Forget everything you’ve read about Ariel Pink. His public persona has nothing to do with his music, which has never been more remarkable than it is on pom pom. “Plastic Raincoats in the Pig Parade” begins the album by approximating decades of children’s music, family VHS tapes and video game music into a multicolored parade of half-remembered sounds. On tracks like “White Freckles,” Pink taps into similar territory of outdated interstitial music and lyrics and sounds inspired by advertising, pouring his exaggerated lothario presence all over them and ending up with sticky-sweet concoctions that leave you feeling titillated and slightly nauseated. Nothing that could possibly be interesting gets thrown away in Pink’s world—“Lipstick” could be based on an adult contemporary jam you never learned the name of; “Nude Beat A Go-Go” is like a perved-up version of a Frankie & Annette movie theme song. This means there are a few tracks you’ll skip past, but it’s better to have the full Pink treatment, making pom pom feel more crucial than 2012’s somewhat cleaned-up Mature Themes. And the singles are killer. “Put Your Number in My Phone” is a new cheese classic in silk pajamas. “Black Ballerina,” like its precursor, Before Today’s “Round and Round,” is a sick roller rink jam, with a disjointed narrative flowing through. And “Picture Me Gone” takes Pink’s simmering Beach Boys influence into a gossamer synth ballad. So he’s kind of a creep. But pom pom is proof that for all his off-putting proclivities, Ariel Pink still makes some of the most fascinating and entertaining pop music around.
Words and photos by Lauren Clark.
In its eighth year running, Treasure Island Music Festival proved once again to be a massive success. The festival brought together a great line-up in a gorgeous location while maintaining a laid-back atmosphere. Saturday featured an electronic-leaning schedule, with performances by Jungle, St. Lucia, Janelle Monae, Classixx, and Outkast to name a few. Sunday featured sets by The Growlers, Chet Faker, Washed Out, TV On The Radio, Polica, Massive Attack, and more. Festival-goers were also provided with a multitude of activities including interactive art installations, arts and crafts, field day contests, local vendors, and, of course, food.
Festival highlight: Polica’s ethereal performance as the sun set over the beautiful San Francisco skyline on Sunday.
I had this idea for the video that I thought would never happen, of Paul Reubens as a race car driver who slowly loses his mind. I took it to Funny or Die and they said, 'That's great, let's go for that.'"
I got to speak with him over the phone about doing it and, in between being blindingly nervous that I was actually talking to an actor who had shaped a LOT of my world view and trying not to freak him out by saying so, he mentioned that he's been a fan of the band for awhile. He liked the idea, and, somehow, here we are with Paul as a race car driver losing his mind.
Karen Gillan was absolutely great. We were really psyched to work with her, because she's basically sci-fi royalty, and a great person. Full on geek fest in the desert.
It was really fun to do, love how it came out. I think our fans will like it. I hope so. The cool ones will anyway. The rest can suck it. I don't exactly know what 'it' is. But they can find it. And they can suck it.
TV on the Radio front man Tunde Adebimpe is one busy singer. In addition to TVOTR getting ready to release, Seeds (Harvest Records) this fall, Tunde has been rocking with his side project, Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band. In 2012, the singer gathered up a few friends and soon after released a self-titled EP on their own ZNA Records label. Ryan Sawyer (Lone Wolf/Thurston Moore), Josh Werner (Lee "Scratch" Perry, CocoRosie) and Alex Holden (Big Numbers) round out the band.
Tunde and his cohorts stopped in at Amoeba Hollywood for another cool episode of "What's In My Bag?" With a name like Higgins Waterproof Black Magic Band, you can guess these cats are influenced by all kinds of music! The vinyl they dig for is proof not only of their varied influences, but also the depth of their tastes. The guys jump right in with some serious stuff for Jazz lovers, Eric Dolphy's Out To Lunch LP. They follow that up with two re-issues of rare African records from Mali's Super Djata De Bamako. This is a good listen for funky guitar and awesome drumming. From religious Santeria Afrocuban music to the modern electroclash of the Liars' Mess, HWBMB dig up lots of cool records. Check out the entire episode below to see what else they found!
So far no album release date has been set, but they have announced tour dates around the UK in May so perhaps that's a good indication of when to expect the album.
Santigold released a new single this week, "Disparate Youth," from her forthcoming sophomore album, Master of My Make-Believe (out May 1 on Downtown). You can catch her on tour this Spring with the Red Hot Chili Peppers or at Coachella in April. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that she tours solo as well. I had the chance to see her at the House of Blues Anaheim a few years ago when she was supporting her 2008 self-titled debut album (back when she was still Santogold) and I hope to see her perform again. The new Santigold tracks will have to tide me over until then.
Watch an animated clip of "Disparate Youth" and an official video for "Big Mouth," the album's lead single: