Posts Tagged ‘Ariel Pink’

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Ariel Pink is prepping a new album, “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson”, the third under his own name and first since 2014’s Pom Pom. The second single, “Time to Live,” feature’s a big ‘80s beat and scrapes of lo-fi vocals beneath treacherous waves of synth noise. When the chorus emerges, it’s a burst of sudden clarity for Pink, whose Ian-Curtis-meets-Jay Reatard baritone grounds the proceedings: “We must be vigilant when struggling in this world / you cannot die you have to live, that’s what it’s for.”

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Ariel Pink has announced a new album, titled “Dedicated To Bobby Jameson”The new album will drop on September 15th via Mexican Summer.

The album’s first single track, “Another Weekend,” has been released. It will also be released as a single-EP on August 18th. Ariel Pink is a  Los Angeles-based one-man band. He started out as a visual artist before becoming a recording artist in the late ‘90s, and has been honing in on his euphoric-pop sound since. In 2003, his lo-fi experimental music caught the attention of Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label, earning his home recordings a small and devoted fan base through a series of limited edition reissues. As he gained popularity, Pink’s influence grew. His solo efforts evolved into a four-piece; he signed with landmark indie label 4AD Records late in 2009, and his resulting first single, “Round and Round,” was named the #1 Record of 2010 by Pitchfork. In 2014, he returned to his solo moniker and released the album “Pom Pom”.

Ariel Pink has also announced tour dates for this Fall. It will include a show at Joshua Tree, CA’s Desert Daze (10/13) and Austin, TX’s Sound On Sound (11/12).

Image of Moon Duo - Occult Architecture Vol.1

Moon Duo –   Occult Architecture Vol 1,

Meaning all things magick and supernatural, the root of the word occult is that which is hidden, concealed, beyond the limits of our minds. If this is occult, then the Occult Architecture of Moon Duo’s fourth album – a psychedelic opus in two separate volumes released in 2017 – is an intricately woven hymn to the invisible structures found in the cycle of seasons and the journey of day into night, dark into light.

Offering a cosmic glimpse into the hidden patterning embedded in everything, Occult Architecture reflects the harmonious duality of these light and dark energies through the Chinese theory of Yin and Yang.

In Chinese, Yin means “the shady side of the hill” and is associated with the feminine, darkness, night, earth. Following this logic, Vol. 1 embraces and embodies Moon Duo’s darker qualities — released appropriately on February 3rd, in the heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

According to guitarist Ripley Johnson, “the concept of the dark/light, two-part album came as we were recording and mixing the songs, beginning in the dead of winter and continuing into the rebirth and blossoming of the spring. There’s something really powerful about the changing of the seasons in the Northwest, the physical and psychic impact it has on you, especially after we spent so many years in the seasonal void of California. I became interested in gnostic and hermetic literature around that time, especially the relationship between music and occult qualities and that fed into the whole vibe.”

Adds keyboardist Sanae Yamada, “the two parts are also intended to represent inverted components of a singular entity, like two faces on the same head which stare always in opposite directions but are inextricably driven by the same brain.”

Vol. 1 was mixed in Berlin by the band’s longtime collaborator Jonas Verwijnen.

Image of Real Estate - In Mind

Real Estate – In Mind

On In Mind, the fourth full-length record from Real Estate, the band fine-tunes the winsome songwriting and profound earnestness that made previous albums – 2009’s Real Estate, 2011’s Days, and 2014’s Atlas – so beloved. Recorded in Los Angeles with producer Cole M. Greif-Neill (Julia Holter, Beck), In Mind delivers the same kind of warmth and soft-focus narratives that one has come to expect from the band – pastoral guitars, elegantly deployed arrangements, a sort of mindful melancholy – but there is also a newly adventurous sonic edge to the proceedings.

It offers a mild shifting of the gears, positing a band engaged in the push/pull of burgeoning adulthood. Reflecting a change in lineup, changes in geography, and a general desire to move forward without looking back, the record casts the band in a new light – one that replaces the wistful ennui of teenage suburbia with an equally complicated adult version.

Image of Surfer Blood - Snowdonia

Surfer Blood –  Snowdonia

Surfer Blood are one of the best young indie-rock bands around, and their fourth album, Snowdonia, is their most ambitious effort yet. Overcoming adversity, the band has artistically grown and thrived. Following the departure of bassist Kevin Williams and guitarist Thomas Fekete (tragically lost to cancer in May), singer/guitarist John Paul Pitts and drummer Tyler Schwarz have rebuilt a talented lineup with guitarist Michael McCleary and bassist Lindsey Mills, all four alumni of the same high school in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Pitts wrote specifically with the new band’s talents in mind: “When I was writing I was thinking more about background vocals and harmonies. Lindsey and Michael are great singers, and I really wanted that to show in the songs. There are layers of vocals on almost every track, and the call-and-response parts between Lindsey and I are something totally new.” Along with plenty of Surfer Blood’s signature hooks, the band concocted some epic and more complex songs with enormous attention to sonic detail. Pitts wrote and mixed the album alone, for the first time since their debut Astro Coast. The immediacy is intoxicating and the musical and lyrical results are fantastic. Surfer Blood get better and better with each album, and we’re sure they’ll be making great records for years to come

