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bands to watch | Devendra Banhart

Spin | Caryn Garz

I have a musical family

Devendra Banhart's musical journey began 11 years ago with a grand deception. "We were at karaoke, singing 'Hotel California,' and my brother told me it was my family playing the instruments - 'that's your grandmother on drums.'" he says. "I was like, I have a musical family - I have to play! But it was the fucking Eagles."

Named by an Indian mystic whom his parents admired, the 22-year-old Texas-born singer/songwriter grew up in Venezuela, where he remembers "not being able to go to school because there'd been a coup." A serene, deliberate thinker who is partial to wearing dresses and going barefoot onstage, Banhart attracts "New Age yoga moms, divorced health-food fanatics, and wheatgrass enthusiasts" to his shows. They're likely to appreciate the folky, lo-fi vibe of his second album, Rejoicing in the Hands, which features 15 tracks of Banhart warbling about dancing teeth and his beard over graceful finger-picked acoustic guitar.

Down the line, Banhart would like to make "listenable records that would get people to dance. I'd like to be an A&R rep for Michael Jordan Records, make all my friends a million bucks, and turn people on," he says, laughing. "Put acid in the record sleeve."

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