Habibi are venturing into the unknown. While their self-titled debut “combine[d] the Colgate-white glisten of sixties-girl-group pop with an uncensored edge” (The New Yorker), their sophomore album ‘Anywhere but Here’, responds to a current global climate of unease, weaving colorful 60’s refrains with moodier, more expansive sonic textures. 

    ‘Anywhere but Here’ was created with Alex Epton in the XL Recordings studios with the ability to flesh out sounds and nuances which deepened the band’s creative chemistry, a far shout from the DIY 20-somethings musicians-in-the-making who recorded in each other’s bedrooms. With the comfort of time on their side, Habibi were able to experiment with instruments like the 12-string guitar, ney flute, vibraphone and sitar, and call back previous collaborators such as tombak percussionist Yahya Alkhansa, adding Middle Eastern flourishes that continue to tell the story of their history and heritage.

    First single, the entrancing “Come My Habibi,” is perhaps the strongest bridge from 2018 EP, the Farsi-sung ‘Cardamom Garden’ lauded by The New York Times for “celebrating their lead singer’s Iranian roots” and by Pitchfork for “shedding rigid definitions of what constitutes American music,” but although the album contains similarly romantic songs (“Stronghold”) and breakup tracks (“Bad News”), the real empowering sensibility behind Habibi’s world are the ones who have held it together through it all.

    Habibi are aware that their relationship with one another “has surpassed any relationship with a guy,” and this celebration of female friendship through trying times of doubt and uncertainty can be seen through the deliberate structures, warm synchronization of guitars, and lyricisms that echo throughout, “It’s been a let down every time / But I got you staying on my mind” Lenny Lynch sings on “Hate Everyone But You” a definitive love letter to friendship, that provides a counterpoint to album opus “Dragging Me Down,” that hears Rahill Jamalifard intone “Sun still rises and moon stays out late / Darkness remains on a two sided face,” an ode to the feeling of ‘Anywhere But Here.’

    It’s easy to see the ongoing dialogue between old friends that add their own essential components of perspective and support to the record: Lenny, Rahill and bassist Leah Fishman’s easy synergy allowed songs to come together in short bursts between soundcheck and set times during a long worldwide tour last year but the permeating sense of identity meant the record only felt truly cohesive when considering older music that finally felt like it found its place (“Angel Eyes”). This trusting of the process, however short or long, has culminated in Habibi’s most studied and mature record to date.  

    The songs that make up ‘Anywhere but Here’ pose if not universal solutions, then honest perspectives on navigating a place that can feel more unfamiliar by the day, and finding the universal truths that ground us and challenge who we are.  Where ‘Cardamom Garden’ had a strong sense of place, this new opus is a departure into uncharted territories, but with ‘Anywhere but Here,’ Habibi acknowledge that perhaps the only solace to be found is that, if your friend shares with you a spotlight at the front of a stage or a seat at the back of the van, you’ll never truly be alone.

    ‘Anywhere but Here’ comes out via Muddguts Records on February 14th.

    HABIBI (Burger Records, 2013)

    1. Far From Right
    2. I Got The Moves
    3. Detroit Baby
    4. Sunsets
    5. Sweetest Talk
    6. She Comes Along
    7. Persepolis
    8. Let Me In
    9. Siin
    10. Tomboy
    11. Wrong To The Right People

    Recorded by Jay Heiselmann at Death By Audio, Winter 2012/2013. Vocals: Rahill Jamalifard. Guitar, Vocals: Lenny Lynch. Bass, Guitar: Erin Campbell. Guitar: Caroline Partamian. Drums: Karen Isabel

    CARDAMOM GARDEN (Modern Sky USA, 2018)