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Weyes Blood and Ariel Pink  –  Myths 002

Myths 002 brings together Natalie Mering – aka Weyes Blood  and Ariel Rosenberg – aka Ariel Pink – for the second installment in Mexican Summer’s collaboration series. Composed and captured in Marfa, Texas during the annual Myths music and arts festival, Mering and Rosenberg inspire each other’s inner pop madrigals to mythological heights for Myths 002. In the middle of March 2016, over a week-long musical residency in the desert, two weird planets went conjunct. Both bore a bright colour palette: Ariel Rosenberg (aka Ariel Pink), an underground icon known for his stylized, subversive pop, and Natalie Mering (aka Weyes Blood), bold bringer of a future cosmic folk realm. They composed and captured the EP, Myths 002. As West Coast singer-songwriters with a shared sensibility for mood, Natalie and Ariel have been collaborating artists, mutual admirers, and friends for years. Mering appeared as guest vocalist on Pink’s 2013 album Mature Themes, Pink produced the infectious Drugdealer song Suddenly featuring Mering. Mering’s third album, Front Row Seat To Earth, was released in October 2016 on Mexican Summer. The atmosphere and auras of these two pop artists assemble as new hues on Myths 002, their distinct voices inexplicably, effortlessly folding into harmony. The four songs capture musicians at play – speak-talking dramatic interludes, twisting up songs strangely before releasing them assuredly in New Romantic resolves. During the annual Marfa Myths festival, Mexican Summer and Ballroom Marfa brought these two musicians together for the second in a record series that promotes collaboration between artists within the label crew and kindred musical spirits from outside the catalog. Marfa is small town known for its remote desert locale in Texas, its arts community, and its strange heavenly lights.

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Ron Gallo  –  Heavy Meta

Heavy Meta is 11 tracks of lyrical confrontation and laughter for cynics laid down roughly on a bed of fuzz, chaotic structures and primal sounds evoked from a red Fender jaguar electric guitar – there is bass, there are drums and not much else besides the occasional icing (no artificial colours or dyes).

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Communions – Blue

Communions are a four-piece from Copenhagen, made up of brothers Martin and Mads Rehof, Jacob van Deurs Formann and Frederik Lind Köppen.

‘Blue’ is Communions’ debut album, following a series of singles over the last two years. ‘Blue’ makes the most of everywhere Communions have been. Through all of this the stakes have changed but the sensitivity and craft with which the band takes risks has bloomed. An eloquence now shines through and you can take it or leave it.

Discarding some of the moodiness found in their previous recordings, ‘Blue’ tells us what was always natural to Communions. It’s about love and taking chances. It’s about trying something and it still doesn’t matter if there’s apprehension.

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The Besnard Lakes  –  Are the Divine Wind

Early in 2016, The Besnard Lakes released their finest album to date, the magisterial A Coliseum Complex Museum and toured worldwide throughout the following months. Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, the couple at the heart of the band, had spent the previous summer on their annual retreat to their namesake Besnard Lake. In a place with so much personal significance, they spent time writing the music that was to form the album. Culling the tracks down to an album proved a difficult task and inevitably there were tracks they loved that just didn’t quite fit with the overall album. So it is with delight that almost exactly a year on, the band are able to release this 12″ of two brand new, exclusive tracks written and recorded at the same time as the album. Laura Lee is a sibling track to the album’s illustrious first single, The Golden Lion – spacious reverb-y drums echo around an almost sci-fi vocal line sung by Olga Goreas. Meanwhile, the title track The Divine Wind is the Besnard Lakes at their expansive, psychedelic best: a sustained keyboard building through to a bombastic coda, complete with Lasek’s unmistakable falsetto. If you ever needed a reminder of just how unique, beautiful and far-reaching this band is, then The Besnard Lakes Are the Divine Wind delivers.

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Mumford and Sons  –  Dust and Thunder

Chronicling the first meeting of South Africa with its favourite British band, Mumford and Sons, award-winning director Dick Carruthers gets to the very heart of what makes Mumford and Sons such a special act. Filmed live against the beautiful Pretorian outback, the band performs their most recent material and classic hits in front of an exhilarated crowd. Filmed in stunning 4K and mixed in 5.1 surround sound.

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LUH  –  SPIRITUAL SONGS FOR LOVERS TO SING

LUH began 2016 by releasing ‘I&I’, a song about daybreak, new beginnings and fresh starts and with a sound so bold and unflinching, it served as perfect way to describe the shape of things to come.

Today they announce details of the their debut album ‘Spiritual Songs For Lovers To Sing’ available for pre-order now and out on 6th May 2016 on Mute. The album was produced by The Haxan Cloak (known for his own genre-bending experimental compositions and work on Björk’s Vulnicura album) on the remote island of Osea.

