Released: May 2006
Label: Ba Da Bing!
Gulag Orkestar drops you in Eastern Europe with a young high school dropout from New Mexico as your tour guide. Zach Condon, just 20 upon this debut release, is the prodigy behind Beirut: he sings with a Rufus Wainwright drawl and plays multiple instruments (saxophone, clarinet, mandolin, accordion, etc.). His song titles suggest a German influence, but the music within is steeped in traditional Balkan folk and the mariachi of the American Southwest. The gypsy spirit and romanticism is all framed by tightly structured indie pop that bursts with wonder, wistfulness and wanderlust.