Devendra Banhart has released a groovy, small-sized track in anticipation of his forthcoming new album "Mala."

You can hear "Für Hildegard von Bingen" via Pitchfork. Gone are Banhart's front-mixed vocals, intense with his idiosyncratic trill; instead, it's an easy, funky low-lying song about a Catholic saint from the 12th century.

"In my head there was this little movie, an alternative universe, I guess - Hildegard is sequestered in her cloister, and one day she gets a VHS cassette and it's the prime era of the MTV VJ, and she just goes wild. 'That’s it for me,' she says. 'That's how I'm going to get my message across.' So she escapes the cloister… and becomes a VJ," Banhart says of the song in a release.

"Mala" -- which is an Eastern European term for "dear one" or its approximate pet name -- will drop on March 12, through Banhart's new label home at Nonesuch. It was recorded at Banhart's house in L.A. and is the follow-up to 2009's "What Will We Be."

The aesthetic of this lovely, looping track may be influenced by another recent project from Banhart. The songwriter and artist was the narrator on animated short documentary "The Existential Adventures of Tim Maia," which is a fun chronicle of the Brazilian soul legend. The vid arrived around the same time Luaka Bop was promoting the first worldwide release of Maia's music, "World Psychedelic Classics 4: Nobody Can Live Forever: The Existential Sound of Tim Maia." I've listened to this set no less than 20 times and it is an awesome reissue.

Here is the tracklist for "Mala":

  1. Golden Girls
  2. Daniel
  3. Für Hildegard von Bingen
  4. Never Seen Such Good Things
  5. Mi Negrita
  6. Your Fine Petting Duck
  7. The Ballad of Keenan Milton
  8. A Gain
  9. Won’t You Come Over
  10. Cristobal Risquez
  11. Hatchet Wound
  12. Mala
  13. Won’t You Come Home
  14. Taurobolium