LUH (which stands for Lost Under Heaven) is Ellery Roberts and Ebony Hoorn. Over the past two years, they have been releasing music, art, photography, film and manifestos into the world, including 2014’s ‘Unites’ video and the expansive ‘Lost Under Heaven’ music and artwork package at the end of last year.

Ellery’s name might be familiar as the frontman of WU LYF, whose raw and primal voice helped create a sound that shaped a new model for the untamed fury of youth. Ebony is an audio-visual artist based in Amsterdam, where the pair now live, and co-directed the new video for ‘I&I’ with Florian Joahn.

ARIEL PINK / R STEVIE MOORE –  KU KLUX GLAM

Psych-pop masterpiece from two of the best to ever do it. Los Angeles native and weirdo-pop enthusiast Ariel Pink joins forces with lo-fi pop pioneer R. Stevie Moore in a crazy freak-out extravaganza. Back in 2012, two leaders of the modern psych scene colluded together in making a 60+ track album. Here, we have the definitive collection of songs from ‘Ku Klux Glam’. Re-mastered and compiled by R. Stevie Moore, this is a presentation of this record in it’s clearest form.

SERATONES – GET GONE

Serving up a combination of Southern musicality and garage rock ferocity, Shreveport, Louisiana natives Seratones announce their debut album ‘Get Gone,’ released via Fat Possum Records. Led by powerhouse frontwoman A.J. Haynes whose thunderous vocals recall the grit of Janis Joplin and gospel of Mavis Staples, Seratones make a strong case with ‘Get Gone’ to be your new favourite alt-rock band of 2016. Recorded at Dial Back Sound studios in Mississippi, ‘Get Gone’ is all live takes, a portrait of Seratones in their element. Add the soul and swagger of a juke joint with the electricity coursing through a basement DIY show, and you’d begin to approach the experience of seeing this foursome live. Haynes’ powerful singing voice, first honed at Brownsville Baptist Church in Columbia, Louisiana at age 6, rings across every track. ‘Don’t Need It,’ which opens with a muscular swing and tight guitar lines, builds into a monster finish with a nasty corkscrew of a guitar line. ‘Sun,’ a brawny thrasher, courses with huge, raw voltage riffs. ‘Chandelier,’ a mid-tempo burner and vocal workout by Haynes, goes from croon to a crescendo that would shake any crystals hanging from the rafters. Shared history in Shreveport’s music scene brought the Seratones together a few years ago. All four had played together with one or another in various local punk bands, bonding through all-ages basement shows, gigs at skate parks and BBQ joints, and late nights listening to jazz and blues records. In a city of multiple genres, no fixed musical identity and a flood of cover bands, these adventurous musicians carved out their own path, personifying the do-it-yourself ethos. The band’s unwavering dedication to staying true to themselves is echoed throughout their debut; however you try to describe it, ‘Get Gone’ is unexpected and unbowed, a head-snapping showcase of the twin pillars of Southern music, restlessness and resourcefulness.
LP – Black Vinyl With Download.
LP+ – Limited Yellow Coloured Vinyl with Download.

BILLIE MARTEN –  MILK AND HONEY

Limited 7″. With delicate, expansive ballads like ‘Bird’ and ‘Heavy Weather,’ 16-year-old Yorkshire folk-rocker Billie Marten proved last year that she’s talented beyond measure and wise beyond her years. ‘Milk and Honey’ is Marten’s latest, and it continues her hot streak. What begins as a breathy acoustic swirl blooms into a lush arrangement topped off by triumphal brass. As ever, Marten sounds vulnerable yet in complete command of her considerable powers.

ULTIMATE PAINTING –  LIVE AT THIRD MAN RECORDS

Ultimate Painting is a young, yet already distinguished UK duo comprised of Jack Cooper and James Hoare. As the story goes, these two spent time touring together with Cooper’s band, Mazes, supporting Hoare’s band, Veronica Falls. A fateful friendship developed and, to make it quick, demos were recorded and swapped, which all eventually led to their debut seeing release on Trouble In Mind. The project has been so thoroughly adored for its uncomplicated, beautifully calm approach to VU-style riff-making and loose-but-biting vibes that the follow up, ‘Green Lanes’, was released a mere ten months later. Needless to say Third Man are so glad they carved their way through the great land of Nashville, TN. Recorded direct-to-tape, ‘Live at Third Man Records’ is an impeccable document of English rock ‘n’ roll. The band is in top form here and their set consists of the finest material from the band’s first and second albums, ‘Ultimate Painting’ and ‘Green Lanes’ respectively, with a handful of extended jams featured here. This live record is a must own for fans of the band, not to mention anyone smitten with mellow guitar magic that absolutely explodes into some true, stately mayhem.

