Music » Music Previews

Beirut with Twin Sister at Republic New Orleans


Neutral Milk Hotel's Anne Frank-ingesting magnum opus In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998) is independent rock's best book report, and Gulag Orkestar — the 2005 debut by Beirut, the Middle Eastern-titled, Eastern European-inspired, Santa Fe, N.M.-residing bedroom recordings of (then) 18-year-old Zachary Condon — is its most inked passport. (There's a connection: NMH multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Barnes plays on Gulag.) Condon became infatuated by Balkan folk songs as a teen traveler abroad and he brought some serious spirits back in his suitcase, arisen in the form of lyric trumpets and mournful flugelhorns, skittering ukuleles and polkaing accordions, and a marching band's bass-drum triplet banging out last-dance waltzes and hesitating Slavic second-line dirges. And Condon's finest instrument: his high-pitched hummingbird vocals, carrying vowels over entire measures and always hovering as if he was Morrissey's younger, hostel-hopping cousin. Now two LPs and EPs in and a bona fide sensation in Brazil (whose countrywide 2009 holiday Beirutando na Praca is butchered Portuguese for "Beiruting in the Streets"), the band has settled into a one-trick-pony trot, assembling new songs like Lego sculptures out of the better remnants of old ones. But that single trick is Houdini-esque and the pony is a show horse. Twin Sister, an Ambien-groovy New York pop quintet, opens. Tickets $25 in advance, $28 at the door. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

June 10

Beirut with Twin Sister

10 p.m. Friday

Republic New Orleans, 828 S. Peters St., 528-8282;

Add a comment