Yasmine Hamdan at the El Rey
RIYL: Chelsea Wolfe, Meriem Hassan, Hiatus Kaiyote
The first thing you notice when Yasmine Hamdan takes the stage is the Lebanese singer is breathtakingly, stunningly gorgeous. Its the kind of radiance that punches you in the gut and leaves you dazed and dazzled. When she begins to sing, her otherworldly syren-like pipes pull you into the depths and you suddenly realize you have been utterly swept up in her spell. At the El Rey the crowd was modest, but passionate, the singer, who dropped her album Al Jamilat this year, attracting a fervent audience who waited with anticipation for her to take the stage. Surprisingly, her sound shares a lot in common with the similarly otherworldy Chelsea Wolfe, though mostly to Wolfe's material before Hiss/Spun, where her distant vocals drifted as if from another plane of existence through sparse heavy folk with some electronic production. Ms. Hamdan employs a similar methor--her incredible melodies drifting atop electronic beats and twisting guitars. It makes for a captivating live show with Ms. Hamdan floating between two mics while her backing band and DJ weave their music in and out to a feverish pitch, finally released by soaring vocals.
Al Jamilat is by far one of the best records of the year, so I urge you all to check it out and make sure you catch her next time she's in town.