Habibi w/Leggy & Rahill (DJ Set)
Date(s) - 04/17/2019
The Press Room – Upstairs
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
About this Event
Doors at 7pm | Show at 8pm | 21+
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.
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.”
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).