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Summoning the Spiritual With Just Enough Cowbell

By: for The New York Times on Aug. 14, 2010
World News
Photo Credits: www.brooklynvegan.com
The Prince Rama Band
If ever there was a time for a group of former Hare Krishna adherents to come to New York to make their way as a band, it would be now. Thanks to groups like Animal Collective and its peers, the shamanic impulse is as alive as ever in indie rock. The embrace of Eastern spirituality is at an apex. Tie-dye is making a comeback.

And so there was Prince Rama — the sisters Taraka and Nimai Larson, with Michael Collins — at the Mercury Lounge on Monday night, two out of three members barefoot, raining a formidable sound down in a far more tepid environment than the band deserves. (Recently the group played on a Brooklyn rooftop during a session of what was billed as “evil yoga.”)

The band members met while living in a Hare Krishna community near Gainseville, Fla., then moved to Boston to focus on art and music. Named for a Hindu deity (the group recently shrunk the name from Prince Rama of Ayodhya), this band has only gotten more forceful as it’s become more abstract.

The fourth Prince Rama album, “Shadow Temple,” will be released next month on Paw Tracks, the imprint spearheaded by Animal Collective. It’s a denser rush than the band’s previous albums, which have emphasized grating vocals. But now, the vocals have become obscured howls, like desperate cries of joy, and Nimai’s oceanic but nimble drumming has taken the spotlight, bolstered by shimmering, hazy keyboard work by Mr. Collins and Taraka. All together, it’s psychedelic, disorienting and vital.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/11/arts/music/11nite.html?_r=2
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