Devendra Banhart, Jeff Buckley, Nick Drake
The name might not be instantly recognizable, but Imaad Wasif has steadily risen to prominence with a slew of recordings coupled with performances and collaborations with the likes of Lou Barlow, Karen O (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Dale Crover (Melvins). His latest work—on the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack and The Voidist, his most recent solo record—shows him at his most creative, combining the best of both his acoustic and electric inclinations.
I don’t know if Imaad Wasif would appreciate being called a hippie, but he might have a difficult time denying it. His music, like that of Devendra Banhart’s, borrows liberally from several key strains of the mythical 60s--psychedelic, folk and rock—while his lyrics hew to decidedly spiritual and transformative themes.
The Canadian singer and multi-instrumentalist’s music career spans back to high school and the formation of his first band, Lowercase. After that project petered out, he started Alaska!, the same year he was recruited into Lou Barlow’s New Folk Implosion. A few years down the road he began focusing on his solo career in earnest, interrupted only by a stint touring with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and work on the motion picture soundtrack to 2009’s Where the Wild Things Are.
The Voidist, Wasif’s third and most recent solo album, was recorded with the help of his backing band, Two Part Beast, along with special guest performances from The Melvins’ Dale Crover and Red Sparowes Greg Burns. The record is all over the map, skillfully weaving spacey blues, ragas, slithering guitar lines and ethereal vocals into a sonic tapestry. I’m still not sure what a “voidist” is, but it sounds pretty dang good to these ears.