Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beirut - Gulag Orkestar

Beirut – Gulag Orkestar

Ba Da Bing!, 2006

Acquired: Love Garden, New, 2006

Price: $14

Oh man I love this record. I bought it because a) I’d listened to my downloaded version of it so many times that it warranted my purchase of the record on vinyl (note: if I listen to a record more than seven times that probably means that I really like it and make an effort to buy a copy of it) and b) I really love owning records with beautiful album covers, and this is one of my favorites in recent memory. A photograph culled from a library in Leipzig of two women sitting on a car. Beautiful and mysterious and classic. It fits the record, which is beautiful and mysterious and classic. It’s like a dream of Eastern Europe through the eyes of a fascinated kid from New Mexico with Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeremy Barnes drumming and maybe influencing Zach Condon’s horn arrangements, which I believe I defined as “Neutral Milky” in my KJ review. “Postcards from Italy” would probably be in my Top 25 Favorite songs of all time (I know it’s a new one, but shit, it’s a perfect song) and is easily one of the Top 10 songs of the decade. It never gets old for me, other than in the sense that it’s like an old friend. Listening to this is making me wish I picked up a copy of the Lon Gisland EP when there were still copies at Love Garden. It cost as much as this record and had half the songs, but it would have been worth it for “Elephant Gun” alone, which is a very close second in the canon of Condon’s monster jams. But seriously, “Postcards from Italy” is playing right now and I’m still going to say that it is a perfect song. Like, that ukulele breakdown followed by that horn line, goddamnit. Goddamnit Zach Condon! HOW DID YOU WRITE THIS SONG! It seems so simple but the arrangement is so tediously put together that it seems impossible to imagine you making this song! That’s the beauty of it, I cannot understand how it exists and while I want to know how some people can be so talented, I’ll settle for just getting to listen to this perfect song over and over and over again.

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