Posts Tagged ariel pink

Read AdHoc Issue 2 for Free

Read AdHoc Issue 2 for Free

Every article from AdHoc Issue 2 is now freely available to read in full on our site. This includes "Dear Arca," Mike Sugarman's look at what we expect from experimental music; "To Shock the Audience," Lee M. Bartow's dual history of power electronics and our culture's taste for shock; "At Home With the NSA," Joe Bucciero's profile on Holly Herndon via the security state; "Never Enough Violence," Beth Tolmach's diagnosis of the internet outrage machine through the lens of Ariel Pink's misogynist outbursts; and Joe Bucciero's closer listen to Alice Coltrane's transcendental devotional synth album, "Turiya Sings,"

AdHoc subsists on a pool of small contributions from you, our readers. Be sure to subscribe to our digital zine or, for just one dollar, purchase the latest edition, AdHoc Issue 3.

Never Enough Violence (from AdHoc Issue 2)

Never Enough Violence (from AdHoc Issue 2)

This is an article from AdHoc, Issue 2. Purchase this issue or a subscription.

“There is something in us, as storytellers and as listeners to stories, that demands the redemptive act, that demands that what falls at least be offered the chance to be restored. The reader of today looks for this motion, and rightly so, but what he has forgotten is the cost of it. His sense of evil is diluted or lacking altogether, and so he has forgotten the price of restoration. When he reads a novel, he wants either his senses tormented or his spirits raised. He wants to be transported, instantly, either to mock damnation or a mock innocence.”
--Flannery O’Connor, from “The Grotesque in Southern Fiction”

Beta male misogynist. Indie rock’s most hated man. These are just a couple of the insults directed at Ariel Pink as of late in the music blog world and beyond. The Los Angeles hypnagogic pop composer has been known to make provocative statements, and his recent comments to the press have launched a wave of outrage spread virally by social media and intensified by each recurring incident.

It all started this past July, when Pink made an appearance on Alexi Wasser’s YouTube show, Alexi in Bed, during which he recounted spending the night with a girl who later sprayed him with mace and vandalized his car. Pink’s story rubbed some people the wrong way, many feeling that there was a sexist undertone to his flippant rendering of this unstable woman, and his pejorative use of the word “feminist” to describe her.

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Ariel Pink Releases 7'' With Jorge Elbrecht

Ariel Pink Releases 7'' With Jorge Elbrecht

Soft rock icon, Ariel Pink, and the like-minded Jorge Elbrecht (Violens, Lansing-Dreiden) must spend a fair amount of time on sailboats, sipping Chardonnay with their topsiders kicked off. That, or they're just the keenest of imaginers of blue-blood summer get-togethers. On "Hang On To Life," they nail the breezy yacht-rock aesthetic they've both been dancing around for the last few years, combining sheer synths, airy vocals, sampled phone calls, and an obvious, brilliant melody on the chorus. The chorus packs a life-affirming punch as well, repeating "You screwed the pooch, now face it /The truth is in the sky." The world can be chaotic-- but we all just need to look up and "Hang On To Life."

"Hang On To Life" b/w "No Real Friend" is out today on Mexican Summer.

Our Favorite Albums of 2012

We made you a mix of the top tracks of 2012, and asked some of our favorite artists to tell us which records they've had on rotation all year. Now, we bring you a list of the albums that really meant a lot to us. 

Aaron Dilloway: Modern Jester [Hanson]

This is a difficult choice to justify. Not because of quality-- this truly is the best noise release of the year-- but because our job here at Ad Hoc is to illuminate the underground, to represent the unrepresented. Putting Aaron Dilloway in a year-end list feels a lot like validating canonization, which can seem toxically counteractive to our whole project. Still, saying that great music can be worth less just because the person that made it is already huge is really stupid; that’s why you’re not seeing the new Flying Lotus album in every top 10. Modern Jester is on this list because it’s exceptional. Decades from now, it will stand out as the best noise album of this year, possibly this cluster of years, not to mention of Dilloway’s own career. And it always hits perfectly. “Look Over You Shoulder” is a careful study in restraint and construction, whereas “Eight Cut Scars (For Robert Turman)” is a cathartic assault from start to finish. There are tons of great samples, interesting interactions between loops, climaxes both expected and not. Dilloway even pays homage to one of the forgotten titans of early noise, Turman. But this all only matters if you let the music subsume you. It’s all any album ever demands. Perhaps this kind of concession is shoddy music criticism. Doesn’t matter. Give yourself over to it like a college sophomore at a Deadmau5 stadium show. --Michael Sugarman

