My first listen through Beirut's May 2006 album Gulag Orkestar was in June of 2006. Joe Thorn and I were driving our way toward Greensboro, North Carolina for the Southern Baptist Convention and I HAD to make a stop by ear X-tacy in Louisville, Kentucky for some CDs. I found Gulag and 7 others from my list. I think we listened to all of them on the way, but Beirut stuck out for both of us. It was such a different sound, international flavor, unexpected instrumentation. Both of us were blown away by it. We want to recommend it to you. So go get it for $5 and tell us what you think. When you love it, go pick up Lon Gisland EP, The Flying Club Cup, and March of the Zapotec. All are outstanding, and the flavors beautifully change a bit along the way. New album, The Rip Tide, due out August 30.