NO HELPING IT
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.

 
Light touch

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]

---

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 curlecues, 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 & (a leetle) southwest.

Posted by Sean at October 12, 2009 11:36 PM
Comments

i'm curious to hear this new album

Posted by a. at October 13, 2009 11:25 AM

who is in that photo? or where did it come from? or at least what's she playing?

Posted by luke at October 14, 2009 12:32 AM

i would like this song, but it sounds a bit like someone going through the motions. i don't hear any passion in it. i don't think it's happy at all.

"cute kitty-cat sneezing" is a good description.

Posted by thomas at October 16, 2009 1:17 PM

Luke, I dunno, but it's an Atari Joystick.

http://www.google.ca/search?q=atari+joystick&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

Posted by Peter at October 26, 2009 12:13 PM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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