Every once in while an album comes along that just absolutely blows your mind. It seems to be happening more often than not this year! I am talking about the kind of album that you just can't stop listening to...the kind of album you want to live inside of...the kind of album you want to call in sick for so you can listen to it over and over again...the kind of album I have in my car, on my turntable and in my cd player all at the same time! I am seriously considering making a cassette tape of this album so I can carry it around with me everywhere I go...I did just say cassette, because the album I am talking about does not really make sense as a digital file. It would make more sense on a cassette or 8-track. I am talking about the new album by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti! Ariel Pink has found a new home with 4AD records and has put out one of the best albums of the year. I just don't think any other album is gonna be able to compete with it this year. The new album is called Before Today. I will be the first to admit that I don't own any other Ariel Pink albums. I obviously know who he is and have been hearing things about him for years, but I just always figured he was a bit too weird for me. I sort of put him with the whole Devendra Banhart genre and thought it was best to stay away. I'd like to think that Ariel Pink got sick of me ignoring his albums and made this album just for me. He made the exact kind of album that I was going to fall in love with -- the kind that seems like it came directly out of the 70s, like it was 1975 all over again and you just happened to turn on the radio and hear this amazing album. Think about your favorite songs from Hall & Oates, Asia, Bread, Ambrosia, Todd Rundgren, Chicago, The Carpenters, Michael McDonald, Billy Joel, The Climax Blues Band, 10CC, Al Stewart, and Manfred Mann's Earth Band; and then imagine them all mixed up together and then the best things about them created into new amazing songs. This is sort of what you get with this new album!
Ariel Pink was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, which makes me love him even more. I know that there are a lot of us born in LA. but it seems that very few of the artists that I fall in love with end up coming from LA. He has been putting out music since 1996, it just took him this long to get into my life. I know I am not alone in my recent discovery of the genius of Ariel Pink. This album is for sure a bit more accessible and well-produced. He has a full real band playing with him now also! This is some seriously good stuff. You need to go pick up this album and discover it for yourself. But don't worry if you're already a fan -- there's still some weird stuff. The songs often get a bit crazy and end up going places you would never find a normal pop song exploring. This album is full of fantastic songs and as it plays out they just keep gettin better! One of my favorites is "Bright Light Blue Skies." "Fright Night" is amazing! "Can't Hear My Eyes" is probably my favorite of them all, though. Thank you, Ariel PInk! This album is full of the perfect summer jams -- what a great start to the summer! Perfect for those warm Los Angeles Summer nights. I will be exploring some old Ariel PInk albums for sure as well, but I have a felling that they will all be leading me back to this amazing new album. It just can't really get any better than this!
Listen to "Can't Hear My Eyes" by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti from the new album Before Today...
Buy the new album Before Today by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
I was also happy to learn that Ariel Pink is a big fan of The Cure. It all makes sense. I, too, am a huge fan of The Cure. How can you not be? Here is my sort of recent blog from almost two years ago about my love of The Cure. They have been one of my favorite bands since I can remember really liking music. If you add up all the hours that I have spent listening to music in my life I am sure that The Cure takes up a pretty good chunk of that time. They are for sure the albums that I have listened to the most, and Disintegration is at the top of the list of the albums that I have listened to the most. It is hard to believe that it has been 21 years since it was released in 1989, but it's true! Along with Music for the Masses by Depeche Mode, this has to be one of my favorite albums ever. I owned them both on cassette and ended up wearing them both out -- I had to actually replace the cassettes. I, of course, now own them on CD and Vinyl as well. I can't really even begin to describe what this album meant to me but I think it is equally important to most of us of that generation. The album was nothing short of brilliant. It was really something that had never existed before. This was our Dark Side of the Moon, our Exile On Main Street or Revolver. "Fascination Street," "Lullaby," "Prayers for Rain," and the title track remain some of my all time favorite songs. I really can't get enough of the whole thing though -- it is just nice for The Cure reissues to finally make it up to this album. The new reissue is a 3 disc set and it is magical. I now await the Wish reissue. I know that the Cure catalog really ends for a lot of people at Disintegration, but take "Friday I'm in Love" off of Wish and it really is an amazing record. For a more detailed review of this reissue check out Aaron's blog right here. I am listening to the new reissue on vinyl right now and it really does sound amazing. This album is dark and intense just like you remember but I don't know why people always think this album is depressing. I for sure listened to it many times when I was depressed but I think it always made me feel better. It always made me think that everything was going to be OK. I love it still just as much after 21 years!
Listen to "Fascination Street" by The Cure from the album Disintegration...
Buy the new reissue of Disintegration by The Cure
Another one of my recent favorites is the new album from Wild Nothing. The new album is called Gemini and was released a couple of weeks ago on Captured Tracks. It is really nothing short of amazing and is breaking my heart every day that I listen to it. Phenomenal! It is sort of lo-fi shoegaze dreampop fantastic. Just please do me a favor and give it a listen. It is currently fighting it out with Ariel Pink for album of the year on my list, and I know it is only June -- still six more months to go in 2010 -- but I really do think I have found my two favorite albums of the year already.
Listen to "Confirmation" by Wild Nothing from the album Gemini...
Buy the new album Gemini by Wild Nothing
also out 6/1...
Chaos by The Futureheads
Bride Screamed Murder by The Melvins
Other Two & You reissue by The Other Two
Treats by Sleigh Bells
Memory Is Better Than Nothing by Television Personalities
Wake Up the Nation by Paul Weller
also out 6/8...
Force by A Certain Ratio
Non Stop by Andy Bell
Destroyer of the Void by Blitzen Trapper
Some Friendly reissue by The Charlatans UK
Cats & Mice by Kristin Hersh
LP4 by Ratatat
Shape of Punk To Come reissue by Refused
Shadows by Teenage Fanclub
No Snare by Tender Forever
Champ by Tokyo Police Club