Like a lot of bands these days, Beirut didn’t get its start in a garage, but rather in a bedroom. That’s where a young Zach Condon started recording songs on his own. But Condon had acquired musical influences beyond what the average teen is usually exposed to; legend has it that, while traveling throughout Europe after quitting high school, Condon became enchanted with Balkan Folk and traditional Eastern European sounds, an influence that became a big part of Beirut’s style.
Beirut started officially coming together in Albuquerque, N.M., when Condon enlisted Jeremy Barnes (ex-Neutral Milk Hotel member and leader of his own group, A Hawk and a Hacksaw) and Heather Trost (also of AHAAH) to help him record Beirut’s surprising debut, Gulag Orkestar.
Condon signed with Jersey label Ba Da Bing!, then relocated to Brooklyn and assembled a live band. Gulag came out in 2006 and quickly became a critical smash. Since the debut, Beirut’s fan base continued to increase as Condon released a few unusual but fascinating EPs, including an all electronic one and one recorded with a 19-piece Mexican band (the divergent EPs were packaged together as March of the Zapotec/Holland).
Beirut plays Bogart's Friday with Ramesh. Go here for Mike Breen's full Sound Advice.