RYAN ADAMS  – HEARTBREAKER – DELUXE

‘Heartbreaker’ the debut solo studio album by Ryan Adams, which was hailed as a modern classic on its release in September 2000. The album, which has been remastered by original producer Ethan Johns, features the 15 song album in all its glory plus demos and unreleased outtakes from this landmark record by one of rock music’s most prolific and charismatic stars. The package also includes a DVD featuring a film of the legendary New York show at the Mercury Lounge in October 2000 and a glossy booklet of rare and unseen photos and Ryan Adams ephemera with an essay written by producer, friend and collaborator Ethan Johns.
4LP and DVD – 180 Gram vinyl set with DVD
2CD / DVD – Double CD with DVD Set.

THE LOW ANTHEM –  EYELAND

‘Eyeland’ marks the Low Anthem’s fourth full-length recording and first new music since 2011’s ‘Smart Flesh’. The Low Anthem return from an extraordinary five-year journey with ‘Eyeland’ an unprecedented collection of multi-dimensional future folk crafted with uncommon vision and emotional depth. The Providence, RI-based band’s fifth full-length recording, ‘Eyeland’ began as a “vague and rather abstract” short story by co-founder / singer / guitarist Ben Knox Miller, based around the “sonic mythology of a moth’s dreams.”  Low Anthem’s lofty aspirations and creative capriciousness resonate throughout songs like ‘Her Little Cosmos,’ ‘The Pepsi Moon’ and ‘Behind The Airport Mirror,’ their elegiac arrangements and lyrical frankness marked by shimmering ambience and a hauntingly defiant tension. Psychedelic in the truest sense of that overused word, ‘Eyeland’ is a perspective-shifting musical experience at once elliptical and intangible yet still precise and powerfully personal.

THOSE PRETTY WRONGS –  THOSE PRETTY WRONGS

Those Pretty Wrongs are Jody Stephens and Luther Russell, two old friends and veterans of the music scene in different ways. Jody was the drummer for the legendary band Big Star and now helps run equally legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis. Luther Russell was the leader of seminal roots-rock band The Freewheelers and is now an acclaimed solo artist and producer. Those Pretty Wrongs was tracked entirely to 2″ tape at Ardent Studios in Memphis, using much of the old Big Star gear, including Jody’s original kit from Radio City and Third and Chris Bell’s acoustic and electric guitars from No#1 Record. The album was mixed by Luther Russell and Jason Hiller at Hiller’s Electrosound Studios in Los Angeles, CA. Jody is way out in front on this release – really for the first time ever – taking all lead vocals and co-writing all of the songs with Luther. Through the words on this record Jody opens up about his life, which has been well-documented, but not in this very intimate way. Adds Stephens: “For me the lyrics are a walk through day-to-day emotions and experiences.” Luther lives in Los Angeles and Jody in Memphis, so there was a real commitment to finishing these songs and cutting them until they were totally satisfied.

DESTROYER –  MY MYSTERY

Late last year, Destroyer released ‘Poison Season’ – a treasure trove of mid-’70s Bowie-esque thumpers, string-laden laments and E Street horns – to universal acclaim. Recorded in the same sessions as ‘Poison Season’, the song ‘My Mystery’ was a huge favourite yet somehow felt like it didn’t quite fit on the album. Now it gets released as a stand alone 12″ backed by ‘My Mystery (DJ johnedwardcollins@gmail.com remix)’.
Comes with Download.

BEVERLY – THE BLUE SWELL

What began as a recording project between Frankie Rose (Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Stilts, Vivian Girls) and Drew Citron for their debut album ‘Careers’ has now morphed into something one would of never expected. Drew has speared headed this project into a full time touring band armed with tight musicians all gathered from some of the top bands around her musical community in Brooklyn. Where the first album took on a very 90’s Breeders influence, this sophomore album still has strong 90’s roots, yet sounds more in the vain of a female fronted Teenage Fanclub with jangly guitars and poppy lyrics that won’t escape your head for days on end.
LP – With Download.

Image of Psychic Ills - Inner Journey Out

The seekers in New York City’s Psychic Ills have spent more than a decade following their muse wherever it takes them. Inner Journey Out, the band’s highly anticipated fifth album and first since 2013, is the culmination of an odyssey of three years of writing, traversing the psych-rock landscape they’ve carved throughout their career and taking inspired pilgrimages into country, blues, gospel, and jazz.

Inner Journey Out started out the way many Ills records have – with frontman Tres Warren’s demos. Like all of their records, Elizabeth Hart’s bass is the glue that holds everything together. Where other recent albums found Warren overdubbing himself to create a blown-out, widescreen sound, this recording handed the reigns to a multitude of guest players. A cadre of musicians and vocalists – including Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval, who duets on lead single “I Don’t Mind” – join in on the journey. This is the first record to feature touring keyboard player Brent Cordero, his Farfisa and Wurlitzer work is a staple throughout. Rounding things out, is a platoon of drummers and percussionists including Chris Millstein, Harry Druzd of Endless Boogie, Derek James of The Entrance Band, and Charles Burst, one of the record’s engineers. These musicians build the frame on which Warren lays his hazy guitar and vocals. An endless array of friends and guests also provide pedal steel guitar, horns, strings, and backing vocals, which culminate in a career-defining moment for the Ills.

