. In content, Merritt's songs veer between longing and loneliness, desire and dismissal, romance and revenge. Reality is as distorted as ever, and the characters who populate his songs are never just plain folk.
Along with his long-time band-mates Sam Davol, Claudia Gonson and John Woo, Merritt is joined again by vocalist Shirley Simms and accordionist Daniel Handler. Also on board: horn player Johnny Blood and violinist Ida Pearle, familiar to fans of Magnetic Fields' earlier, independently released work.1. You Must Be Out of Your Mind
3. We Are Having a Hootenanny
4. I Don't Know What to Say
5. The Dolls' Tea Party
6. Everything Is One Big Christmas Tree
7. Walk a Lonely Road
8. Always Already Gone
9. Seduced and Abandoned
10. Better Things
11. Painted Flower
12. The Dada Polka
13. From a Sinking Boat$19.99Vinyl LP & CD - Sealed Temporarily out of stock