October 7, 2009

This little wisp of a Devendra Banhart sampler


I was flipping through a stack of CDs late one night last week, and fingered a thin paper envelope with some sort of Spirograph monkey drawn on the front and no name. The back read: “Baby, 16th & Valencia Roxy Music, Goin Back.” Curious, I lingered on it for a moment and slid the CD out of the case, only to see that it was three new songs from none other than the bearded, penis-skirted, freak-folker Devendra Banhart.

Devendra’s music that I’ve heard darts all over the map. Some of my favorites have been his haunting, warbly stuff like “Quedate Luna,” which (bear with me) reminds me of a possessed wolf outside your Spanish mountain hostel in the full moonlight. Unsettling, beautiful stuff.

This little sampler o’ songs from his new full-length What Will We Be (October 27) is absolutely 100% marvelous, each of the three songs they gave me as appetizers. On the deliriously tired drive home from the airport Monday morning, I must have listened to this on repeat a good seven or eight times, and listening to it this morning I am still not tired of it. There is structure, and lapping melody, and dare I say even pop.

Stream the first track, the deliciously slinky “Baby,” on his MySpace, and listen to the singalong, hip-shaking, light fantastic anthem here. It makes me feel feisty:

16th & Valencia Roxy Music – Devendra Banhart
(“Tonight we’re gonna find our lovers! Tonight we’re gonna find our man.“)

Rodrigo Amarante appears on the new album as well (the Brazilian frontman for the tropicalia-inspired kiddos in Little Joy), and Devendra just finished a few tour dates with them as well. Also appearing on the album are members of Vetiver, Megapuss, and Band of Bees. The Venezuelan-bred Devendra has spent years living in San Francisco’s vibrant Castro district, and the new album was recorded in an unspecified “sleepy Northern California town.” I might wear this little three song sampler out before October 27th.


11.16.09 at Vic Theatre (Chicago, IL)
11.17.09 at The Ark (Ann Arbor, MI)
11.19.09 at Higher Ground (Burlington, VT)
11.20.09 at Berklee (Boston, MA)
11.22.09 at Town Hall (New York, NY)
11.24.09 at Electric Factory (Philadelphia, PA)
11.25.09 at 9:30 Club (Washington, DC)
11.27.09 at Queen Elizabeth Theatre (Toronto, ON)

[tour photo via the fabulous Laurie Scavo]


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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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