Author: Jacob Day

Devendra Banhart brings an obscure form of musical brilliance to Utah

Can you remember the last time you heard something unlike anything you had ever heard before? For me it was in an amazing little record store in downtown Chicago. I walked in and heard what I thought was an amalgam of Beck (think Sea Change) and The Flaming Lips (think acid). I had to know who this was, so I walked over to the counter and looked at the album cover. I picked up the CD case and saw an organic, earth tone, modern day version of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” with birds and trees replacing Marilyn Monroe and Fred Astaire. Who was this amazing person that seemed to encapsulate everything I loved about music? The artist was Devendra Banhart and the album, “Cripple Crow”. Devendra Obi (yes, that is a “Star Wars” reference) Banhart was born in Texas in 1981, but was raised in Venezuela by his mother. After returning to the United States as a teenager, Banhart quickly began playing music in San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 1998 Devendra began attending the San Francisco Art Institute on a full ride scholarship. But, Devendra began to skip class and focus more on personal projects. By 2000 Banhart had dropped out of school and began playing music full time. After a summer of playing coffee houses in Paris, Devendra returned to California where he was discovered...

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A fresh musical concoction

The third full-length album from the Gorillaz is quite a potpourri of genre and style — “Plastic Beach” plays more like a mix tape than an established band’s tight concept. But what else could we expect from a duo made up of comic book creator Jamie Hewlett and Britpop superstar Damon Albarn, whose brand-new album features 20 artists ranging from Mos Def to Lou Reed on 15 of the 19 total tracks? Unfortunately, for that very reason, “Plastic Beach” really is kind of a mess, but what it lacks in unity it makes up for with emotion. In fact, if there is a common thread throughout the album, it is the gloomy soundscapes that have become synonymous with Hewlett and Albarn’s work. Another positive note about “Plastic Beach” is that there are more decent tracks than bad and the ambient muzak-esque hum that makes some of the tracks forgettable work together to create a moody electro-pop atmosphere. Obviously, it’s not for everybody. If you find more solace in the catchy hooks of Top 40 pop music, you may want to stay away. However, Gorillaz enthusiasts and fans of experimental electro-hop are sure to enjoy this moody hodgepodge of new wave art. Cheers: 1. “Glitter Freeze” — Catchy Fischerspooner beat outlined with the echo of laser beams. Momentum carries this tune with the only words being scattered sound bites. 2....

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