Devendra Banhart has risen, and with the help of a caffeine injection from Joe’s Coffee, he’s ready to shine.But first we need to stop by a bodega around the corner where they have, by Banhart’s description, the most extraordinary donuts. From there, we swing by Electric Lady Studios where Banhart will have a quick word with his pal Ric Ocasek, then it’s back to his place.
Yes, when she sings, she sometimes sounds like Tom Waits after taking a helium whippet.
The globe-trekking “Fancy Man” begins, “I heard there’s a brand new zoo in Thailand/ So I hitchhike on a private flight and got there, man, fast!
” It’s a similar whimsy that guided “Chinese Children” on his epic 2005 album “Cripple Crow.” While “Ape” has a narrower focus, it shows Banhart refining his style with nuanced flair.
Despite her immense talents as a musician, songwriter, and performer, perhaps no contemporary artist who matters has inspired more divisive reactions or is more misunderstood than Joanna Newsom.
It’s not that critics haven’t been kind to the Pedal Harp Poet Of The Pacific: Newsom has never released an album with a Metacritic score lower than 85 — which, for those counting at home, denotes “universal acclaim.” But for every “delver” — that’s the name Newsom gives to her most ardent fans, owing to their obsessive and almost-ritualistic practice of “delving” into her work in search of meaning behind every syllable and strum — there’s a listener who, for instance, can’t get past Newsom’s singing voice; or another who lacks the patience for her unwieldy, seemingly freeform musical backdrops which, to ears unused to the structures of classical music, flow and unfold like oceans made of origami; and still others are distracted (or intimidated?