Folk you

Devendra Banhart
Rejoicing in the Hands
Young God Records
Devendra, named by an Indian mystic, grew up in a war-tornVenezuela but is really from Texas. His live act attracts New Ageyoga moms, wheat grass enthusiasts and, of course, the regularkids. He’s the darling of the indie folk scene and is ratherhandsome.

That all means shit if he can’t play, which is what I suspected.Rejoicing in the Hands proves otherwise. Banhart weaves intricateguitar with his Goat Boy voice, managing not to sound like the restof the marginal singer/songwriters littering the indie folk scene.That doesn’t mean he’s a great songwriter yet. Rather, his music isan interesting minimalist take on the age-old folk styling.

Joanna Newsom
The Milk-Eyed Mender
Drag City Records
Joanna Newsome is a 21-year-old classically-trained harpist. Whocan touch that? Maybe five other people in the world? She playswith members of Deerhoof, tours with Will Oldham and was voted mostcrush-worthy female in The East Bay Express of Berkeley (fuck,she’s cute on top of all that?). So her life is basically moreinteresting than most everyone else’s.

The Milk-Eyed Mender is as loveable as it is ridiculous – a kindof a quirky little sister in the form of an album. Newsome’s voiceis so child-like and with her harp dancing around behind her, it’shard not to imagine her as a cherub in red corduroy overallstelling you stories of the Lord and his children.

Papa M
Six – of the Audio Tour Diary series
Drag City Records
When will David Pajo (Papa M) stop? This is the sixth release ofhis Audio Tour Diary. He claims it to be “endless” on the backcover. The singles releases (two or three songs on each disc)started in the winter of 2003 and he’s still squeezing them outlike puppies a year or so later. The problem is that Three was hisbest. Four was okay, Five was a little worse than that and now wehave Six, which is better than Four and Five but worse than One andThree. Two was just a slip up. So the singles have gottenprogressively (though not chronologically) worse. Maybe it’s timefor Pajo to stop touring, sit down and do an entire album. Untilthen, I wait for Seven.