Balkan folk and indie-pop troubadours Beirut are back with a new album, titled The Rip Tide, featuring the single “East Harlem.”
Beirut, the brainchild of trumpeter, ukulele player, and vocalist Zack Condon, has always been a band who’s work is tied to specific places. The debut album Gulag Orkestar grew out of time Condon spent living with a cousin in Eastern Europe.
There, he digested the rich history of Balkan folk music and, upon his return, used that sonic palette as inspiration for his own songwriting. The result was a stunning album that rich with the character of the places Condon had visited.
On new single “East Harlem,” Beirut pays tribute to the New York neighborhood. The song is a love story of a girl who lives there and a boy who lives downtown. Keeping with the travel theme, Condon explores the way that distance can affect the relationship between two people, singing “Another rose wilts in East Harlem/And uptown downtown a thousand miles between us.”
Sometimes a long distance relationship is a matter of being on different continents, sometimes it’s a matter of a subway ride–the dynamic is the same.