Dirty Beaches: Badlands


Alex Zhang Hungtai, aka Dirty Beaches channels his music through a cattle chute of nostalgia.  Born in Taiwan, but never having a settle home, Hungtai moved around for most of his life due to a separated family.  Five years ago, he moved to Montreal to pursue his solo efforts after being fired from a metal band for “trying to sing like David Bowie”.  Since then, he’s released three 7” singles and a verified full-length titled Badlands.  It’s a dust covered montage of a drugged up Elvis performing to a late-night crowd.  Badlands is only eight tracks long; each a lo-fi drift on a night road.  It includes a cover of a Patti Smith song (“Horses”) done to trilling perfection, and a jungle beat prowler (“Sweet 17”).  There are lighter and upbeat moments though, filled with all of the old-timey tricks from the 1950’s: elongated non-verbal lady choruses and confessions of love done by prose.  “Lord Knows Best”, a lovely twiddle on your mind, features a sample from a Francoise Hardy track called Voila.  According to Hungtai, the record is kind of a two-sider:

Side A will be all bangers, with songs about leaving, and being chased on the road, and driving a burning car into oblivion. Side B will be ballads, and dirges laced with murder and lament”

The whole album sounds as if you’re taking a fleeting peek into a world through a hole in the wall; a drug induced trek through a time warp.  You’ll see and feel things from the past, but it’ll be in 35mm film.  It’s perfect for an angry moonlight escape.

Dirty Beaches – “Lord Knows Best” by One Thirty BPM

Dirty Beaches – Sweet 17 by ObscureSound

Dirty Beaches – A Hundred Highways by sunofbeach

dirty-beaches-badlands-ep(Badlands is available now from Zoo Music)

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