Actress: R.I.P. [Honest Jon's Records]

Actress decided to start at the beginning. That meant going back to Detroit, but also back to the BBC Radiophonic workshop-- revisiting Theo Parrish, but also the very nature of electronic sound. This is half the reason R.I.P. endlessly frustrated you if you just wanted to dance. As a veritable hour straight of delayed gratification, a good chunk of the album is comprised of percussionless études, not unlike early electronic music from Brits like Derbyshire and Oram. When percussion does first show up, it serves primarily as a reminder of origin-- some bass drum, or some noise that sounds like a cymbal. It’s these static noises throughout R.I.P. that constantly remind us what a drum machine is-- just noise, filtered and ordered to sound like something recognizable. “Techno” only shows up in the album’s back third.  Speaking on his prior effort, Splazsh, Darren Cunningham noted that many of the songs started as deconstructions of personal favorites-- “Hubble” for example, is based on Prince’s “Erotic City”. For Cunningham, the sausage-making of dance music is just as vital as its hypnotizing qualities. His techno ends up simple, but never minimal, and that’s no mistake. 2012 saw a massive proliferation of minimal techno, a genre whose goal is using the barest sonic tools to entrance. Cunningham doesn’t want a mindless dancer, a twerking drone. He wants to get you in the headspace where you can be awestruck by the beauty of “Jardin” and still let your booty clap to “IWAAD”. --Michael Sugarman

Andy Stott: Luxury Problems [Modern Love]

Vocals are a funny thing. Sometimes when artists start incorporating them, it marks an effort to be more accessible. Something of an alternate approach is to introduce vocals as an atmospheric element, eschewing lyrical comprehensibility for a simple human texture. And then sometimes you’re just a club DJ who needs a good little sample for a hook. Luxury Problems sees Andy Stott using vocals for all these functions in a consummately backwards way. This album is very much a continuation of his EPs from last year, fracturing elements of dance music through some Eraserhead-industrial prism. He has this uncanny ability to just make shit strange. Yet, while his works from last year sometimes drifted into mechanistic detachment, Luxury Problems sees Stott giving his style a literal human voice. Like labelmates Demdike Stare, Stott creates an uncanny valley where a battle wages between the disembodied voice and the medium manipulating it. These are the luxury problems of the album’s title. We live in the most convenient world in history, with technologies to help us work and communicate but which persistently threaten to estrange and annihilate us. When the vocals on “Hatch the Plan” and “Leaving” really clutch the heart string, when you get that chill, these are the small victories that remind us who exactly is in control. --Michael Sugarman

Angel Olsen: Half Way Home [Bathetic]

In the first half of the 2000s, a group of artists grouped under the umbrella term “freak-folk” emerged. Some, like Joanna Newsom, were singular talents who collapsed a legacy of then-unfashionable artistic influences-- from the spooky ruminations of Tim Buckley to British trad-folk stalwarts like Fairport Convention-- into songs that promised a new American folk vernacular. Newsom and cohorts Devendra Banhart and Vetiver's Andy Cabic quickly established a canon of essential recordings, fostering the rediscovery of forgotten geniuses like Vashti Bunyan and Karen Dalton. Freak-folk burned brightly as it rose to prominence less than a decade ago, the final analog movement in underground music before the rise of music blogs and the Pitchfork generation's enshrinement in mainstream music culture. In the intervening ten years, the explosion of interest in electronics old and new combined with the subsuming of genre music into outré sonic practices has all but erased this fertile period from independent music history.

