Review: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Mature Themes”


By Kevin Wells

Who is the new Ariel Pink EP for? Scratch that. Who is the new Ariel Pink? On song after song on Mature Themes, he plays one character or another, sometimes inhabiting, without any apparent credit, other songwriters’ personae entirely, as on “Symphony of the Nymph”, where he dresses up and impersonates Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes for the verse, and Joe Walsh for the chorus. In actuality he’s become the poor man’s Badly Drawn Boy, a competent manager of his sound and a desperate, craven, trendfucking dilettante when it comes to the music’s philosophy… realizing that his genre currently mandates a certain fussy idiocy–defenders would claim the offbeat tradition of Zappa the way unfunny comedians invoke Andy Kaufman’s “anti-comedy”–Pink is operating as a politician.
Yes, he deigns to blow the dog-whistle his fans so badly want to hear–more Casios, more ProTools masturbation–while also making sure to give each track enough of a hook to qualify for some commercials. Don’t flatter yourself, kids … your dad is definitely Pink’s target audience now, so long as your dad is under forty and enjoys being pandered to. Case in point: the final burst of Pink’s personality disorder, excuse me I mean his new album, is a sentimental ballad named “Baby” that’s sung kind of like Smokey Robinson, played a bit like Cat Power’s “Greatest” band, and which features the head-scratching refrain, “Baby, you’re so baby”. I can see Pink now in concert, contorting the melody into something jagged and upsetting, pretending as if the studio version was not a direct bid for some of that sweet GAP airplay.

The standout song is the title track, naturally, a winsome, winning Joe Jackson rip; more appropriate would be the sub-Miss Piggy disco turd “Pink Slime”.

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Modern Mystery’s Top 30 Albums of the Year

The time is finally here where we announce our favorite albums of the year. Yes, it took a whole lot of thinking and a whole lot of relistening, but in the end we figured it out.  Trust us, it was no easy task this year. Take a peek at what kept our interest in 2010.

1. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – “Let It Sway”

This will forever be known as the album where SSLYBY fully matured. Working with Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla,  the band produced a stunning record full of pop hooks and catchy lyrics. The result, Let It Sway (Polyvinyl), one of the greatest pieces of work our ears have heard by any indie band in a long time. We loved it so much we made a tribute  video celebrating the record which you can watch below. Congrats SSLYBY!

2. Vampire Weekend – “Contra”

A nearly flawless album, the VW boys started off 2010 with a burst of energy that continued througout the year. Neck in neck with the Yeltsins, Contra (XL) also shared the tale of a too-good-to-be-true indie band growing up in the public eye.

3. The Morning Benders – “Big Echo”

Another record that was running with the big boys on this list, The Morning Benders released Big Echo (Kanine) early in the year and exploded like no one could ever have imagined. It’s ab out time. They deserve it.  This is one of the catchiest albums we heard this year and it never gets old.

4. Of Montreal – “False Priest”

Of Montreal are always evolving. That is what we love most about the band. False Priest (Polyvinyl) takes them to a whole new level, dabbling in R&B and dueting with Solange Knowles. We may have been skeptical at first but it quickly won over our hearts and the dance floor.

5.  Surfer Blood – “Astrocoast” 

Everyone’s favorite “IT” band of the year produced a promising debut album called Astrocoast (Kanine). We followed the boys around CMJ 2009 and knew they were about to blew up huge. We were right, and now Surfer Blood has taken over the world.

 6. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Before Today”

A chilling record filled with reverb and haunting vocals proved to be just the thing for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. Before Today (4AD) stunned the indie music world and makes us wonder what the next Ariel Pink chapter has to hold.

7.  Jukebox the Ghost – “Everything Under the Sun”

A thriving piano backed by a guitar and drums made an unexpected assault in the indie world this year. Everything Under the Sun (Yep Roc) dropped jaws quickly this year and had Jukebox the Ghost playing with big name bands and appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman.

8.   The Love Language – “Libraries”

Much different from their first record, The Love Language stunned us with a near perfect record, Libraries (Merge) this year. There was a lot of buzz about this album and as the tracks leaked, we could feel the greatness building up. We were right.

9. We Are Scientists – “Barbara”

Without a record label in the U.S., We Are Scientists broke through this year with Barbara. They haven’t changed too much since the last time we heard from them, which is a good thing. They still have their driving 80’s vibe, W.A.S. charm and brilliant tunes.

10. Magic Kids – “Memphis”

This was an unexpected treat this year that had us putting Magic Kids on repeat. Memphis (Goner/True Panther) often has a lo-fi and retro vibe, and that is what really makes it special.

 

The rest of the list….

