Devendra Banhart


Despite being heralded as the poster boy for freak folksters everywhere, Devendra Banhart has made music that’s always been relatively innocuous; he’s a kind of thinking man’s Jack Johnson, if you will. In recent years, though, Banhart’s subtly sultry baritone and penchant for sweet, California-style rhythms has given way to more genre bending, boundary pushing, and sonic experimentation (see the Motown bop and Spanish rock of 2007’s Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, for starters). Perhaps, then, this is why Mala feels so refreshing. Rather than stretching too far outside his comfort zone, Banhart uses Mala to return to his roots. The album is brimming with smart, tongue-in-cheek lyricism and the easy, breezy acoustic guitar music long associated with the left coast’s long-haired brethren. It’s quiet, it’s thoughtful, it’s expansive, and, even at its most hippie-dippie (“Taurobolium,” “Mala”), it’s undeniably catchy. Innocuous or not, this is Banhart at his best. Devendra Banhart plays SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on Saturday, May 11. Visit for info.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Mandatory Evacuation Called for Fire Zones

Heavy rains expected Tuesday-Thursday; debris flows feared.

Cannabis Farmer Gets over $1 Million Insurance Payout

Thomas Fire ash destroys crop; analysis finds asbestos, lead, arsenic, and magnesium.

Next Debris Flow Could Take Different, Unknown Path

"I've never seen this degree of hazard," says Cal Fire scientist.

Biggest Storm Since 1/9 Approaching Santa Barbara

The storm system brings increased threat of flash floods and debris flows.

Jack Johnson Tours Montecito Disaster Area Ahead of Benefit Concert

Jack and Kim Johnson met with Bucket Brigade leaders to see the destruction firsthand.