Thematically, Inner Journey Out is a detailed exploration of the interior and the exterior, and the pathway between the two. The focused songwriting makes the stylistic departures fit seamlessly within the band’s dexterous ethos. The rousing gospel number “Another Change” and the far-out free jazz exploration “Ra Wah Wah” help shape Inner Journey Out into a multi-faceted, full album experience. It’s the most personal Psychic Ills album, too, hinting tantalizingly at love and loss but denying the listener resolution — asking questions, but never answering; seeking, but never fully concluding.

A decade on from releasing their critically lauded cult debut, Dins, and the deep dive into cosmic improvisation of Mirror Eye that followed, through the more recent and straightforward outings of Hazed Dream and One Track Mind, Psychic Ills have delivered their most remarkable statement yet with Inner Journey Out.

Image of White Lung - Paradise

For the making of ‘Paradise’, vocalist Mish Barber- Way, guitarist Kenneth William and drummer Anne- Marie Vassiliou reconnected in Los Angeles to work with producer Lars Stalfors (HEALTH, Cold War Kids, Alice Glass) and also sat down with Annie Clark aka St. Vincent to discuss the making of the album.

Bringing all the energy, unique guitar work and lyrical prowess the band are known for to the studio, White Lung curated their songs with a new pop sensibility, focusing on making a record for the present.

Ariel Pink & R. Stevie MooreKu Klux Glam
Super limited wax pressing!
Splatter vinyl comes with limited numbered print!
w/ digital download

Psych-Pop masterpiece from two of the best to ever do it. Los Angeles native and weirdo-pop enthusiast Ariel Pink joins forces with lo-fi pop pioneer R. Stevie Moore in a freak-out head-fuck extravaganza!

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French singer Soko duets with L.A. lo-fi don Ariel Pink on half-ethereal, half-barren bass jam “Monster Love.” For the VHS-recorded video, which she directed, she’s crafted a narrative reflective of the title, in which a monster — who kind of reminds me of Phil Hartman’s SNL Frankenstein — searches for love, only to be rejected by many,including a mermaid.

French singer/actress Soko Augustine has shared her VHS-shot short film, “Monster Love”, which was inspired by co conspirator Ariel Pink and features her duet with Pink on the title track.

The film, was shot in the Silverlake neighborhood of L.A., features a heartbroken monster who tries to win the affection of a mermaid, but ends up with another monster (played by Soko).

Soko and Pink’s collaborative track, also titled “Monster Love”, opens the film. Her track “I Just Want to Make It New With You” is also featured, written about her friendship-turned-romance with Pink. Both tracks are on Soko’s debut LP “I Thought I Was an Alien”. 

 

KEXP radio presents Ariel Pink performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded February 10th, 2015.

Songs:
Dayzed Inn Daydreams
Not Enough Violence
Sexual Athletics
Dinosaur Carebears

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Purveyor of left-field pop music Ariel Pink follows up the release of “Another Weekend” with another cut from his forthcoming eleventh album “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson”. Entitled “Time to Live,” the song finds Ariel Pink returning to his more lo-fi roots, with the Los Angeles artist – who earlier this year teamed up with another outsider icon, Weyes Blood, on the collaborative EP Myths 002  submerging an 80s-style synth pop gem beneath tornadic waves of fuzz, noise, and distortion.

Lets look at Ariel “Pink” Rosenberg and his band with the depth and breadth of his musical scholarship to date.

The period spanning from this Los Angeles native’s mid-1990s recordings through to just before the studio sessions for 2010’s Before Today are vast— what we might think of as Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Mach 1.0 the man’s whole trip thrived on confusion. His incessantly re-upped catalogue where recording dates strayed further from the time of creation with each new label and each re-issue, Here limited to the highest-profile releases.) The hit or miss live sets. Oh, and the actual music: some irresistible tunes seemingly held together with scotch tape and twine, sometimes a burnt, inexhaustible shock’n’awe of blurted keyboards, mashed guitar chords, schizophrenic vocals, and mouth percussion standing in for actual drums.

The appeal isn’t difficult to suss out, of course: At its finest, Rosenberg’s catalogue gets by on no-filter candor, adolescent gross-out humor, and grand-slam hooks that will rattle endlessly around in your mind, sometimes triggering odd associations. For listeners of a certain age “Are You Gonna Look After My Boys?” from Scared Famous, For musos and hipsters alike, here was a chance to have their cake and eat it, too: the muffled cool of cult pop married to national indie-store distribution through (for a while) Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks imprint.

