Shoplifting with Habibi

Rough Trade Records

June 8th, 2024


share the music

Brooklyn based Garage girl group Habibi chats influences spanning the globe on our newest shoplifting session.

Photos by Olivia Cummings

Dreamachine, Habibi’s mesmerizing new record releasing on Kill Rock Stars, marks a major sonic evolution for the band, rising beyond the critically acclaimed five-piece’s garage rock roots to arrive at a singular swirl of analog and digital elements that underpin their search for spiritual and physical transcendence. Produced by Tyler Love and longtime collaborator Jay Heiselmann and featuring MGMT multi-instrumentalist James Richard-son, the collection draws on a mix of post-punk, experimental pop, and vintage disco, calling to mind Tom Verlaine, Diana Ross, Kate Bush, and Kim Deal, all filtered through the band’s shared love of Middle Eastern psych music.

The songs here are their own distinct worlds, each an immersive quest in pursuit of something greater, and the band’s performances are relentless and hypnotic to match, driven by lush synthesizers, sinewy guitars, and a muscular rhythm section. The result is a record as fearless as it is enthralling, an alternatingly fierce and joyous work that ascends to new heights as it reckons with desire and escape, love and surrender, rebellion and reality.

We caught up with Habibi at our NYC store for our newest session of Shoplifting. An invitation to roam the racks in pursuit of the recorded material which has most inspired and shaped their sound today. Be sure to check out their new album Dreamachine out now via Kill Rock Stars.


Rahill Jamalifard: My first pick was Asha Puthli, the Indian songstress extraordinaire. She basically covered everything from jazz to disco to pop to Indian classical and she kind of fused them all together. And you know, she was on Ornette Coleman records and was also making disco records. I just find the marriage of all of those genres and her really beautiful and particular voice awesome. And then my other choice was Flying Start by The Blackbyrds, which I always fall on. I love this record because I love the song “Love is Love,” which I play at almost every DJ set. I’m a huge fan. I would probably cite Donald Byrd as one of my favorite artists. Love The Blackbyrds. They are so freaking good, just top tier music.  

Ana Becker: My first pick is Every Bird Ever by the band Ilithios, which means idiot in Greek. I am not Greek, but my friend Manny, who fronts this band and made this beautiful record, is part Greek. And this is just such a lovely, beautiful, beautiful record. It’s lush, it’s melancholic, it’s evocative, it’s textured. There are a lot of wonderful guests or a lot of my friends play on it… I play on it. But I really feel strongly that this is a really special work of art and I’m really proud of Manny. I think it’s a beautiful record and very worth checking out. The other record I pulled out is Antena’s Camino el Sol. She’s a genius. It’s like bossa, it’s luscious, but it’s minimal. It sounds like it’s from the past. It sounds like it’s from the future.

Lanaya Lynch: These are two of, well, one of them is my favorite album. First is Automatic’s new album Excess. This one I haven’t listened to yet and I’m excited to listen to it because Automatic is a band from LA. They opened for us once and now I’m like, hey, maybe we could open for you guys. They are so cool and they blew up but they deserve it because they have great song quality. It’s fun and has really simplistic dance melodies. They did a cover of Delta 5’s “Mind Your Own Business” that was really great. They’ve got great style and taste in their songs so I’m excited to listen to the new album. Then The Feelies Crazy Rhythms, this is a classic. And even though I think they’re Jersey, I think of this as a quintessential New York album. Susan Seidelman’s first film called Smithereens with Richard Hale was like all about these punks in the city and The Feelies pretty much did most of the soundtrack. The song “Crazy Rhythms” has my favorite drums on it for like kind of a post punk punk drums. I have to always walk the Williamsburg Bridge and that’s one of the songs I’ll put on.

Yukary: The first record I picked is Sisterworld by Liars. I picked this record because Liars is my mom’s favorite band. When this record came out it was totally different because I think one of the members quit and they changed the sound in a more electronic way. But I still love the atmosphere of the music and everything. I went to the live show and it was amazing. Then the second one is Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the soundtrack by Joe Hisaishi. This soundtrack is very experimental and weird, almost scary. Some of the songs are so beautiful and I love this movie so that’s why I picked it.

Lyla Vander: So first off I picked Who is William Onyeabor? This record is all hits and is definitely a very special kind of genre. It’s like sometimes you can make amazing magic with just like a beat casio and this is proof positive. It’s amazing, and dancy and so fun. Always good, definitely a classic album. Next I picked The Cure’s Three Imaginary Boys which is the first record when they’re still like going from punk into emo kind of and their signature style, but it’s pretty raw.

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