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. That band is Habibi; along with the frontwoman, it consists of guitarists Lenny Lynch and Erin Campbell, bassist Leah Fishman and drummer Karen Isabel. The New York-via-Detroit garage outfit crafts shimmering pop hits with a Middle Eastern influence and punk rock edge.
Started in 2011 by Jamalifard and Lynch, who bonded over their shared love for Iranian culture and psychedelic music, the band released two EPs and a studio album, before taking a break to focus on other projects for the last four years. Back with a third EP this March, Habibi is more polished than ever and focused on using their music to make a radical point.
With tracks in both English and Farsi, Cardamom Garden is a political pop manifesto with lyrics commenting on the current climate and choruses channeling the Shangri-Las. And because it’s 2018, and we’re all probably going to die soon anyway, we asked the girls to put together their own funeral playlist.
“Forever,” Little Dippers
JAMALIFARD: This is just such a peaceful ballad and I’m a huge sucker for a dreamy serenade. My heart floats away when I hear it—it just melts right up into the ether, weightless and euphoric. When I think about it that way, what better outro could one want?
“Stop and Smell the Roses,” Television Personalities
JAMALIFARD: Dan Treacy is a master lyricist whose emotional tone and sincerity bleed through every song. The first time I heard this somber track, I was struck by the candid honesty in his lyrics, like a delicate confession straight from the heart. His inflection gives me goosebumps as he bids farewell to a girl he loved. He’s expressing that although he may never see her again, it will be alright, because every time he stops to smell the roses the thought of her will make him feel okay.
“It’s All Over Now Baby Blue,” Chocolate Watchband
LYNCH: This is the farewell song to end all farewell songs. And it’s my favorite version of the much-covered Bob Dylan classic. The track is as much about endings as it is beginnings and I like that.
“From the Beginning of Time,” Mickey & Sylvia
LYNCH: One of the greatest love songs ever by a couple that didn’t even like each other. From the way it was recorded, it feels like it’s coming into your ears from a different realm. “Remember, wherever you go, your love will always remain, I know.” What a way to die!
“Todo Tiene Su Final,” Hector Lavo & Willie Colon
ISABEL: An amazing, poetic and succinct way by a king to explain that everything has its time. The song is also a jammer, so I would hope it would get people dancing at a funeral that I’d want to be treated more as a party.
“Laguna Sunrise,” Black Sabbath
FISHMAN: I think it all depends how I die, but I’ve always thought this would be a beautiful song for a beautiful funeral. It’s so haunting but peaceful, and very emotional—the fact that it has no words leaves you space to contemplate life and read into it anything you’re feeling. But for everything else, there’s “Dead Rock ‘n’ Rollers” by Detention—I think that song speaks for itself.
“Sun Arise,” Alice Cooper
CAMBPELL: A simple, beautiful song that’s also a reminder that life goes on beyond us and is a magical journey we’re all lucky to be on. But also, it has an elemental and chant-heavy aspect that reminds us of the ritual of life. Plus, Alice Cooper once sang “I Love the Dead,” so it just seems appropriate, right?
CARDAMOM GARDEN WILL BE RELEASED ON MARCH 2, 2018—PRE-ORDER IT HERE.