If Before Today kicked off Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Mach 2.0, which found Rosenberg and his cohort working in actual studios, 2012’s Mature Themes appears to have capped it. The difference? Actual drums, less murk, sharper song construction, and an apparent awareness that the world beyond the bloggerati might be tuning in: Today’s creamy “Can’t Hear My Eyes” and Themes’ sultry baby swung for the fences hard enough to excuse the surrounding hijinks. With  Pom Pom — Mach 3.0 — Rosenberg had delivered what was for all intents and purposes a twisted children’s album for adults while ratcheting his media trolling up to the level, in the words of a friend, of “an indie-rock Ann Coulter.”He was rumored to be contributing to Madonna’s Rebel Heart then he put his foot in his mouth. He slagged off Grimes. With every passing month, as the man’s profile expands and his persona becomes less defensible even as the song craft that brought him to our collective attention in the first place

<em>Thrash & Burn</em> (2006)

Thrash & Burn (2006)

While listening to his output.  I compared 1998’s Thrash & Burn to the Silver Jews’ Arizona Record, Pavement’s Westing (By Musket And Sextant), and Beck’s Stereopathetic Soulmanure — stripped down, amniotic marginalia that barely hinted at what those artists would later be capable of. Now I’m not sure if that’s fully accurate. Those albums I mentioned before? They’re dry runs. Thrash & Burn is a pre-dry run — the loose, tentative stretches you do before you really stretch and before you really exercise. It is two CDs of Rosenberg dipping the skin on his big toe into the songwriting pool. So, sketches: guitar noodling, keyboard drift, tossed-off vocals, self-conscious babbling, field recordings, long stretches of noise. The secret to enjoying this is to remove it from the context of what Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti traditionally represent.

<em>Lover Boy</em> (2002)

Lover Boy (2002)

With the exception of the cover of its John Maus-penned title track and the smirk-y bleep-core of “I Don’t Need Enemies,” Lover Boy is mostly forgettable — a sort of parade of serviceable C-sides that passes by pleasantly but you won’t miss even a little. If this feature were an evolutionary chart pictograph, this album would be a single step up from Thrash & Burn, . On the plus side, be glad he reserved most of his best stuff for better albums. But, you know, if you need more reasons to spend time with it, “Blue Straws” plays like an experimental radio serial and “Phoebus Palast” flouts a sick slide whistle. If this was anyone’s first exposure to Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, it would very likely be their last.

<em>Ku Klux Glam </em> (2012)

Ku Klux Glam (2012)

Early in Rosenberg’s career, R. Stevie Moore’s name popped up often in media coverage. A prolific, macabre underground icon with hundreds of outsider releases to his credit, Moore was the Bob Dylan to Rosenberg’s Beck. On Ku Klux Glam the duo make their mutual admiration society official. (Unless you’re a diehard fan of either or both, do yourself a huge favor and stay far away from the 63-track edition, which is a nightmare of eye-rolling in-jokes and fucking off that dilutes the actual rock these two get up to. It’s a gas on first listen, then interminable.) “No Zipper” is primo, untucked bar-band sludge; “Lo-Fi No Cry” transitions to skeletal beat programming to drug-trip Northern Lights gazing in a way, achieving a mad brilliance that Rosenberg’s solo journeys into wordless ponderous rarely achieve; “Sacred Snow” personifies tuneful insanity; “Stevepink Javascript” laughingly sends up the idea that weirdos of different generations would find working together a complete nightmare. A head-trip respite from Rosenberg’s more palatable records, Ku Klux Glam is nonetheless a bleary, unkempt good time in all the best possible ways.

<em>pom pom</em> (2014)

pom pom (2014)

In 2013 and 2014, Kim Deal staged an unlikely, non-Breeders singles campaign, quietly issuing a single or two every couple months. Some singles were astonishing, and some were just passable, but this approach allowed the former Pixies bassist to subvert the idea of a “comeback” while remaining within (if only on the outer margins of) the larger popular music conversation. Rosenberg doesn’t need to engineer a comeback; given the present state of the industry, his Q rating is reasonably sizable. But from an artistic perspective, pom pom should’ve been a similarly piecemeal thing,

As a collection of songs, it does itself a disservice, flat out failing to gel on any level. And that’s a shame, because on an individual level its pieces are dinky, Romper Room marvels: no-meds un-jingle “Jell-o,” the Detroit punk snarl of “Goth Bomb,” the black hole kiss-off “Picture Me Gone.” That there’s less tape hiss, less distortion, and less instrumentation than ever on this two-disc set may be its downfall — the result being that each song is very much separate from its neighbors.

The late Kim Fowley penned the lyrics to a few tunes, including “Nude Beach A- Go-Go,” where Rosenberg collaborated with rapper Azealia Banks. Everything and anything here will absolutely slay on any mixtape or self-made CD-80 of Ariel Pinks you care to put togrther; just don’t bother listening to pom pom from start to finish.

<em>Worn Copy</em> (2003)

Worn Copy (2003)

Maybe it’s the variegated purple crowding the turntable on the cover, or maybe it’s down to the resin-caked squeal and haze of “Trepanated Earth” and the scribbled out-drift of “Foilly Foibles/GOLD,” but Worn Copy always surfaces in my memory as Rosenberg’s prog-rock opus. Upon revisits, pop gems that rank among his best spill out all over the place: the curdled, po’faced “Immune to Emotion,” white trucker funk number “Jules Lost His Jewels,” drugged vamp “Creepshow,” the fake English folk lilt of “Artifact.” And though on its face, “Credit” scans as dizzy disco camp, a song that’s catchier than most advertising jingles itself stands apart as an oddly sincere, anti-capitalist carol.

