New York Press | by A.D. Amorosi
Show previewThe skippy on Devendra Banhart was this; back in 2002, creepy crawly singer/songwriter Devendra â€“ 19 years old â€“ hums, strums and bums his minute-long minuets onto warped cassettes from cheaper recorders. This isn't the newest notion, mind you. Certainly wack jobs like Wild Man Fischer and Daniel Johnston have done the same in their time. Like them, Banhart seems a mad hatter. Unlike them, there's a brutal beauty â€“ even an elegant elegiac quality to his quaking, cracked actorish voice and crude, eccentric lyricism to match a meeting of, say, Nick Drake to pre-Ziggy Bowie. Good stuff. Swans boss and Young God Records founder Michael Gira allows â€“ DAMN it. HE WANTS IT â€“ a first CD, Oh My Oh My The Way The Day Goes By The Sun Is Setting Dogs Are Dreaming Lovesongs of The Christmas Spirit to come out as-is. The unmastered masterpiece is a sassy, happy mass of messy paranoia, horrific high-pitched vocals and creaking ambience, sounding as if it could have been recorded in a pine box in the middle of a Daguerreotype, literally and figuratively. Fast forward to the present: Banhart and new producer Gira record new songs on old gear in a living room in Georgia, mixed and mastered with the gentle like of heroes hippie/folk freak Vashti Bunyan on board â€“ all with a similar esethetic to Oh My, but with a greater sense of purpose and melody â€“ and what youâ€šve got is Banhart's second and third warbling, garbled, plucked and clucking epics - Rejoicing In The Hands and Nino Rojo the latter to be released in September. It's ooky and it's spooky and really quite dashing. Opening for Banhart is in the pastoral prickly pop of Vetiver; humming sunny singer Andy Cabic's grassy, knollish band for which Devendra Banhart plays guitar and with whom other opening act Joanna Newsom plays harp with on tunes like "Amerlilie." One big happy mossy family, eh wot?