With this context in mind, Angel Olsen's Half Way Home is a record of rare and awesome beauty. First, there is the voice-- untrained and unpredictable, plaintive one moment, soaring with aching beauty the next. Then the lyrics-- plainspoken but retaining an air of mystery, ever-threatening to crack with heartbreaking sincerity. Finally, the restrained arrangements helped along by Olsen's Bonnie “Prince” Billy tourmate Emmett Kelly: the judiciously employed pump organ, the just-right guitar sound, vocal melodies deep in the mix and the occasional, arresting intrusion of percussion. With her solo full-length debut, Olsen has crafted a record that celebrates enduring musical values like songcraft, raw talent and restraint. And it's all the more exceptional for being released into an underground music culture littered with perfunctory re-mixes, redundant live sessions, weekly “essential” mixes, commercial pop apologists, collector-baiting colored vinyl, and “curators” of all stripes penning breathless exhortations of the latest synth fart from a Brooklyn basement. In a word, Half Way Home is timeless. --Max Burke

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: Mature Themes [4AD]

Everyone was worried that Ariel Pink would "sell out" or some shit when they heard he was going back into a fancy studio. Instead, he couldn't have gone down a weirder, darker, stranger path than he did with Mature Themes. He and the Haunted Graffiti wrapped up some of their strangest, deepest personal encounters in garish, schizophrenic, and often downright evil imagery. I've heard so many fans bring up the "anti-pop stardom" of Ariel Pink when discussing his stage presence, his demeanor, and his weirdo production choices, but what's beautiful here is the fearlessness: maybe everyone was expecting something dreamy, something sweet, but these beautiful melodies are almost always of pain, and we get the ecstatic discomfort of watching a madman at the peak of his powers just laughing. --Matt Sullivan

Black Dice: Mr. Impossible [Ribbon Music]

Punk’s not dead; it just sounds like Black Dice now. Polarizing since day one, and jet-engine loud up until at least two weeks ago, their music remains an ineffable inspiration to fifteen years of freaks and geeks. Like a one-band revolution, Black Dice kicks, punches, warps and wiggles its way through these confusing modern times; they created a genre and swept their own awards show, evolving, exploring, engaging, and side-stepping stagnation. And with critical kudos all around for their latest offering, Mr. Impossible—its lucidity matched by its icky, sticky funkiness— Black Dice once again blazes trails for any youngster looking to get weird with a wink and a smile. With many tracks powered by a booming and affected drum machine, Mr. Impossible recalls a fleeting but sought-after ground between Kraftwerk and Outkast while making very thoughtful pit stops around the world. Perhaps this is a more sonically digestible record for the band, but not even a solid rhythm section can mask Black Dice’s undeniable fingerprint, a dazzling array of sounds, voices, and melodies at once alien and attractive but never without a sense of humor or spirit. --Micah Welner

Blanche Blanche Blanche: Wink With Both Eyes [Night People]

The subject's a speculative mess, but sometimes I can't help but wonder what happened to the outsider artist. That first high school hotbox session with a copy of The Doldrums always felt like it was destined to be a fleeting memory. Once Pink's version of pop stardom turned strangely from parody to reality, it seemed rarer still. One of five albums they'll have released on four different labels in 2012, it is, to me, one of the best pop albums of the year. With quirky chord changes at breakneck speed and heavily chromatic melodies, the progressive muzak-punk song cycle's a lot to chew on. But despite the album's left turns, what's really at work here is the kind anthemic, inspired songwriting that could thrive in any context. --Matt Sullivan

DJ Rashad: TEKLIFE Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi [Lit City Trax]

The running joke around the office is that, yeah, while a lot of really incredible records came out this year, all that is getting in the way of the real point: DJ Rashad actually put out the best album this year. It’s a joke, but only kind of: in a year where footwork was all over the place, Rashad and the rest of the Tek-Life crew were writing its State of the Union address. Rashad gave us Just a Taste of it last year, but Teklife Vol. 1: Welcome to the Chi is less of a footwork blueprint than a tight, distilled exploration of what that music can be. And what makes footwork-- especially in Rashad’s native Chicago-- so compelling is how psychedelic and crowd-focused it is, tailormade for deviants ready to headbang and grind to the hard pummel of snares and toms well past the witching hour. That last bit is the real point: Chi goes hard. It’s a constant throwdown from front to back, stuffed with trippy surprises, like the synth intro that makes the Morse Code-laden “Don’t Drop It” sound like a surprise, the dissonant chords that make Gil Scott-Heron’s ghost jump out of “On My Way” and, good god, the breakdown in the middle of “Twitter.” Chi is incredible, and if you remain skeptical, “We Trippy Mane” and “Kush Ain’t Loud” will make you a firm believer --Brad Stabler

Fatima Al Qadiri: Desert Strike [Fade to Mind]