So why isn’t this one ranked higher on the list? Because in context, Worn Copy — the final album included here committed to tape pre-Before Today, between 2002 and 2003. It doesn’t cohere quite as solidly as some of the releases above it, and a muted insularity colors its highlights; there’s nothing here anyone would feel compelled to murder in the shower or scream at a bro who’s screaming it back in your face at night on a long road trip. (“Interesting Results” from House Arrest? “Don’t Talk to Strangers” from Lover Boy? .) That said, this release covers some fascinating Haunted Graffiti territory and very effectively simulates a deep-dive into the darkest corners of, well, one gifted misfit’s complicated psyche.

<em>Mature Themes</em> (2012)

Mature Themes (2012)

In retrospect — in some ways Mature Themes feels like a warm-up for the contoured directness of pom pom. The instrumentation bears a real crispness (mostly), and Rosenberg’s vocals ring out relatively clear and sharp (sometimes), all the better to slime, cajole, or bewilder listeners’ eardrums.

The painfully hummable “Kinski Assassin” and “Live It Up” exemplify this upgrade. Wistful “Only in My Dreams” and aching “Baby,” a cover of the Donnie and Joe Emerson original, kept the Haunted Graffiti torch song dream alive. Curiously, though, the most thrilling tunes here revert to near dog-shit fidelity: nonsensically gross “Symphony of the Nymph,” knuckle- dragging nosh anthem “Schnitzel Boogie,” twinkle-bop gem “Live It Up.”

Production schizophrenia aside, more than predecessor Before Today, Mature Themes is just flat out funnier, even if the yuks are droll: Rosenberg’s exchange with the server on “Schnitzel Boogie,” “I’m not real and I won’t call you” as a parting shot on the title track,” pretty much every verse sung on “Kinski Assassin.”

<em>Before Today</em> (2010)

Before Today (2010)

This marked the point where shit got real, or less unreal, anyway. Recorded in various studios and grave-robbed from earlier EPs and singles, Before Today stands second only to The Doldrums in terms of sequencing acumen; it screams “rock album” in a way that no other entry on this list does, the production is sharper by a matter of degrees. There’s a deliberateness and seriousness of intent at work here separating it from funnier, ickier successor Mature Themes: one doesn’t giggle at or with, say, “Round and Round” one marvels at its melting street-lamp tonalities and the seductive arrangements.

One thrills to the roadhouse ivory stomp of “Little Wig,” which would nicely complement a capsule of trucker speed, or to the deep shag-rug swirl cover of The Ramrods’ “Bright Lit Blue Skies.” Wood-paneled “Can’t Hear My Eyes” is deployed with such pop acuity that’s easy to overlook how oddly angled its lyrical conceit is. (Did you know that members of Cryptacize sing backing vocals on that song? Now you do.) “Fright Night” delivers grade-A horror schlock, but actual ribaldry/misandry is confined to the pile driving (in more ways than one) “Butt-House Blondies” and no-tempo dirge “Menopause Man.” .

<em>Scared Famous</em> (2002)

Scared Famous (2002)

Recorded between September 2000 and July 2001, Scared Famous is a characteristically scattered puzzle where every piece has at least the kernel of a hit single buried inside. Perennial fan favorite “Are You Gonna Look After My Boys?” steals the show, but the everywhere the Technicolor cartoon glory’s in full effects, with guitars exploding like fireworks all around. “Howling at the Moon” is white falsetto funk with the Mega Man soundtrack pulsating beneath it. “The Kitchen Club” about holing up in the kitchen at a house party flaunts a see-sawing series of keyboard chords that change colors from moment to moment, like a mood ring; one instant they’re hot pink, the next they’re viscera red. Alternating between high and low registers, Rosenberg frames “Politely Declined” as a surrealist pick-up scene dialogue; dutiful guitars face off against synth effects that always make me think of strangled cats. Were “Beefbud” boiled down to two unmitigated minutes of chorus, it would be dunderheaded perfection. On some days, this is Rosenberg’s best album.

<em>The Doldrums</em> (2000)

The Doldrums (2000)

For a lot of Ariel Pink fans, this is where it all began. Self-released in 2000 and reissued by Paw Tracks in 2004, The Doldrums is singular in Rosenberg’s catalogue for several reasons: it presented as a depressive break-up album; it found Rosenberg restraining his compositional fireworks without hog-tying them; and lyrically it was bashful in a way that pretty much every other Ariel Pink album issued (or relentlessly reissued) wouldn’t be, and even when it wasn’t so bashful ( “Among Dreams”) the fidelity was so poor that nobody could tell. These songs belong and fit together thematically.

