Photo credit: his babe of a Serbian photographer/designer wife, Ana Kras
If you don’t yet know, I’m really obsessed with Devendra Banhart. I briefly hint to him on the music show I picked out songs for (which if you haven’t listened to: what are you doing?! Episode 115.5), I email Zach anytime new news comes up concerning him, and I’ve got a tattoo dedicated to the man and his music. That’s musical love, right there. So the announcement of his much anticipated new album Mala to debut March 12th is a really big deal for me.
Can we just talk about how beautiful he is for a second?
This is Devendra’s eighth studio album and first since 2009’s underwhelming What Will We Be. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy “Rats” and “Maria Lionza”… but they had to grow on me. The fact that the album was released on Warner Brothers seems to have crushed a lot of the whimsy that comes with Devendra’s music. Even the album before that, 2007’s Smoky Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, showed a switch to a more heavily produced pop-ish sound for Devendra.
Mala is coming out on Nonesuch Records, which is still a subset of Warner Brothers, but is home to artists such as Iron and Wine, The Black Keys, David Byrne, and Bjork. Hopefully this subtle switch will allow for more creativity, although in interviews Devendra responded to claims that he was selling out by saying that WB was actually really open to all of his creative desires. I know many Devendra fans like myself are hoping for more of the raw musical energy from his early albums. While I appreciate and understand that artists have to grow and adapt over the years, I think that the sound he brings to songs like “At The Hop”, “Sight to Behold”, and “Quedate Luna” is the reason a lot of us fell in love with him.
A few of the songs are already on YouTube to listen to before the release:
Für Hildegard von Bingen
Echoey vocals and guitars reminiscent of The XX almost, infused with electronic elements – this song is a little far off from what we’re used to with Devendra, but it works for me, I think.
Never Seen Such Good Things
This song is a fun little tune, that seems to be a bit of a love song. Its got hints of that lovely vibrato, a cute danceable beat, and some off the wall lyrics that we’ve come to love.
Spanish style guitars, a song about hopeless love. Beautiful and so very true to Devendra.
The album is produced and recorded by Devendra and bandmate, Noah Georgeson. They played most of the instruments themselves and recorded it on a vintage Tascam recorder; they utilized their environment as much as possible to create the rare sounds in the album. Which, according to an interview with Pure Channel, included such things as a switchblade, a chain, and a belt.
So if you don’t know Devendra Banhart, I highly suggest you familiarize yourself with him. His music has changed my life in a way that I cannot say any other thing has. I cannot wait for this album, and no matter what I will love and support him always. A tour has yet to be announced, but he’ll hopefully be making the rounds in the Spring/Summer! Pre-order Mala on CD and vinyl here: http://www.nonesuch.com/albums/mala. Both include an autographed print, instant download of “Für Hildegard von Bingen”, and a download of the whole album on March 12th. The LP also comes with the full CD, a poster, and a 7” with two bonus tracks.
We’ve all done it. It’s late, you’ve got internetsomnia, and you’re scrolling through pages and pages of limitless information. You stumble upon something that you really like: a video, a painting, an animated short. A poem. Anything, really, that someone else put time and effort into for your viewing pleasure. But there’s a problem – there’s no credit to be found.
Even as an artist, I was once pretty stupid when it came to things like this. You try to think if you’ve seen something like this before. Where? Who made it? But you’re coming up blank, and you really want to share this cool shit you found in the cobwebbed corners of the web with your friends. So you do the one thing that really pisses every artist off, like, a lot*. And you repost their hard work with a caption something like, “Credz to whomever made this shit, man! Wicked!”, or whatever you are saying these days.
The problem with this is that, when you found and reposted that piece of art/writing/work that someone else already failed to credit, you began (or continued) a chain reaction of failure to communicate information properly. This sucks for artists online because we are all very poor and very proud, a horrible combination. We want credit for our work because it was WORK, and we want people to like it so that they will pay us to make it for them. It is honorable to post someone’s work and show it off to the people you know, but with no credit it’s pretty much pointless for the person who actually created the piece.
It is very easy to avoid this situation, as most of you are probably already aware. The point of this “guide” (with mostly one tip), mainly, is to remind everyone that this is a pretty uncool thing to do seeing how easy it is to remedy. So here we go, off into the world of Googling that shit.
Here are three miniature movie reviews. All of them are streaming on Netflix right now, so go check them out!
Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry (2012)
This is a really awesome documentary looking into the life of Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist and social and political activist. Not only do you get a behind-the-scenes look into his art shows, you also get to see how he really sticks it to “The (Chinese) Man.” This is a dude who really hates the current political state of his country and is not afraid to say whatever he wants. It’s a super interesting and educational film exploring a true artist’s life in a country that is holding everyone else back.
Bellflower is a film that premiered at Sundance in 2011. Written and directed by Evan Glodell, it is an engrossing and visually compelling low-budget film. It is split into many chapters and the narrative structure is all over the place, yet it works extremely well. It’s about two best friends (both obsessed with Mad Max) who are in the process of making a flamethrower and a badass, souped-up muscle car for the possible future apocalypse. Throw in a love story and you’ve got the basics of Bellflower. It’s a super strange film, but it’s one that you can’t take your eyes off of.
The Tall Man (2012)
This is a film written and directed by Pascal Laugier. If that name isn’t ringing any bells, he directed a French/Canadian film called Martyrs that came out in 2008. It is easily one of the most disturbing films I have ever seen. So, going into The Tall Man, I was expecting to be grossed out. Instead, I was surprised to find an extremely dense and suspenseful mystery.
Looking at the poster and watching the trailer, it was obviously marketed as a horror film, yet it really isn’t a horror film at all. There is maybe one sequence filled with a few “pop out” parts, but other than that, The Tall Man is an engaging, satisfying, and surprising mystery film. Starring Jessica Biel, the film is about a town where children are constantly disappearing, thought to be taken by a mysterious entity the townspeople call the “Tall Man.” You may think you know where the film is going, but you don’t. I can understand why many people don’t like this movie, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I spent the day as a picker! My grandparents are hoarders, no joke. They have multiple garages that they built to store all their things. I told my grandma that I wanted some nicer furniture for my house, so we went through all of her things and we came across an old bedroom set that she has had in storage for 40 + years. She bought it at an auction for my mom when she was little, but they never gave it to her. The set had a vanity that we turned into 2 night stands because the mirror was broken and beyond repair. We sanded it all down, varnished it, and painted each piece a different color 🙂 I also came across a really awesome old trunk that belonged to my great grandmother, the date inside the trunk says 1902. I also found a box full of old mason jars, as well as my new dining room table and chairs 🙂 Not only was this day amazing to spend going through old family things, it was amazing because I got to spend time with my Grandma and Grandpa who mean the world to me.