Looking over this list, it seems like many of the albums that touched us the most in 2012 were the ones that wrestled with the paradoxes of the mediated life-- our struggle to connect with other people through the technologies that alienate us most, and to express who we are by speaking through musical languages that we ourselves did not create. Of all the intensely autobiographical releases we loved this year, few spoke more directly to this estrangement than Desert Strike, which revisits Fatima al Qadiri’s childhood experience of the Gulf War, playing video games with her sister in the basement of her home. The trauma gave rise to the first keyboard melody she ever wrote, but when she remembers it now, it’s through the languages of grime and video game music that she feels most comfortable speaking, even though the particular game in question-- the Sega Megadrive Game Desert Strike: Return To the Gulf-- meant experiencing her country’s destruction from an Iraqi perspective. The combination of nursery room music box sounds, gunfire, and ice-slick break-beats may sound like a recipe for discomfort, but the most disturbing thing about Desert Strike is that they actually quite sound good. --Emilie Friedlander

Gorgeous Children: Gorgeous Children [Self-Released]

Something about hip-hop duo Gorgeous Children’s eponymous debut slams the gut with satisfaction. Listening from start to finish is what I imagine it feels like to be two hits short of an overdose, straying slowly but surely from the best high you’ve ever had to a nebulous reality that’s as dark around the edges as it is at the core. Face Vega is a force to be reckoned with, albeit one you might find pensively eying the scene from the darkest corner of the party, his arm around a stranger and his throat drenched in syrup from the tip of his tongue to the very depths of his insides. His drawl is at once lazy and articulate; his motives often vulgar, with an echoing bitterness for anything unfuckable: “You dirty motherfuckers/Jealous of the butter/Ya’ll should aim that banger at your brain/Let it stutter.” Gila’s production is dismal but strangely saccharine, with an unfaltering uniformity that ultimately, when coupled with Vega's unabating lewdness and intemperate bravado, really resonates -- either because we’re all sullen enough to relate on some level, or simply because it's a wholly engrossing work of hip-hop. --Emily Onofrio

Grimes: Visions [4AD / Arbutus]

Love it or hate it, there were few artists this year who made a larger impact than Grimes. Despite not even having a Tumblr (at least not until the other day), the post-Internet poster girl was assigned the role of the archetype for a myriad of microgenres-- #seapunk, chillwave, Tumblr-wave-- and other Information Age whims that came in and out of 2012’s spotlight. Grimes thrives on the power of her intuition, tapping into what's been on the tip the collective tongue. And the most charming part of it all is that it seems like she's barely even trying. --Ric Leichtung

Hank Wood And The Hammerheads: Go Home [Toxic State Records]

I was working in the venue the first time that I saw Hank Wood & The Hammerheads and it was the greatest fucking nightmare I ever had: I was the enemy covered in sweat, dodging firecrackers, not-so-successfully evading punches, absorbing bizarre rumors, and jumping around like a happy madman about it. As much as I love hardcore, the decades have left it generally unrecognizable from what I thought it was, as adherent to doctrine as the very institutions it was supposed to make a mockery of. But the Hammerheads knew no authority and everyone was their target, even their own community (publicly killing chickens is a really good way to piss off vegans).
In the end, that audacity may have been what did them in. Hank Wood & The Hammerheads, quite unfortunately, have already played their last show (here, I dodged punches and firecrackers as an ecstatic attendant), but at least we have Go Home as a document, and one of the best punk LPs that came out this year. In fact, using the term punk is silly given these guys' willingness to flirt with classic rock and psych. Go Home is simply a great rock record for a revolution, for reclaiming what's yours-- whether it's your personal space, or your personal rights in the presence of a bunch of god damn cops. --Matt Sullivan

Holly Herndon: Movement [RVNG Intl.]

It’s been a good year for Holly Herndon. She began a PhD program in music composition at Stanford and pretty much exploded onto the scene with her debut full-length, Movement, which was the culmination of a master’s program at Mill’s College. Prior to that, Herndon had spent some time in the Berlin club scene; her stated aim with Movement was to synthesize her twin loves of the EDM she encountered in Germany and the experimental music she studied in school. Still, Movement is not really a dance record. The single, “Fade,” is the only track with a consistent, defined beat, and most of the others waver between minimal techno and sounds that push beyond the bounds of what we commonly understand to be music. Like the Borg in Star Trek, it exists in the gray area between natural and the synthetic, human and machine; it takes the most sensual parts of us (most prominently, the breath) and distorts and deconstructs it until it's something completely new. Movement demands concentration and can be a difficult record to process, but sensually and intellectually, it cuts deep. --Emily Wheeler

