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Devendra Banhart's Nonesuch Debut Album, "Mala," Out Now; "Career Best," Says Q, "Enthralling"

Devendra Banhart: "Mala" [cover]

Singer/songwriter Devendra Banhart makes his Nonesuch debut with the release of Mala, his eighth studio album, out now. The album took shape in Los Angeles, where Banhart and longtime cohort Noah Georgeson produced the album together, playing most of the instruments themselves, using borrowed equipment and a recorder they’d found in a pawn shop. To pick up a copy of Mala, visit your local music purveyor or head to iTunes or the Nonesuch Store, where CD and vinyl orders include a download the complete album. The LP is pressed on 140-gram vinyl and includes the album on CD, an additional 7” with two bonus tracks, and an exclusive poster.

In the UK, where the album was released yesterday, Mala has earned four stars from Mojo, Q, the Times of London, and the Independent on Sunday. It's a "career-best LP," raves Q. "This is a beautiful album that counterpoints Banhart’s boundless and surreal imagination against a newly-discovered depth and sincerity. Surprising and enthralling." Record Collector gives it five stars, exclaiming: "This is Banhart’s best work. The prospect of sitting down and listening to Mala as a whole is a thrilling, private and all-too-rare feeling."

BBC Music, in its album review, concludes: "[O]verall it’s the album’s sense of love and lightness that lingers: its buoyancy and sense of discovery, a feeling that Banhart has remerged anew and refreshed. It is a fine thing to have him back." Read more at bbc.co.uk.

Back in the US, where Mala is out today, Pitchfork says "Mala is Banhart's best record in nearly a decade," concluding that "Banhart sounds refreshed and relieved here ... finally taking the opportunity to show that he doesn't take himself as seriously as a lot of people take him."

Devendra Banhart was featured in the New York Times Arts & Leisure section this past Sunday in an article on the new album the evolution in the genre he was once placed along with Animal Collective, Grizzly Bear, and others, in which "proficiency has proved to be a boon, resulting in some of the most beguiling releases—in any genre—of the last few years," writes the Times' David Browne, of which he sees Mala as "perhaps the best example to date."

Banhart is featured on the latest episode of The Organist, The Believer's new podcast from KCRW in Santa Monica. His interview, with music from the new album, begins at about 15 minutes in here:

Banhart heads to Austin this week to perform at the SXSW music conference, including the KCRW Official Day Showcase on Wednesday and an official showcase that also features Iron and Wine on Saturday night. He has also announced a number of European summer tour dates. For additional details, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

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