If you think something’s wrong with your speakers, you are mistaken. No, you can’t turn up the bass. You’re just listening to the raw, stripped down wail of Alex Zhang Hungtai, better known as Dirty Beaches. His MySpace describes the music as “minimalist rockabilly,” and those are probably the two best words I could think of to describe his newest LP, Badlands.
At times, Hungtai’s vocals sound quite Elvis-esque; at other times, you can barely make out the mumbling echoes over the subdued drum beats. His whisperings and guitar sound like a slightly distorted 1950s beach jam… but dirtier, which is fitting. I don’t hate it, but I’m not head over heels for it either.
Tawain-born Hungtai currently resides in Montreal (or is it Vancouver? I heard he’s lived in both Canadian cities recently). Badlands is set to release on March 29, and according to a recent press release, “Drum loops entrance, Hungtai’s croon enchants, and the yearning melodies draped overtop belie as much a sense of haunting mystery as they do romanticism and wry humour.”
I think that about sums it up.