Beirut is the moniker of 20-year-old Brooklyn resident Zach Condon, a high school dropout who spent some time in eastern Europe soaking up the culture and music styles of the "old world."

Beirut is the moniker of 20-year-old Brooklyn resident Zach Condon, a high school dropout who spent some time in eastern Europe soaking up the culture and music styles of the "old world." Beirut's MySpace page describes his music as sounding like "Jewish immigrants," which rings very true. "Gulag" is his first offering and is a gorgeous collection of traditional-sounding eastern European folk songs, which are accented by a horn section and accordion throughout.

Right off the bat, you realize this is serious music for serious listeners. Those familiar with John Zorn's projects will be reminded of the way he writes for trumpeter Dave Douglas, which means that Condon is blurring the lines between folk and jazz and his vintage influences quite well. Highlights include "Postcards From Italy" and the title track, both jangly, marching anthems, but with different styles that epitomize what Beirut is about: traditional, while still sounding immediate. -- Michael D. Ayers