Armen Ra wears girls clothes and plays the most sublime, vaguely Middle-Eastern Theremin music. I love his steez so much, he was my Halloween costume in 2009. And I’m still beating myself up for missing his act with Kembra Pfaler during the 2008 Whitney Biennial even though we were in the same building! Ugh! From Wikipedia:
Armen Ra is an American artist and performer of Iranian-Armenian descent. He taught himself to play Theremin, and is one of the best known players of the instrument alive today. His music fuses Armenian folk music with modern instrumentation, along with melodic lounge standards and classical arias. His concerts are known for their combination of both visual arts and his music…His debut solo CD, Plays The Theremin (released on Bowl & Fork Records in 2010), showcases many Classical Armenian laments and folk songs, representing both Armen’s Heritage and his very first musical influence.
Who wrote this wiki?! But yeah, Armen plz come back to NYC!
So remember when I blogged about the all-girl bands Habibi and the Splinters and my posts got unceremoniously deleted? Yeah, me neither. Well, creepy Mesopotamian karma does exist because Habibi is out with their first 7" on France’s Born Bad Records, incidentally having absorbed Splinters guitarist Caroline along the way. I don’t know if that means anything to you, but for me that means not one, but two swarthy kinfolk in the band. Indo-Europeans represent!
In this day and age, when the guitar has been unanimously divined as the summit of all self-expression in music, it’s rare to see a band that fearlessly exploits a heavy bassline. While Habibi’s instrumentals have a distinctly Motown feel, their lyrics are another thing altogether, drawing heavily on the realm of Persian folklore and mysticism. Their sound has a tendency to creep up on you softly and surreptitiously, kind of like the anonymous heroine of their songs—the one who shows up but never stays too long.
And for all you lurkers, I wouldn’t be remiss to say that each member brings her particular brand of babeness to the band.
Anyway, I won’t write you a play-by-play review because bywords like “soaring vocals,” “drenched in reverb” and “surf pop” seriously give me the dry heaves. And also because, as the patron saint of pathos says, why don’t you find out for yourself. Check out Habibi’s new single “Sweetest Talk,” with B-sides “Far From Right” and “Sunsets” here. And don’t forget to linger over leading lady Rahill’s gawgeous artwork, which looks kinda like Parajanov on hallucinogens.