Sea Salt Stampede

Like drifting along a winding coastline as sand blows in your face and sea salt sticks in your hair, Dirty Beaches’ songs are unforgiving in their sparse and quiet crisp guitar melodies that sound like they’re plucked from an ancient tomb. The dry production on songs like ‘Window Rail Seats’ have another-time feel to them, they sound distant and excavated. While only holding onto the bare bones of sound and relying on the simplest of structure, the songs form a hypnotic thread that carries you along the mind strands of creator Alex Zhang Hungtai. Originally from Taiwan, Alex now bases himself in Vancouver, having previously spent time in Montreal. At times rollicking rockabilly style guitar and swift percussion forms the basis of songs like ‘Black Horses Take 1’ (released this year on a split with Omon Ra II) and ‘Like Dreamers Do’, while other songs sound more skeletal and shrouded in dark cobwebs of distant echo. Alex’s songs have a really moving, coastal feel and with titles like ‘White Sand’, ‘Sea Drift’ and ‘Coast To Coast’ (a particularly persistent and captivating track) it’s easy to see why. ‘West Coast Bird’ (from Bird EP) incorporates a brilliant, shuffling jazz style to the mix, appearing as if out of a languid black and white film. It may sound strange at first, but with its weird otherworldly presence, Dirty Beaches really lured me into its contemplative and hypnotic music. There are a bunch of releases out via Fixture Records and Night People, and Alex plans to release the ghost-themed album Badlands on Zoo Music in March.

Dirty Beaches- Myspace

Photo by Caley Jones

Posted by Sarah Gooding under Canada, Vancouver
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