8 Songs, 26 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Taiwanese-born Canadian indie musician Alex Zhang Hungtai finally bequeaths Badlands, his debut full-length vocal album. Here Hungtai’s creativity culminates in lo-fi experimental post-rockabilly. “Speedway King” opens with a hypnotic mantra of minimally mechanical sounding drums that recall those of the band Suicide. Over these haunting rhythms Hungtai croons in a curious accent with the slippery inflections of a young Elvis Presley. “Horses” follows with similarly plodding rhythms as a ‘50s guitar tone reverberates through a continuous riff while Hungtai’s voice simmers down to sound like a young Roy Orbison singing on a David Lynch soundtrack. Hungtai ingeniously foregoes a guitar solo for a bridge where he instead implements manipulation of the spring in a reverb chamber to create some vintage sounding noise-rock that sounds both menacing and sexy. He whisper-sings in the libidinous “Sweet 17” over more riff repetition creating an atmosphere where those ‘50s juvenile delinquents from Karlheinz Weinberger’s photos run rampant. The serpentine “Hotel” closes with Hungtai returning to his spooky instrumental style.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Taiwanese-born Canadian indie musician Alex Zhang Hungtai finally bequeaths Badlands, his debut full-length vocal album. Here Hungtai’s creativity culminates in lo-fi experimental post-rockabilly. “Speedway King” opens with a hypnotic mantra of minimally mechanical sounding drums that recall those of the band Suicide. Over these haunting rhythms Hungtai croons in a curious accent with the slippery inflections of a young Elvis Presley. “Horses” follows with similarly plodding rhythms as a ‘50s guitar tone reverberates through a continuous riff while Hungtai’s voice simmers down to sound like a young Roy Orbison singing on a David Lynch soundtrack. Hungtai ingeniously foregoes a guitar solo for a bridge where he instead implements manipulation of the spring in a reverb chamber to create some vintage sounding noise-rock that sounds both menacing and sexy. He whisper-sings in the libidinous “Sweet 17” over more riff repetition creating an atmosphere where those ‘50s juvenile delinquents from Karlheinz Weinberger’s photos run rampant. The serpentine “Hotel” closes with Hungtai returning to his spooky instrumental style.

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About Dirty Beaches

The project of Alex Zhang Hungtai, Dirty Beaches' spanned low-slung, lo-fi, post-rockabilly to ambient instrumentals. Born in Taiwan, Hungtai moved to Canada at an early age. Starting in 2005, he released a slew of albums, EPs, and cassettes on labels such as Night People and Fixture Records. Hungtai's music is equally familiar-sounding and surreal, mixing a croon worthy of Elvis or Roy Orbison with Suicide-like drum machines and a fondness for found sounds and hypnotic loops. He moved to Zoo Records for his official debut album, Badlands, which was released in early 2011. Hungtai remained busy, issuing singles on Suicide Squeeze and a split with Xiu Xiu in 2011 and 2012. He released the Water Park soundtrack on A Records in March 2013 and the double album Drifters/Love Is the Devil that May. In 2014, Hungtai announced that his album Stateless would be his last under the Dirty Beaches name. Featuring viola courtesy of Italian composer Vittorio Demarin and mixing by Dean Hurley, Stateless was released in November 2014. ~ Heather Phares

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