Devendra Banhart is a Venezuelan American singer-songwriter and visual artist. He was born in Houston but raised by his mother in Venezuela, but he eventually made his way to California as a teenager. He briefly attended the San Francisco Art Institute, but dropped out to become a busker and tour around Europe. He was “discovered” by Michael Gira of Swans and signed to Young God Records, completing several simple acoustic EPs. He stayed the course until 2005’s doo-wop and classic rock-inspired Cripple Crow (XL), his sound becoming increasingly elaborate, elevating him far above the “freak folk” millieu of his earlier efforts. Ma is his 10th record, and somehow his most scrutable. Constructed of thoughtful, autobiographical vignettes, Ma heralds a new level of emotional intimacy that stands in contrast to the left-field experiments of his previous releases. “Memorial” is gentle strumming and raw vocals, heartbreaking and hauntingly poignant. “Now All Gone” could be a downtempo sequel to "Space Oddity", beginning with thumping drums and near-falsetto vocals that deepen to an urgent whisper - keep an ear out for the backing vocals by Cate Le Bon. “Kantori Ongaku” features breezy instrumentation and a familiar too-cool-for-school drawl that brings to mind Transformer-era Lou Reed. This record is pressed on indie exclusive transparent red vinyl and includes a large poster with lyrics in addition to a printed insert.
- indie exclusive transparent red vinyl pressing
- includes a 24x26 poster and printed insert
- limited edition
- music label: Nonesuch 2019
reviewed by SHAVED HEAD 09/2019