    1. Khodaya
    2. Gyspy Love
    3. Nedayeh Bahar
    4. Green Fuz

    All songs and lyrics written by Habibi except Green Fuz by Leslie Dale & Randy Alvey. All tracks recorded and mixed by Jay Heislemann in Brooklyn, NY. All tracks mastered by Heba Kadry at Timeless mastering in Brooklyn, NY. All instruments played by Erin Campbell, Karen Isabell, Leah Beth Fishman, Lenny Lynch, Rahill Jamalifard, and Yahya Alkhansa. All songs published by Songs of the Mothership/Burger Tunes (ASCAP), Music of the Mothership/Burger Hits (BMI), Except Green Fuz. Album art by Rahill Jamalifard and Bailey Robb. Graphic Design by Rahill Jamalifard and Wendy Waseige

    “The band’s newest EP, Cardamom Garden, houses lyrics that move seamlessly between English and Farsi.” NPR Weekend Edition

    “Cardamom has the rare ability to transcend culinary classification, adding a rounded depth to savory curries and roasts while also floating to the forefront of sugary desserts. The Brooklyn-based quintet Habibi’s new EP has a similar malleability: It’s full of music that blends cultures, languages, and genres, with charming and intriguing results, (…) shedding rigid definitions of what constitutes American music on the way to the band’s future.” Pitchfork (6.8/10)

    “The group combines the Colgate-white glisten of sixties-girl-group pop with an uncensored edge; its songs are soft but savvy, preened for high-profile movie soundtracks and sitcoms.” The New Yorker

    “Empowering.” Billboard

    “Habibi might have formed in New York, but the band’s roots are in Detroit — in more ways than one. Rahill Jamalifard and Lenny Lynch both from the Motor City, but the influence of Detroit’s middle eastern community and its history of girl group garage rock can be heard loud and clear in their music.” NPR’s The Guestlist

    “Like the self-titled effort that precedes it, this three-track EP is full of charged-up garage rhythms and infectious hooks. But here, they interact with elements of Middle Eastern psych. The results are unexpected, exciting, and, as always, catchy as hell.” i-D Magazine

    “There’s a million bands from Brooklyn—but only one that blends psych-rock riffs with girl group harmonies in lead singer Rahill Jamalifard’s native tongue, Farsi. Back with a third EP this March, Habibi is more polished than ever and focused on using their music to make a radical point.”  Interview Magazine

    “In the simplest words: Habibi knows how to write songs that stick. Lenny Letter

    “Habibi is taking NYC by stormMilk.xyz

    From their brief, Arabic-tinged instrumental intro through a mix of Breeders jangle, Ventures stomp and Farsi funk, they’re developing an intriguing, distinctive sound. New York Music Daily

    They’re not your average New York girl band (…) – think The 13th Floor Elevators meets The Shangri-Las. Oyster Magazine

    Habibi offer a refined take on indie pop, creating a rich product, something poignant and uplifting in its celebratory blend. Post-Trash

    “There are a lot of groups these days that are drawing from the garage-rock and ’60s psychedelic-pop well, but Habibi transform these influences into something much more powerfully engrossing and strange on their recent EP.” LA Weekly

    Something that keeps me up at night is how many nice things we might have if the large majority of the world’s non-male, non-white people had not been silenced throughout most of history. (…) Nedayeh Bahar, which translates to “Song For Spring” in Farsi, reminds me to honor the voices I never got to hear, and celebrate and amplify the ones emerging today.” Hullabaloo

    Agreed, their tunes hypnotise you into believing time is but an illusion, and ten minutes of music easily become ten seconds — just like when you’re spending time with someone you love and mundane concepts such as hours become irrelevant and elastic. The 405

    Cultural identity is always a powerful force in any creative endeavor, and for Habibi, that energy is ready to explode.” What Youth

    Management: W&, Wendy Waseige (Email)
    Publicist: W&, Wendy Waseige (Email)
    Booking (UK/EU): Earth Agency, Mike Deane (Email)
    Booking (US): Crossover Touring, Rachel Doe (Email)
    Label: Muddguts Records, Mark Cross (Email)
    Licensing: Natural Energy Lab, Danny Benair (Email)
    Publishing: Mothership, Lionel Conway (Email)