Net Nuggets 39: Tape Worms from Dirty Beaches

Have you of late lost all your mirth, allowing yourself to sink into despondency and fantasies of suicide made all the more pathetic because you have absolutely no intention of going through with them? Not to worry! In such times of emotional paralysis—every thought in any which direction just another imagined road to futility and regret—there's only one thing for it:


… some tape hiss to dredge the shallows of your consciousness, plus a little guitar twang and '50s aw-shucks! trembling vox to sex up the muscle memory, make you come alive again, bucking and rearing to go! If all your desire has gone limp and withered up, dissolved into the nothingness you'd like to follow it into, these sounds should do the trick. Things are never so bad kicks can't be had. (Well, not always, anyway.)

Here, then, is Dirty Beaches. They—or he, young master Alex Zhang Hung-tai—started out making homespun, lo-fi instrumental noodlings that were a little unremarkable, but exploded in 2009 with worded songs springing forth from the point where the caveman stomp of rockabilly, the motorik of krautrock, the shit of shitgaze, the aesthetic of Suicide (the band) and the ethereal, yet twisted sensuality of early David Lynch films all converge in a sultry murk of rambling, suggestive sound. Eerie, creepy, sexy sounds—the mutterings (and occasional yelps) of a confused pervert driving his lonely lorry at night, kept awake by speed and reveries I think it best not to mention.

There are few cocktails as potent as lust, fear and confusion. Did I forget fun? Man, I did not forget fun. And if you ever wondered what a grown man crawling on his hands and knees towards the custodian of his pleasure sounds like, wonder no more.

Before releasing their latest album, the highly recommended Badlands, out now on Zoo Music, those Dirty Beetches had a penchant for releasing their music on magnetic tape, and in very limited editions. Here's a sampler of the finest songs and soundscapes from those discontinued releases, starting in 2009 until more or less the present (with the exception of readily available CDs/digital albums and singles, such as Badlands, a split EP with US Girls and the «No Fun» single).
  1. Like Dreamers Do
  2. Paris
  3. Black Horses
  4. White Sand
  5. Golden Desert Sun
  6. Motorcycle Rumble
  7. Shadows
  8. Coast to Coast
  9. Low Rider
  10. Forever in Gold
  11. Shangri-la
  12. Gone to Hell Come Friday
  13. The Singer (a/k/a The Folksinger)
  14. Teenage Queen
1, 4, 8, 9 & 11 from Dirty Beaches (2009)
2 & 7 from
Night City (2010)
5 & 10 from
Solid State Gold (2010)
3, 6 & 14 from Omon Ra II/Dirty Beaches split C-30 (2010)
12 & 13 from Dirty Beaches/Conor Prendergast split 7" (2011)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks, this is awesome. You know, I only discovered Dirty Beaches yesterday (one of those chains of events__ found in a Dan Svizeny/Cough Cool top 2010), but ever since I've been trying to listen to every single thing he's done. Rawk'n'Crawl!