Dirty Beaches is the sound of waves against a picturesque and putrid shore, the silent rumble of a Chevy as it speeds by in slow motion. Sparse but condensed, relentlessly edging forward: this is music for locomotive travel, for racing your weary motorcycle through neon archways and into dusky tunnels. The man behind Dirty Beaches is Alex Zhang Hungtai; solo performer, sound-smith, and trans-Pacific nomad. Born in Taiwan, Hungtai has made Toronto, Honolulu, Montreal, and Vancouver his homes. Like Bo Didley or minimalist synth provocateurs Suicide, Dirty Beaches’ compositions are not so much stripped down as refined to their essence. Drum loops entrance, Hungtai’s croon enchants, and the yearning melodies draped overtop belie as much a sense of haunting mystery as they do romanticism and wry humour.