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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks to Devendra Banhart & the Grogs

Performing the night before Thanksgiving in the capital of the U.S. is ambitious to say the least. The crowd at the 9:30 Club was pretty mellow, especially compared to the crowd I watched Devendra with at the San Francisco Outsidelands Festival last summer. A few hands flailed throughout the show, but I imagined the crowd being much more thankful.

Though, Devendra & the Grogs came out on stage with just as much energy as if it were a sold-out show and started it off with the whimsical "Long Haired Child." He kept the momentum going, with classics "Shabop Shalom," "Seahorse" and "Carmencita;" a few short diddies like "How's About Tellin a Story" and "Canela;" and a few solos that would break your heart including "It's a Sight to Behold" and "Little Yellow Spiders."

With his recent debut album on a major label, What Will Be, he rocked out to most of its tracks. The pop tunes stood out like sore thumbs - "Baby," "16th & Valencia Roxy Music," and "Goin Back." But they are all embedded with the spirit of Devendra's unique vocals and freak folk philosophy. He explained the meaning of "Maria Lionza," a tale of a strikingly-massive feminist sculpture in Venezuela. The instrumental verse in the middle is a conversation between Maria and Caribbean goddess Santeria, which could not possibly be put into words.

Devendra introduced all of the very-talented members of the Grogs and let them - against their will or not - perform at least one of their scores. The bassist, dressed in a navy blue Snuggie, yelped out an interesting tune. The guitarist turned up the blues with his jazzy number. The keyboardist and miscellaneous percussionist - who could've been Thom Yorke's younger brother - sang a pop song. The drummer rocked out to the heaviest rock song of the evening and head's bobbing and feet stomping.

Just when the crowd was starting to let loose, the show ended and without an encore but it was just enough to get you hooked. You'll have to cross international borders to catch him on the last leg of his tour. Check out dates on Myspace. (www.DevendraBanhart.com is coming soon!)

Find out how Devendra will be spending his Thanksgiving in this interview.
Check out his recent work on Beck's project "The Record Club."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Drooling Over "New Moon (the Soundtrack)"

Several months ago a few (hundred) of my friends tried to get me on to the Twilight bandwagon. and eventually I couldn't stand not being in "the know" of all of the Facebook status updates. I gave in and read Twilight. Within a few weeks, I had to get a hold of New Moon. It was official, I had become a Twilight-addict also known as a tweener.

The Twilight movie was a bit disappointing mostly because the books' characters, in my mind, were my age. Robert Pattinson just didn't do it for me. However, after reading New Moon my perception changed. Edward was a timeless and wise 109-year old vampire (that sparkled). While all of the hype spun around a young and fit Taylor Lautner - or Team Jacob - I, like Bella, remained true to Edward.

I waited patiently for 4 whole days to see New Moon and, of course, lovvvved it. And the music in the film was just as impressive as Jacob's six pack. Sample it at Amazon.com.

Track Listing:
1. Death Cab for Cutie, "Meet Me On the Equinox"
2. Band of Skulls, "Friends"
3. Thom Yorke, "Hering Damage"
4. Lykke Li, "Possibilities"
5. The Killers, "A White Demon Love Song"
6. Anya Marina, "Satellite Heart"
7. Muse, "I Belong to You (New Moon remix)"
8. Bon Iver and St. Vincent, "Roslyn"
9. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Done All Wrong"
10. Hurricane Bells, "Monsters "
11. Sea Wolf, "The Violet Hour"
12. OK Go, "Shooting the Moon"
13. Grizzly Bear, "Slow Life"
14. Editors, "No Sound But the Wind"
15. Alexandre Desplat, "New Moon (the Meadow)"