Holy Other: Held [Tri Angle]

Holy Other's debut full-length Held arrived without a single accompanying video, a move that might seem somewhat odd in a world where daily audio-visual overload is practically a given. Still, it made perfect sense: all you need to do is put it on, and the images are all there. Though this might seem a little too obvious regarding this sort of bedroom-induced loner beat music, more than anything else put out in 2012, the young Mancunian’s music is made to be visualized. Following 2011’s massively acclaimed EP With U, it may be justified to speak of refinement and consolidation rather than a genuine step ahead.

But there’s so much that sets Holy Other apart from the whole bunch of more or less elusive producers who populate the post-Untrue electronic music landscape. Despite his staggering attention to detail, what truly goes beyond the omnipresent ghostly textures and fractured beats is his honest curiosity and his liberal approach to sequencing. The densely packed arrangements on album standouts like “Love Some1” or the title track absorb you at first listen, but the magic happens when Holy Other loosens and dequantizes them, allowing them to breathe. Mood-wise, I'd say that Held is probably the apotheosis of the curious and somewhat clichéd subgenre of "nightbus music": on my end, it certainly soundtracked countless early morning trips on Berlin’s public transport, reflecting on the events of the past night while surreptitiously studying my fellow travelers’ faces for similar feelings of post-euphoric dread, despair, or regret. The world of Held might not be one of unclouded joy, but it is comforting nonetheless. Wearily heading back home, the distraught sighs of closer “Nothing Here” always felt like a relief, even if fueled by resignation. --Henning Lahmann

How To Dress Well: Total Loss [Acephale/Weird World]

Listening to the first How To Dress Well album, 2010's Love Remains, it was impossible to miss that, despite the swathes of tape-hiss it was wrapped in, Tom Krell had a distinctive and powerful voice, one that a trip to a proper studio would take to the next level. Total Loss is the result of just such a treatment, and like it's predecessor, it's heavily tied to themes of grief and loss. The emotional centerpiece of Total Loss, and the hinge on which the album swings, is standout “& It Was U,” a track that wears its '90s r&b influences unabashedly, from the finger snaps and the new jack swing beat to the optimistic tone, which owes a lot to Janet Jackson's 1997 classic “Together Again.” Like Jackson's song, it's all about trucking through an overwhelming experience of loss (in this case, the break-up of a relationship), and finding that redemption is not just possible, but inevitable. As Krell said in an interview with Dazed Digital earlier this year, “the album's about developing a relationship with loss which is spiritually enriching rather than devastating.” Total Loss is in many ways an antidote to 2012's predominant culture of disengagement, and although HTDW is sometimes saddled with the revivalism stamp, the album is staunchly against re-appropriation for the sake of it. It's a sparse listen at times, which also makes it a difficult one, yet it's an album unafraid to embody the emotional fragmentation of its era. --Tim Gentles

Julia Holter: Ekstasis [RVNG Intl.]

It's easy to fixate on Julia Holter's classical training and intellect and just leave it at classical/indie crossover sensation, but I find that rather boring and actually, quite false. Bedroom musicians are in a strange state of affairs at the end of 2012, measured by their potential for being harvested by bigger and better organizations so that they can "break out" or "develop" in some way measurable by ticket or album sales. But Holter's story is the most encouraging, the most inspiring, and the one that makes us realize that, the original point was supposed to be that great talent comes from strange places and doesn't need funding or a larger audience to grow more ambitious. Though Tragedy also had our heart strings plucked, Ekstasis is her magnum opus, proving that the meteoric ascent of DIY heroes and heroines can actually be for a greater good. Her arrangements are more ambitious, her melodies clearer, and her compositional forms have grown more accessible while remaining just as epic. Holter is the rare breed of composer that's able to stay in her own creative comfort zone while casting her net wider. --Matt Sullivan

Laurel Halo: Quarantine [Hyperdub]

