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Beirut/Realpeople: Two Sides Of Zach Condon

Zach Condon, the principal singer and songwriter of the indie-cosmopolitan band Beirut, is remarkably talented at infusing his songs with the traditional sounds of far-flung places — the Balkans, Mexico, France. His electronic side project, Realpeople, is no less dreamy and noteworthy, as well as a bit reminiscent of Magnetic Fields' early material. Early this year, Condon combined his two musical personas to release an album called March of the Zapotec/Holland, and while the respected online magazine Blurt named it 2009's best album, it's been surprisingly unheralded compared to Condon's past music.

In "My Wife, Lost in the Wild," Condon constructs, bit by bit, a remarkable sonic structure, built around whirling synths and swirling beats. He layers one of his strongest assets — his clear, gorgeous crooner's voice — on top of itself, piling on in a round robin with himself to dizzying effect, culminating in an a cappella ending in which Condon serenades, "You'll send your heart to me" over and over as he harmonizes with himself. The result melds a bedroom singer-songwriter's humility with an artist's desire to top his own beautiful best work.

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Kathryn Yu
By day, Kathryn Yu is an Interaction Designer working for a marketing firm in New York City, toiling away at Web sites. By night, she's a freelance photographer and live-music addict. Her photography has appeared in publications like Pitchfork, Rollingstone.com, Thrillist, Gothamist, and more. She often forgets to blog at kathrynyu.com, and is also making a movie.