Devendra Banhart - baby

I was at a party. We were nodding, laughing, twisting caps from bottles and making introductions. Then someone lifted up his laptop and tilted the screen so we could see. What did it show? It showed a sad baby.

Conversation stopped. Bottlecaps stayed put. Someone said this word: "Aw". The word, written down, does not give credit to the feeling. We felt very bad for this baby. All of us did. It was so sad! Later, someone had photos - or better yet, videos - of happy babies. Of laughing babies. Of smiling babies. And when we saw the happy babies, the smiling babies, we felt good. There was nothing empathetic or compassionate about it. It was the hardwired mush of our brains. When we saw a sad baby: we felt sad. When we saw a happy baby: we felt happy. And when I listen to Devendra Banhart's "Baby", my mush also falters, my defenses break down; I swoon. I love it and I can't help it. No, Devendra is not singing about lending people teeth. Yes, he is sometimes on TMZ, arm-in-arm with a starlet. Maybe, his last x releases have sucked. And this is his major-label debut! But yes, no, maybe, oh oh oh: this is as self-evident as a cute kitty-cat sneezing. This is a gentle little cooing :) MySpace.

Devendra Banhart - "Baby"

A marvellous (very quiet!) White Hinterland concert in Montreal this weekend, on Canadian thanksgiving. Oh my glory goodness, friends. The jazz has been taken out, simply removed. And what is left is so, so, so much space; so much space in which she and Shawn add dark beats, deep bass, dubstep stuff. And she sings in looped curlicues, ivies and gold rings, sampling and re-sampling. They were all new songs and they were utterly astonishing. Here are some names of things it was & wasn't merely: the dirty projectors, the xx, burial, tune-yards, school of seven bells, the Neptunes, Thom Yorke, Arthur Russell, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina. Any half-samples so far do it no credit at all. What a rediscovery. The new album can't come soon enough and go go listen listen as they tour the American Northeast, South & Southwest.

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