Laurel Halo's Hyperdub debut Quarantine has been surprisingly maligned in some quarters this year for Halo's untreated, often discordant vocals. A sharp left-turn from 2011's largely instrumental Hour Logic, Quarantine is certainly bracing in its intimacy, forcing the listener into contact with a profoundly corporeal sense of isolation and longing. It is this sense of embodiment though-- reflected in track titles like “Carcass,” “Airsick” and “Tumor”-- that has made Quarantine one of the most interesting responses thus far to the challenges of relating in our current, post-internet, technological and cultural universe. It enacts the push and pull between intimacy and distance in our virtual communications, shuttling between heartbreak, desire, and the yearning for connection, on the one hand, and our inevitable slip into disembodiment and fractiousness, on the other. On “Years," which is built around pretty, if slightly alien, analog synth arpeggios, Halo's words are startling not just for their raw timbre, but for their dueling impulses of reaching out for connection (“making eye contact”) and severing those ties (“I will never see you again”). Quarantine can be painfully up-close, and with something almost nauseating about the constant proximity of Halo's unadorned voice, the album hints at the kinds of gaps and miscommunications that can always arise in the presence (or absence) of another. --Tim Gentles

Lil Ugly Mane: Mista Thug Isolation [Self-Released]
The world Lil' Ugly Mane paints for us on Mista Thug Isolation sounds like it was conceived long ago in the fearful hearts of a million suburban parents who threw their kids' Wu-Tang CDs out the car window: murder is power, evil is president, the world is on fire, and the Mane is all smiles. The internet hip-hop community, hot in the pursuit of that elusive crossroads between "authentic" and "swag," probably had a seizure from the pure fantasy of it all, but this guy had the guts to tie together art forms whose inner circles had been friends all along. It's equal parts DIY noise, fantasy novella, hardcore hip-hop, and horror flick, opening the door for crossover conceptualists the whole cloud over. --Matt Suliivan

Mount Eerie: Clear Moon / Ocean Roar [P. W. Elverum & Sun]
Mount Eerie's two full-lenghs this year, Clear Moon and Ocean Roar, explore Phil Elverum’s relationship with his hometown of Anacortes, Washington. Clear Moon is brighter and clearer-sounding, built from overlapping guitar lines, sparse drums and the occasional horn bleat, whereas Ocean Roar is denser and more challenging, with flashes of organ sounds, metal, and drone. Lyrically, both albums are slow and meditative. “I Walked Home Beholding” off Ocean Roar describes Elverum’s walk home from his studio, which he built himself in an old Catholic church: “The lights in the park / The moving trees / The silent corners… The whole town had been abandoned except for me." Elverum’s lyrics are at once plainspoken and inscrutable, but against the music, they add up to a very tactile portrait of Anacortes: the palpable mist, the smell of the trees, the roar of the ocean. Both Clear Moon and Ocean Roar seem just out of reach. You strain to hear Elverum’s whispered voice on Clear Moon, and it’s hard to make him out over all the din on Ocean Roar. The songs on both albums feel at once peaceful and anxious, like you are standing in a wonderful oasis that has the ability to devour you whole in the blink of an eye.  --Emily Wheeler

Parquet Courts: Light Up Gold [What's Your Rupture?]

Parquet Courts' Light Up Gold was the year's little punk record that could. First released in August via frontman Andrew Savage's Dull Tools Bandcamp, the album found its way around the Internet slowly but surely via word of mouth. In an age where albums fall off the radar faster than they can be blogged about, Light Up Gold has done the opposite, even getting a much deserved reissue via What's Your Rupture? coming in January. From the first chords of the album, you can hear why it has so many vocal  proponents: filled with spare arrangements, vivid imagery, and production that eschews garage fuzz in favor of sonic clarity, Light Up Gold filled an ever-widening void in the landscape of old school guitar rock.
While Savage's past project, Fergus & Geronimo, was a grab-bag of R&B, pop, and more, Light Up Gold is laser-focused even with its 15-track run time. Like the Modern Lovers before them, Parquet Courts place supreme emphasis on vocal delivery, building songs around twisting narratives and philosophical conceits. Burner anthem "Stoned and Starving" may be an ode to the munchies, but its Wire-like economy of sound and Krautrock repetition is anything but lazy. At the heart of the album, "Light Up Gold II” is an existential quest for the unattainable seen through a punk lens: "Light up gold was the color of something I was looking for," muses Savage. It was also the sound of a record we desperately needed to hear. --Nathan Reese

Shintaro Sakamoto: How To Live with a Phantom [Other Music Recording Co.]

