Devendra Banhart, Niño Rojo
Boston Weekly | by J. Bennett
His music is brilliant and mnemonicA brief recitation of the facts: This album contains 16 songs laid to tape at the same time as Banhart's Rejoicing in the Hands (released earlier this year); it sounds like it was recorded in Leadbelly's prison cell, circa 1925. Banhart may or may not have been named by an Indian mystic, but he's definitely the prodigy of ex-Swans/current Angel of Light main man Michael Gira, which makes no sense whatsoever but is nonetheless the case. Since the release of Rejoicing, Banhart has gone from a smelly homeless hippie to a smelly Manhattan-dwelling hippie with photos of his beard in everything from The New York Times to, um, Nylon. His music is brilliant and mnemonic in that sparse, Django-Reinhart-meets-Syd-Barrett, non-coffee-house folkie kind of way that is (somehow) devoid of pretension - and exposes all us glib, cocksucker critic types as the uncultured brutes we truly are. Yeah, jams like â€œLittle Yellow Spiderâ€ and â€œWater May Walkâ€ may sound suspiciously like nursery rhymes, but slagging Banhart is like beating up a retarded kid for lunch money. You'd kind of just rather give him a balloon or something.