Little BeirutView In iTunes
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Not to be confused with Zach Condon's Eastern European-influenced indie collective Beirut, Little Beirut are a quartet from Portland, OR, who took their name from a nickname bestowed on their city by former president George Herbert Walker Bush after protestors disrupted a presidential photo opportunity while he was in office. Although occasionally displaying a political edge (the ballad "Love During Wartime" from their debut album is an ironic love song to George W. Bush's Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice), Little Beirut are primarily a sweet-natured and jangly, melodic indie pop band. Although Little Beirut only formed in 2004, their core duo of lead singer Hamilton Sims and guitarist Edwin Paroissien have played together since the mid-'90s in a variety of bands. Following a four-year break while Sims completed grad school, he and Paroissien reunited and recorded 2005's self-released demo Permanent Kiss as a duo. Bassist Jon Trause and drummer Alex Inman were drafted to complete the band, and Little Beirut began recording their proper debut album with a pair of the Portland indie scene's leading lights, co-producer Chris Robley, whose horn, string, and keyboard arrangements fleshed out the band's previously bare-bones indie pop sound, and mixer Jeff Stuart Saltzmann. The resulting album, High Dive, was released in early 2008.