Over Devendra Banhart
It's kind of amazing how San Francisco's Devendra Banhart seemed to blow up overnight. But in the indie realm of popular music he had everything going for him. His 2002 debut of lo-fi four-track folk recordings, Oh Me Oh My..., was released to rave reviews -- garnering many a comparison to the likes of Donovan, Marc Bolan, Tiny Tim and even Bob Dylan. His next release was 2003's The Black Babies, an eight-song EP; but it was 2004's Rejoicing In The Hands where he really made a mark, leaving behind his stream-of-conscious-by-way-of-record-collection-osmosis style for more intelligent song arrangements, peppered with lush accompaniment from the San Francisco folk band Vetiver. He released another full-length entitled Nino Rojo. Then, when warble-voiced luminary Joanna Newsom's 2004 harp-plucked debut, The Milk-Eyed Mender, came out to a parade of accolades, the music media jumped on the fact that she and Banhart were friends and thus the indie genre of "freak folk" was coined. In 2005, Banhart and his electric ensemble, the Hairy Fairy Band, released Cripple Crow. Staunchly refusing to make the same album twice, Banhart beefed up the psych rock on 2007's Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon, and then signed to a major label for 2009's What Will We Be.