Dirty Beaches – Badlands [Review]

I missed the boat when Dirty Beaches played a few Ottawa shows in late 2010.
Now his tunes are being featured on Pitchfork.
I did some research. I was not aware that Dirty Beaches is a one-man musician.
When I read the name Alex Zhang Hungtai, I was like “He is Chinese!!” (Technically Taiwanese if we’re being politically correct).
I feel we need more Asians representing the indie music scene. (Though I have been listening to the Far East Movement.)

Here’s what I’ve gathered from various sites, blogs and press releases:
He has lived in Toronto, Honolulu, Montreal, and now Vancouver.
Badlands will be his first album/LP on Zoo Music (USA) and Fixture Records (CAN if they are releasing it…) and will drop on March 29, 2011.
His music has been called “Minimalist Rockabilly.”
Its eight tracks of what I like to call lo-fi experimental rock transport you back to the era when rockabilly was popular.
For those who might hear this album for the first time, you shouldn’t adjust your speakers–he intended to make his music with the lo-fi distorting fuzzy sound.
The vocals are so reminiscent of Elvis.
In the song “A Hundred Highways” there is a sample he uses and I can’t quite pinpoint the name of the original song it comes from.
The track “Lord Knows Best”, he sings like a tragic ballad and uses a sample from Francoise Hardy’s Voila.

Listening to the whole album, there was a sense of 1960s nostalgia.
It’s a great and sometimes dreamy artfully experimental record.
He might not cater to the mainstream masses but surely will cater to the indie masses who adore this kind of music.
2011 will be a highlight for his music.
Best tracks:

I’d give Badlands 9.5/10.
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  1. Hi


    Just wanted to tell you that the sample he uses in “A Hundred Highway” is “Night Of The Assassins” by the japanese band Les Rallizes Dénudés, form their record “Live ’77”.

    Great record, nice review by the way

    Ok, bye.

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