Fetishists of Japanese music and PSF obsessives could find everything they've ever wanted in the story of Shintaro Sakamoto. Though not much more than a blip on the Western radar, Sakamoto's been active for more than two decades and developed a rabid cult following with J-psych band Yura Yura Teikoku. It took more than 15 years for them to come to North America, and even longer for material to be released stateside. It’s no wonder that when Other Music chose to branch out as a label, they made their first release Shintaro’s debut solo album. How To Live with a Phantom’s folk pop perfection is easily identifiable. Its elements come sharp, crisp, yet bare; "Something's Different"’s swaddling flute conjures the finer moments of the heyday of ‘60s lounge and exotica, and the panned organ stabs and Brian May-guitar swells of "Gleam of Hope" show intense attention to songwriting and recording. Had it not been recorded in this decade, How to Live with a Phantom could have been the year's best reissue. --Ric Leichtung


Lindstrøm: "Call Me Anytime (Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti Remix)"


Reported last month, the legendary Oslo-based label Smalltown Supersound released the second 12" of remixes from Lindstrøm's Six Cups Of Rebel, featuring a name that is generally quite unassociated with the art of remixing: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti. As we've seen the internet flowing over with new Lindstrøm works (and re-works) from his upcoming LP Smalhans as of late, it may seem a bit eccentric to lean back to Six Cups Of Rebel only a month before his next release. Then again, it's not exactly every day Ariel Pink puts his soul into someone else's work, and if we know the guy right, he's probably following his own personal time table.

Throughout its near 10-minute spin, Lindstrøm's "Call Me Anytime" receives a bizarre re-arrangement, evolving from a fusion of noisy ambience into tropical psych-pop, filtered over sonic beats and hints of Chicago footwork. As we're moving towards the soundwave's end, its constantly shapeshifting beat dissolves to dust, slowly moving back to the beginning of the trippy voyage; an organic puddle of sound, in true Ariel Pink spirit.

Order the 12" via Robot, also featuring another mind-boggling remix from Oneohtrix Point Never and Mark McGuire as DJ Road Chief on the B-side. 

Ariel Pink Unearths Old Works, Collaborates With Michael Allen Alien

Ariel Pink Unearths Old Works, Collaborates With Michael Allen Alien photo by Laura M. Gray

Ariel Pink's two collaborative tracks with New York-based weirdo popist Michael Alan Alien have surfaced on Mutant Sounds via Soundcloud. First track, "The Opera," is a manic vocal re-work of "Interesting Results" from the Ariel's 2006 gem House Arrest, and second track, "Creative Decisions," struts with a street-walking bassline and a simple, desperate melody submerged in schizoid chatter. Both songs are part of Michael's Painting Life LP, a collection of several tracks made in the wake of his serious spinal trauma connected with a Living Installation performance this past April. Other notable collaborators besides Pink include Jello Biafra, Geneva Jacuzzi, and Odd Nosdam. All proceeds from the record will go towards Michael's recovery.

Prior to signing with 4AD for Before Today and the recent Mature Themes, Pink made two records with Vas Deferens Organization (Eric Lumbleau of Mutant Sounds's group), the Ariel Pink With Added Pizzazz 12" and the Shits And Giggles-Trick or Treat LP. The 12" includes an expanded version of what became Before Today's lead-off track, "Hot Body Rub". Both were released on VDO's label Free Dope And Fucking In The Streets (which since changed its name to the much more palatable Puer Gravy), and are available for free download on Mutant Sounds.

Watch Ariel Pink's "Only In My Dreams" Video

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti have released a video for "Only In My Dreams", a track off their latest album, Mature Themes. Directed by Travis Peterson, it features Geneva Jacuzzi and Piper Kaplan of Puro Instinct. In the video, which is presented like an old-fashioned VHS tape, Pink stumbles from girl to girl, who throw themselves at him like groupies. One appears at his door with a flower, one attends his concert and leaves with him halfway through the set. It's a stereotypical popstar dream that begins to unravel as the video progresses.

Mature Themes is available now via 4AD.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti: "Only In My Dreams"

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti:

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti comes before us today with a new track from his 4AD follow-up to 2010's Before Today called "Only In My Dreams". While the song's title might evoke Weezer to some, Pink's bitter-but-still-so-sweet psych side still sounds as strong as it ever has in "Dreams".