#TBT: Does Anybody Remember Habibi?

Illustration by Debbie Allen

Illustration by Debbie Allen

Let's think back to 2012 for a moment.

There was an election. there was an olympics. 2012 was also the year "Gangnam Style" descended upon the world, the year true love died (aka Amy Poehler and Will Arnett filed for divorce), and the year of wedge sneakers. In other words--a mixed bag.

I was a freshman in college, and my biggest concern besides passing statistics was to not get run over on my way to class by all the 'suh dude' long-boarders in Nike shorts and Vineyard Vines T-shirts. This was a real danger considering 1) these people had no fucking clue how to ride a skateboard and 2) I always had headphones in my ears. 

One of the songs I very clearly remember drifting in through those precious ear buds was "Sunsets" by Habibi. 

It's a perfectly-crafted slice of garage, girl-group goodness that fit in perfectly with the whole 60's revival, groupie/muse thing I fancied myself to have going on--I gave myself very ill-advised bangs and had a brief but passionate love affair with faux fur--which is unfortunately documented in photos. Anyways! Pulling off the 60's thing much better than me were Habibi themselves, a four-piece from Brooklyn, New York consisting of Rahill Jamalifard, Lenny Lynch, Erin Campbell Karen Isabel, who put out one EP and one amazing LP with gems like "Tomboy" and "Siin" before seeming to disappear. I came across "Sunsets" the other day on SoundCloud, and immediately got out my detective emoji. What happened to Habibi?

This video! Talk about aesthetic AF!

Was it money? Lack of fans? It couldn't be! Burger Records released their debut full-length--a stamp of cool--and their songs have been readily snapped up by fashion houses like Coach and Marc Jacobs--a stamp of success aka the commercialization of anything cool. So what gives? Why did Habibi go Habyebye? (Ew. But a little funny, right?) I'm still unsure--my best guess is a little thing called 'growing up'--but what I can tell you, is that Rahill Jamalifard has been very busy with ROYA, touring with the Allah-las and getting ready to release their debut album in June. Here they are performing the very post-punk, psych-y "Maleman" :

And here's a link to their new single, "A Sickness" :  https://www.wonderlandmagazine.com/2017/03/23/premiere-roya-sickness/

Lenny Lynch and Karen Isabel have also been playing shows with their band PMS and the Mood Swings, a Shangri-la's, garage rock-outfit which would get my vote for the Band Name Hall of Fame. You can listen to some of their stuff here:


Both bands are worth checking out, but if you're still mourning what could have Habeen-been for Habibi (I'll stop), good news! I did some more digging and found this post on their Instagram! Habibi reunion, baby! Coming soon!