Conventional wisdom says that if you’re feeling a bit stressed out, nothing beats going back to something comfortable. Well, this week has been stressful, with a big event looming (it’s actually going on, like, right now, as this goes live), so during a rare gap I’m listening to Beirut’s Gallipoli. Zach Condon has mastered the sound of the pastoral, atmospheric side of indie pop, and that’s pretty much what you should expect here. If anything this record feels more atmospheric than before: more instrumental interludes, more soaring trumpets, more little things here and there. I’m pretty sure this album literally glows like a flame. But then, this is the sound Beirut has done for years, and while it is comforting, I wasn’t quite sure if an out-and-out throwback is really what I need, or what we need in these times. I mean, now and four years ago, when Beirut last released an album – there’s a pretty stark difference, and you don’t deal with it by just escaping. It’s one thing to recall a rose-tinted past; it’s another to be stuck in it. Gallipoli feels a bit stuck in it. Whether that bothers you, well, that is the variable. [NB] | 3/5
We’ve perhaps gotten used to Beirut pushing their sound in recent albums, turning it into a lush yet occasionally pastoral soundscape of alt-folk and whatever you want to call it. Their latest, No No No, seems to be an antidote to that. Zach Condon and gang stripped it all down to the basics, an answer to the vocalist’s own turmoils in the months leading to the record’s productions. The results, well, depends on how you approach the record. Clocking in at just under half an hour, No No No keeps the wistfulness, but feels could feel too ethereal to have an impact. Tracks fly by as soon as it settles in, and unless you were paying deep attention (and it’s likely you are), it would all seem like a blur. On the flip side, No No No is a much needed antidote, not so much a drastic change but a prerequisite respite before things pick up again. In that frame, it’s an simple yet exquisite release, and there’s lots of fun to be had. [NB] | 4/5
If we’re disappointed with the acts coming to the Philippines, then why don’t we make our own music festival? It doesn’t have to really happen – it can all be in our heads. And thus, the earthings! Fantasy Festival was born. This week, the whole earthings! team (and friends) were tasked with picking five acts each that they’d put on their own festival stage – the ones they want to see, the ones they want to see again, even the ones they don’t really care much for. To kick things off, the newest member of our team, Dexter Tan, writes about the acts he picked, from all over the music spectrum, including the act that turned him on to indie pop, and an initially accidental up-yours to, well, that music festival.