The sleeper hit of 2006, Beirut's Gulag Orkestar came out of nowhere to sell tens of thousands of copies in a matter of months and wound up on countless critics' year-end lists. As a stopgap before recording a new full-length in Fall 2007--and as a way to capture some current songs being performed at shows--the eight-member band checked into Sea Side Studios in Brooklyn to record Lon Gisland.
These are the first studio recordings made by the entire group--a sampling of songs by orkestar leader Zach Condon. Lon Gisland features four exclusive tunes and a full-band reworking of Gulag's "Scenic World." The five-song EP was initially released on CD with the European edition of Gulag Orkestar (4AD). Aside from a limited-edition, mailorder-only 12-inch by Chouette (now deleted), this Ba Da Bing edition marks the first time the EP has been available on vinyl.
"Zach Condon is that truly rare thing, an American--in fact, a very young American--who turns a foreign style to his own inauthentic uses without doing it dirt. Gypsy brass as he hears it is gorgeously lyrical because lyricism is his thing, and so he softens the three horns on this EP not just with idiomatic accordion but with ukulele and glockenspiel. The trumpets are cushy too, establishing a comfort level his melodies earn."
--Robert Christgau, Rolling Stone
"[With] a solid, pulsing group of players fleshing-out his songs, Condon opens to something less paint-by-numbers static--it's more alive."