Habibi

In a time fraught with political turbulence and cultural unease, having a voice has never felt so important. For Habibi this comes at a crucial moment. The quintet just released ‘Cardamom Garden’ their first EP in over four years; significantly, the first one with lyrics recorded in Farsi. This new direction has been a long time coming for the band who are acutely aware of music as both a natural part of their heritage and a representation of their own identity: “Middle Eastern culture is very heavily influenced by the arts,” shares Iranian-American lead singer Rahill Jamalifard. The EP combines her culture’s flair with a finely tuned vocabulary of widely appealing tracks structured in a new pop approach: engaging and highly danceable while eschewing typical formulas.

Featuring three original songs, and a Farsi cover of 60s classic “Green Fuz,” 'Cardamom Garden' was recorded in Brooklyn and mastered by Heba Kadry (Björk, Slowdive, Future Islands). Bringing their sound even closer to its middle-eastern roots is Tehran-born Yahya Alkhansa, who contributed tonbak percussions.

Both Jamalifard and Habibi guitarist Lenny Lynch originate from Detroit, although neither met until both were living and playing shows in the local Brooklyn scene, where they intuitively fostered a shared connection over their love of Middle Eastern psych music. The two recruited Karen Isabel (drums) and Leah Beth Fishman (bass), fellow musicians who were also friendly through the same DIY music hub, though both also had roots as far away as Puerto Rico before all landing in the common ground of New York City. They were quick to receive critical accolades, with their self-titled 2013 full-length debut heralded by The New Yorker as “stunning.”

“I see you walkin', walkin’ down Woodward / tryin’ to catch a ride,” Jamalifard sings in live favorite “Detroit Baby,” a reference to an avenue in the Detroit of their youth that could similarly apply to the place in Ridgewood, New York where she currently resides, or any other street in America or across the globe. Habibi have proven to be capable of showcasing authentically crafted music that is both uniquely its own yet able to traverse borders in its overarching appeal. This ethos is clear even in the band’s chosen name: “Habibi” translated to English means “my love”-a universal language that makes them easy to embrace.

Let Me Know Your Moon is Leggy's first release since their debut s/t in 2017 on Damnably Records, which compiled their previous EPs and singles into one remastered release. The record generated buzz from outlets such as Stereogum, Noisey, GoldFlakePaint and The Grey Estates - more than one of which praised the trio's "swaggering punk rock". "This album felt like a long time coming," explained guitarist/vocalist Veronique Allaer of the new record, continuing "I tried to channel that nervous energy into pure adrenaline on the recording. Over the summer of 2019 I went to Antwerp, Belgium to spend a month at my grandparents' home. They had both passed away and their beautiful home was on the market so I went to spend time there before it was sold. I felt a bit secluded and insular during the days there; I wanted to force myself to be creative. Being alone for a month in another country where I didn't speak the language, surrounded by my family's art, decor and clothing was super inspiring. My grandmother was such a special strong woman, the matriarch of our small family."

The result is Let Me Know Your Moon, twelve tracks (including the previously released single "Not What You Need") which deal heavily in interpersonal relationships. "The most prominent theme in this album is a relationship where you have to take a step back and ask 'does this person water me? Do I water them?' - meaning, do we help each other grow, are we good for each other? Is there anything more painful than realizing the person you love is no longer good for you?" explains Veronique of the album's overarching themes. Lead single "Eden" contains the album's title in its lyrics, drawing on the album's motifs of questioning fate and how things like horoscopes have the potential to affect all of us - even if only as self-fulfilling prophecies.

Formed in 2013, Leggy is Veronique Allaer (guitar/vocals), Kirsten Bladh (bass/vocals) and Chris Campbell (drums).

Jacques Le Coque

Scrappy Connecticut upstarts Jacques Le Coque rattled their way through 8 years of fast & loose head bopping, hip shaking tunes with a keen pop sensibility and their new record Positively... shows no signs of slowing down. With a couple of albums, Jacques Le Coque (self released, 2012), Hooky (King Pizza, 2015), and the Tip of My Tongue 7” (Windian, 2015) under their belt, this expertly home recorded band tightens up and battens the hatches to show a sharp capital-R Rock & Roll band stepping out of the garage and into your hearts. Killer hooks, hyped up good vibrations and wild eyed smiles both live and on record are a guarantee these gentlemen Positively... deliver in full.
Their new 45 on Windian Records finds Jacques Le Coque at the top of their game. A-side “Tip of My Tongue” is uptempo punk counterbalancing the catchiness with needling string work and subtly integrating a thread of garage precedent, some swell ’77-ish leads and a sly false ending into the equation.“You Better Move” only intensifies this circumstance, blending in unabashed power pop gestures and more overt ‘60s melodicism through low-mixed vocal harmony and a splendid guitar solo. Destined to satisfy jangle poppers with an underlying itch for the Ramones, Jacques Le Coque delivers raw, infectious, and damn fine music in full.

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