This was outsider pop on a handful of downers, and since the world outside clued-in hipsters and L.A. weirdoes didn’t know who Rosenberg was yet, it was easy to assume that The Doldrums represented a modified Reynols or Jandek scenario — some mystery caveman with a great ear for bygone pop, a yen for home-recording, and access to his parents’ vinyl stash. There’s so much to treasure here: the skiffle-shriek of “Haunted Graffiti,” loose-strung sing-along “Let’s Build a Campfire There,” the teary synth-pop yearning of “Until the Night Dies,” how “Good Kids Make Bad Grown Ups” asphyxiates a panic attack with a pity party.

The mouth drumming was in full effect, the instrumentation flailed around in a loose but determined approximation of pro songwriting, everything sounded like a 20-generation dub of a 20-generation dub, and half the time Rosenberg seemed on the verge of tumbling down a well, literally and figuratively speaking; on no other album has the man sounded this totally lost and alone, or been able to draw a listener so fully into his headspace. Go listen to The Doldrums again, right now; it remains as alien and forlorn and unfathomable as it did way back in 2004.

<em>House Arrest</em> (2002)

House Arrest (2002)

Rosenberg’s dad must love the title track to House Arrest, a flicking pop glow-stick yoked to a voicemail where he lambasts the singer for an utter lack of responsibility, then urges him to “call me when you have a chance.” There’s something deeply oxymoronic about this, so it’s fitting that “House Arrest” surfaces on the album that best demonstrates that for all his failing, Rosenberg gives a fuck about something. The toughest aspect of this feature turned out to be deciding which album would top it. For a long time — from the moment of pitching to a couple days ago  The Doldrums seemed to the one to beat, it hung together best as a collection songs. For a day or two the mania of Scared Famous seemed like a shoo-in. Throughout, House Arrest lingered in the second spot. Fact is, though, this record is what I reach for whenever I’m wanting some Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti fix.

Recorded between October 2001 and July 2002, House Arrest doubles down on everything that’s ecstatic about Rosenberg’s songwriting. For acid-dipped majesty, “Gettin’ High in The Morning” can’t be beat; the sheer irresistibility of chicken-fried “West Coast Calamities” is almost enough to overcome the fact that you’ll never think about Girl Scouts the same after hearing it. “Almost Waiting” suggests some weird garage-country doo-wop hybrid. The eminently perennial “Interesting Results” is a killer song about how it’s impossible to know whether any song you write will ultimately kill. “Alisa” and “Helen,” two of Rosenberg’s earliest stabs at balladry, are genuinely affecting if lyrically over the top, House Arrest is undeniably, almost obscenely accessible.

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The second that Soko, a French singer and actress, opens her mouth on “Lovetrap”, it is clear whose world we are in: “Kinski Assassin blew a hole in my chest,” she gulps, a direct quote from the song’s author, Ariel Pink. The two have collaborated before, and they have a nice chemistry. Areil Pink’s music is hermetic and self-referential to the extreme; it’s difficult to imagine him (or at least the character he plays) singing a meaningful duet with anyone except a mirror.

But “Lovetrap” is a rare Pink collaboration where the energy flows in both directions: Soko’s presence breathes some fresh air into Ariel Pink’s cramped-basement universe, and Soko’s song takes on the air of slight unreality that distinguishes Pink’s best music. The song feels sewn together by fragments, stitched in a haphazard hand that could only be Pink’s: it is a moony, breathy ballad in the verses and then warps into a leering supermarket-pop singalong for the chorus.

Soko Plays Ariel Pink (and Herself) in Their

 

arielpinkpompom

“Pom Pom” isn’t like anything you’ve heard before, but I suppose you could say that about most Ariel Pink releases to date . The singer/songwriter has navigated away from a lovably lo-fi approach – built on vintage synths and percussive beat  into one more representative of a full band with his “Haunted Graffiti” group. While “Before Today” and “Mature Themes” were still great records, I couldn’t help but feel that some tracks were a bit too polished , at least in the sense that shimmering production made Ariel Pink stifle his wonderful audible personality more so than earlier releases. With “Pom Pom”, his first release under just the Ariel Pink name, he goes full Zappa and Todd Rundgren with the double-album approach, resulting in an enjoyably indulgent release that has its share of immediate pop genius alongside large doses of experimental personality, the latter most apparent in the album’s mid-section. The beginnings are quite accessible, though. “Plastic Raincoats” touts an organ-y psych-pop feel reminiscent of The Kinks, while “White Freckles” is a concisely combustible piece of driven power-pop that takes full advantage of Ariel’s various vocal characters. “Four Shadows” is a goth-rock/post-punk homage that utilizes the darkly orchestral Zappa production Ariel Pink is so fond of throughout the album. One of the year’s best tracks, “Not Enough Violence” explores this post-punk territory in even more depth, being a build-up of epic proportions that serves as one of 2014’s greatest tracks. While the album’s middle can sound intimidating and somewhat overbearing, later efforts like the irresistibly infectious “Black Ballerina” and harmonizing-friendly pop gem “Dayzed Inn Daydreams” which is a wonderful title, close this mad genius of an album in stellar form. Pom Pom is the year’s most fascinating listening experience.