11. Miniature Tigers – “Fortress”

12. Matt Pond PA – “The Dark Leaves”

13. Wavves – “King of the Beach”

14. Sufjan Stevens -“Age of the Adz”

15. Arcade Fire – “The Suburbs”

16. Free Energy – “Stuck on Nothing”

17. Javelin – “No Mas”

18. Best Coast – “Crazy for You”

19. The Drums – “The Drums”

20.  Tokyo Police Club – “Champ”

21. The New Pornographers – “Together”

22. Spoon – “Transference”

23. Hot Hot Heat – “Future Breeds”

24. Kids of 88 – “Sugar Pills”

25. MGMT – “Congratulations”

26. Harlem – “Hippies”

27. Broken Social Scene – “Forgiveness Rock Record”

28. Born Ruffians – “Say It”

29. Caribou – “Swim”

30. Interpol – “Interpol”

Modern Mystery’s Top 25 Songs of 2010


1. Of Montreal – “Sex Karma” featuring Solange Knowles
2. Vampire Weekend – “Cousins”
3. Love Language – “Heart to Tell”
4. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – “Everlyn”
5. Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti -“Fright Night (Nevermore)”
6. Morning Benders – “Promises”
7. Jukebox the Ghost – “Half Crazy”
8.  The Drums – “Let’s Go Surfing”
9. Surfer Blood – “Swim”
10. We Are Scientists – “Rules Don’t Stop”
11. Wavves – “King of the Beach”
12. Free Energy – “Bang Pop”
13. Magic Kids – “Hey Boy”
14. Robbers on High Street – “Electric Eye”
15. Beach Fossils – “Youth”
16. Javelin – “Oh! Centra”
17. Matt Pond PA – “Starting”
18. Miniature Tigers – “Gold Skull”
19. Ra Ra Riot – “Boy”
20. Best Coast – “Boyfriend”
21. Sufjan Stevens – “From the Mouth of Gabriel”
22. Hot Hot Heat – “21@12”
23. Tame Impala – “Alter Ego”
24. Caribou – “Odessa”
25. Jenny and Johnny – “Big Wave”

NYC’s Weekend Show Roundup!

Lindstrom, JDH & Dave P @ (le) poisson rouge

Horse Feathers, Anais Mitchell, The Loom @ Bowery Ballroom

Maserati, Psychic Paramount, Steve Moore @ Brooklyn Bowl (Early Show)

Punches, Midnight Magic @ Brooklyn Bowl (Late Show)

Tunng, Motel Motel, Fance In The Foles @ Bruar Falls

Dinosaur Feathers, Living Rooms, Air for Ants, Phil and the Osophers @ Cameo Gallery

The Coathangers, The So-So Glos, Ex-Humans, Unholy 2 @ Death By Audio

The Posies, Brendan Benson, Aqueduct @ Highline Ballroom

Obits, Bottomless Pit, Black Helicopter @ Knitting Factory

Azure Ray, Tim Fite, James Husband @ Mercury Lounge (Early Show)

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band @ Mercury Lounge (Late Show)

Man… Or Astroman?, Dexter Romweber Duo, Nightmare Waterfall @ Music Hall of Williamsburg

Magic Kids, Bosco Delrey, Fergus & Geronimo, Sweet Bulbs, Phone Tag @ Silent Barn

The 1900’s, Robbers on High Street @ The Rock Shop

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Os Mutantes @ Webster Hall

The Books @ Zankel Hall

Sufjan Stevens @ The Beacon Theater

Grinderman @ Best Buy Theater

Crystal Stilts, The Beets @ Brooklyn Bowl

Suuns, BELL, Emil & Friends, New Moods @ Glasslands

Azure Ray, Tim Fite @ Knitting Factory

Youth Brigade @ Mercury Lounge

 

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti Announce New Tour

After just recently wrapping up their tour with the Flaming lips, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti announce another US/Canada tour with psychedelic legends and Brazil natives, Os Mutantes.

The band has recently released a new album entitled Before Today. Combining the famous psychedelic and noise-pop vibes , the album transcends into continuation of the bands previous work. Make sure to catch this 2 for 1 psychedelic, eye-candy tour!

***Tour Dates***

November 5 @Showroom, TX
November 6 @Fun Fun Fun Fest, TX
November 7 Fitzgeralds, TX
November 8@ One Eyed Jack, LA
November 9 @Variety, GA
November 10@ Cats Cradle, NC
November 11 @9:30 Club, DC
November 12 @Trocadero, PA
November 13 @Webster Hall, NY
November 14@ Royale Boston, MA
November 16@ National, PQ
November 17@ Opera House, ONT
November 18 @Clazel Theater, OH
November 19@ Metro, IL
November 20 @Cedar Cultural Center, MN
November 23@ Bluebird, CO
November 24@ Urban Lounge, UT
November 26 @Vogue, BC
November 27 @Neumo’s, WA
November 28@ Berbati’s, OR
November 30@ Regency, CA
December 1 @Rio Theater, CA
December 2 @Henry Fonda, CA