Our album of the week (4th June 2010)
For the best part of a decade, Los Angeles native Ariel Rosenberg aka Ariel Pink has been carving some of the most intoxicating music going, a reclusive pop surrealist whose corroded productions have led to a cult following that has often been difficult to keep up with.
With roots going back as far as 1996, West Coast act Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti are as sublime as they are surreal, with a sound loaded with hazy nostalgia and a fiercely experimental pop palette. From the ‘Haunted Graffiti’ series (from which the full band’s name is now derived), which featured the likes of ‘Worn Copy’ (2005) and ‘House Arrest’ (2006), Ariel Pink has established himself as one of the most prolific songwriters of his generation, a visionary producer in the vein of Joe Meek and Ariel’s hero and previous collaborator, tape deck dilettante R. Stevie Moore.
To date Pink’s most celebrated release – and one that summarises the erratic nature of his output, pieced together from various periods – is ‘The Doldrums’, released on Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks imprint in 2004, yet recorded and mixed by Ariel in his bedroom on an 8-track in the late 90s.
No longer a bedroom venture, Haunted Graffiti are now a fully realised band, comprised of Kenny Gilmore (keys / guitar / vocals), Aaron Sperske (drums / vocals) and Tim Koh (bass / vocals), all characters from the underground LA scene.
The album took nearly six months to complete, with around half of the record completed with Sunny Levine at the dials (the rest being self-produced and recorded), plus engineer Rik Pekkonen, who previously recorded many great 70s acts including Bill Withers, Seals & Crofts and Bread, all on show as ‘Before Today’ muddles glam rock, West Coast funk and Merseybeat harmonies.
For such a unique act, Haunted Graffiti manage to weave such a beguiling range of influences into their music. They can veer from the demented heavy metal of ‘Butt-House Blondies’ to the classic synth-rock of ‘I Can’t Hear My Eyes’, ‘Revolution’s A Lie’ with its pulsating motorik tints to their cover ‘Bright Lit Blue Skies’ (originally recorded by the Rocking Ramrods in 1966).
Hot Body Rub * Bright Lit Blue Skies * L’estat (acc. To The Widow’s Maid) * Fright Night (Nevermore) * Round and Round * Beverly Kills * Butt-House Blondies * Little Wig * Can’t Hear My Eyes * Reminiscences * Menopause Man * Revolution’s A Lie
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