Devendra & Natalie sitting in a tree. But are they K-I-S-S-I-N-G?
When Devendra Banhart emerged in the early 00s, I thought he seemed like the inheritor of the lo-fi throne whose lineage included Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes, Lou Barlow's Sebadoh project, Elliott Smith, and the Mountain Goats. As any indie fan knows, all those musicians graduated into higher-fi settings and have -- in stretches -- turned out to be incredibly adept pop musicians. But with their lo-fi beginnings, often came initial impressions that these musicians were weirdos, shut-ins, folks incapable of making concessions to the world of pop. Basically that they were like Daniel Johnston, only without the mental illness.
In case you are unfamiliar with his story, here an excerpt from the heartrending documentary film about him, The Devil and Daniel Johnston:
Well, it's turned out that Devendra's music has not much evolved since those riveting initial 4-track demos. It's acquired layers, additional musicians to play it, international influences. What it has not acquired is depth. And Devendra, always out-and-about pimping his friends' projects, conducting interviews with the likes of Lindsey Lohan, even hogging the stage during Os Mutantes triumphant return to the stage a few years ago at Chicago's Pitchfork Music Festival -- well, he's turned out to not be that weird at all, certainly not in the way we expect of retiring, humble indie rockers.
That, perhaps, is why I see no reason to hem and haw about Devendra's evolution into, well, not so much a musician as a celebrity. As reported on LiveJournal's fearufully compelling new gossip forum OhNoTheyDidn't: that he seems to be spending quality time with Queen Amidala herself, Natalie Portman. It's not that Devendra's wholly uncompelling as a musician (he has a stage presence & a voice to die for). It's just that perhaps he'd be better off pursuing a career that many musicians before him have attempted and failed to pull off to my satisfaction. Devendra the thespian? Coming soon...
But okay, the question you're all dying to answer. Are Natalie and Devendra doin' it? I can't answer that...
...however, the answer to if they are K-I-S-S-I-N-G after the jump!