Mala © David Perezcassar
This past Tuesday Devendra Banhart dropped his eighth studio album, Mala. It’s of note because it’s his most cohesive non-meandering release to date.
In the past his albums have spanned multiple genres in a 15 minute stretch. It seems like here, he found a way to meld his varied musical interests as opposed to mashing them together. It’s also his shortest album yet. His older albums gave the impression that he had difficulty leaving any jams on the cutting room floor.
Devendra’s older albums always felt like sketchbooks for close friends. It’s been great to see him grow as an artist and I’m even more excited to see what will become of the pieces he didn’t choose to share with us on this album.
Devendra found me the Spring before I moved to New York. I decided to live off Jax Beach in Northern Florida before moving to New York for college. I thought I’d become a better surfer and record that folk album I had in me. Instead I just smoked a lot of pot and learned to play other people’s folk songs. It was while busking around, high as a kite in a friend’s car, that the amazement of Banhart’s music hit me. There was real brotherhood in that moment of respite.
Once I finally made my Northern migration, I was looking through my records, finding something I was in the mood for, and of course.. my good friend, the one driving the car, had slipped a Devendra Banhart LP into my collection without my noticing it.
Devendra’s springtime releases will always have a special place in my heart.