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.
DEVENDRA BANHART TOUR DATES
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]