First of all who is this guy? He does the baritone thing well, a bit like Matt Berninger from The National, but with a bit more croon. He lives in an apartment on Park Avenue in Montreal, just down the road from Arcade Fire I’m sure. But most of all he makes ingenious use of given material, employing a totally catchy riff sampled from the vintage Francoise Hardy. As a result, the lo-fi sound is a refreshingly unique one.
After James Blake last week, the trend of minimalism in one-man-bands recording in their bedrooms continues with Dirty Beaches. But right from the start, it’s all about that cracking riff, lilting disjointedly over a swooning alternation between the tonic and its relative minor chord. He sings comfortably within his range with no attempt to strain, which in turn comforts me! The overall tone is rather cinematic, which isn’t surprising giving his flirtation with imaginary film-noir soundtracks. He is also clearly a massive fan of the Holy Grail reverb pedal, apparently utterly saturating his voice in the thing. Crucial inspirational fact here is that Dirty Beaches has no time for Garageband or other futuristic junk, opting for traditional cassette instead! No wonder the recording sounds so antique.
Lord knows this will be Dirty Beaches year, his début album Badlands released March 29th, what a guy!
mp3 download: Dirty Beaches – Lord Knows Best
-James Godwin, January 7th, 2011