If I was forced to choose which current XL artist was my favourite, I’d probably have to say Devendra Banhart. I’ll not bother with the bio details, suffice to say born Texas, raised Venezuela, now LA-resident. Discovered by Michael Gira who put out his first album Oh Me Oh My…. Since then he’s done three albums for XL (in the UK anyway), and I won’t use words like ‘new weird America’ or ‘freak folk’ to describe them. Damn!
He’s nothing if not prolific – two of these albums came out a few months apart in 2004. Rejoicing in the Hands and Nino Rojo were both patchy affairs, containing both moments of beauty and average-ness. However, last year’s Cripple Crow was a revelation and for an album of 22 tracks and over 70 minutes, it hardly struck a bum note. Maybe that’s down to Devendra’s ranging across styles, genres and even languages. Cripple Crow has a bedrock of Banhart’s own unique take on acoustic folk, but also drifts into southern soul, country, ragged funk, rock ‘n’ roll and just plain crazy pop music. It’s a total delight and an album you need to own.
In his albums to date, Devendra has done a few songs in his second language of Spanish – here are four of them.
Download: Devendra Banhart - Luna de Margarita
Download: Devendra Banhart - Quedate Luna
Download: Devendra Banhart - Santa Maria da Fiera
Download: Devendra Banhart - Todo los Dolores
Buy Devendra albums (especially Cripple Crow)
In addition, to follow on from yesterday, I’ve got some more Raconteurs. This time from a live session recorded for DermotO’Leary on BBC Radio 2 last Saturday. Acoustic version of Steady As She Goes and a cover of It Ain’t Easy. Enjoy.
Download: Raconteurs – Steady As She Goes (live acoustic)
Download: Raconteurs – It Ain’t Easy (live acoustic)