Members of the Beirut-based band Mashrou' Leila, fronted by lead singer Hamed Sinno, have been edging the status quo for quite some time now. Their self-titled debut, released in 2010, still stands strong as a norm-challenging statement on the indie-pop canon. Over 10 years after the band first met at the American University of Beirut, their music is still as liberating for queer Middle Eastern pop fans as ever, and to reflect, they've released a compilation record unlike any other: The Beirut School.

"We weren't in a very good place when we decided that we would give it another shot," Sinno tells me over the phone of the making of the record. He's in New York City to begin a new leg of Mashrou' Leila's tour and prepping for Damian Lazarus' Get Lost Live at the Knockdown Center, taking place Friday, October 11. "We started looking at everything we'd done over the last 10 years, and how we'd changed as musicians. What it is that brought us into it in the beginning, what we were affected by. We wanted a record to document that for no real good reason other than our own sentimental rubbish."

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