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Dirty Beaches : Drifters # Love Is The Devil

If Alex Zhang Hungtai’s breakthrough album as Dirty Beaches – 2011’s Badlands – presented the Taiwanese-born Canadian songwriter as some kind of greased-back, leather jacket wearing lo-fi rockabilly revivalist living in an imagined version of someone else’s past, his latest double-LP set Drifters/ Love Is The Devil (out May 21 via Zoo Music) channels his own recent experiences – of life on the road, through the American heartland and Europe – into something altogether more contemporary. Mainly synth-led, the two halves of the album reflect the conflicting impulses of any artist that suddenly finds themselves in the position of “touring musician”: Drifters’ songs are heavy on propulsive bass grooves and tinny drum machine beats and full of filthy, distorted Suicide-esque drones, representing the neon-lit temptations and hedonistic pleasures found in the back-alleys of Paris, Belgrade and Berlin; Love Is The Devil, meanwhile, is the masochistic, existential self-reflection that follows, its bruised, bluesy drifting instrumentals full of longing and remorse. It’s a deeply personal project, as Hungtai himself has expressed (he tweeted that the record “has blood & tears all over it… the sound of my empty self”, and responded to a negative YouTube comment by saying “I don’t care about pleasing your expectations; I was crying my fucking eyes out when I wrote this and punching myself in the face”), but one that is utterly absorbing. Check out three tracks below; “Casino Lisboa”, from Drifters, Love Is The Devil‘s title track and “Landscapes In The Mist”, which bridges the two halves brilliantly.


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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