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MP3 Little Beirut - High Dive

Well-written, hook-laden, sweet pop nuggets that are just as much about the melody as they are a driving rhythm. Instantly accessible and easily memorable, deep lyrical assets to ensure these songs are anything but pop fluff.

12 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Shoegaze, POP: Pop/Rock

Show all album songs: High Dive Songs

Little Beirut

George Bush Sr., while in office, and visiting Portland, Oregon for the first time, was met with massive resistance and protests from the liberal city’s citizens. Some went as far as to ingest red, white, and blue food coloring in hopes of regurgitating the colors of the flag on Bush’s entourage. This led to the elder Bush nicknaming the city “Little Beirut”, a name that earned Portland national attention, and one that has stuck to this day and is recited as a badge of honor by many in the city.

Little Beirut is also a Portland, Oregon-based rock quartet that designs beautiful, lush songs on their commercial debut, “High Dive”, a collection of well-written, hook-laden, sweet pop nuggets that are just as much about the melody as they are a driving rhythm. Instantly accessible and easily memorable, don’t be fooled, because beyond their sugary exterior are vivid, deep lyrical assets to ensure these songs are anything but pop fluff.

Tying into the Bush-coined name of the band, Little Beirut tackles the younger Bush’s administration, namely Condoleezza Rice, with a love song entitled “Love During Wartime”.

“’Love During Wartime’,” explains vocalist Hamilton Sims, “is a jab at the war and the goings on of the Bush administration. But it’s also a jab at the fact that in order for [Rice] to become the most powerful woman in the history of U.S. politics, she had to be completely desexualized to make it okay. Hence why a love song to her seems so absurd.”

“High Dive” was a long time coming for Little Beirut’s two founding members, Hamilton Sims (vocals, guitar) and Edwin Paroissien (guitar, vocals), two friends that have played together for years, most notably in Silkenseed, a pop-rock outfit that had major label attention following their 1998 sophomore album, “Hurry Home” (Rainforest Records) and garnered praise from publications like Billboard, which described their songwriting partnership as “…instant pop hooks and tight guitar/rhythm interplay that mainstream rock has begun to embrace”.

Silkenseed disbanded in 2000 following a departure a year earlier by Sims, who left to go back east to attend graduate school.

Staying in contact throughout Sims’ graduate work, Sims eventually returned to Portland in 2004, and Paroissien and Sims started hanging out, writing songs together. These sessions lead to a 2004 studio demo, “Permanent Kiss”, which helped the duo morph into a four-piece with the addition of drummer Alex Inman and bassist Jon Trause.

Excitement and material grew within the band as they gigged locally and occasionally regionally.

Ready to record their proper debut, Little Beirut entered Portland’s Type Foundry to record what would become their commercial debut, “High Dive”, which will be self-released in February 2008.

Assisting them at Type Foundry were engineers Adam Seltzer (Norfolk & Western, M. Ward) and Badman Recording Co. owner Dylan Magierek, as well as local singer-songwriter and Portland music renaissance man Chris Robley, who co-produced “High Dive” with Little Beirut.

Having never used an outside producer or multiple engineers, Little Beirut realized they needed to push themselves beyond what they had done in the past if they were to fully realize the album they envisioned.

“We wanted to bring in outside opinions to help us with objectiveness and to make the recording more collaborative,” explains Paroissien. “We wanted horns, strings, and keys. We were anxious to move beyond the standard two guitars, bass, and drums set-up we’d done before, and felt seeking help on this would allow us to realize exactly what we wanted to do, without over-complicating the recordings or losing the songs in layers upon layers of instrumentation”.

This opened several new doors for the band in the creative department, invigorating them and encouraging them to test out new ideas, new sounds, and new boundaries.

“We experimented with different tempos, keys, and arrangements, until we got the songs either exactly to, or pretty close to where we wanted them,” Sims says with enthusiasm. “Once we got a song where we wanted it, we’d bring in Chris Robley, who would often trim the fat, re-work the arrangements to fit in orchestration, and help us really develop everything for the benefit of the song. We were able to get a lot of the lush harmonies and orchestrations through this process.”

Once the tracking was done, the band brought the record to the hands (and ears) of mixing engineer extraordinaire Jeff Stuart Saltzmann (Stephen Malkmus, Sleater-Kinney, Death Cab For Cutie, Menomena), giving “High Dive” a timeless sound and feel, ensuring it is just as much about the music as it is the mood for the listener.

All the time and hard work paid off. With the completion of “High Dive”, Little Beirut felt proud that they created a record that spoke not only through the lyrics, but with the music, too, delivering vivid imagery for the listener.

“The imagery of ‘High Dive’ touches on several recurring themes throughout the album,” explains Paroissien. “When you’re on top of a high dive, you’re completely alone, there’s an air of anticipation because either way, something major is about to happen, whether you jump or back down, or do something else. Each choice will have a major impact on the outcome of the event you choose.”

With a release date for “High Dive” set for February 2008, Little Beirut will bring their brand of rock to clubs, doing everything the old fashioned way, winning over one fan at a time with a strong record and a powerful live show to back it up.
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