Ariel Pink Confounds, Covers The Smiths

Speaking Of Moz, Ariel Pink’s “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” can be heard here. If anyone can figure out Tech-recipe’s Hack To Download Any Song On MySpace send the MP3 our way. (Thanks Eric! Scroll to bottom for MP3.)

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti is the most frustrating great music I discovered last year. Mr. Pink (né Ariel Rosenberg), the man behind the Graffiti, has an amazing pop sensibility, and can tackle any genre, but his insistence on sounding as lo-fi as possible drives me nuts. I’m fine with the eccentricities, the silly lyrics, the ADD-song-structures … but the production dramatically reduces Haunted Graffiti’s appeal. Ariel blames it on his 8-track, but you know it’s intentional. Every song dares the listener to like him.

“People boo me everywhere. They don’t even hide their contempt,” he told LA Weekly last month. “I think people have a hard time understanding what role I play on the records. They think I’m sampling or pressing play on something. … The fact is ? my music is firmly anti-sample. It’s really rock & roll at its core. I’m playing everything. The drumming is all mouth drumming, beat-boxing. It sounds like clicking, but put it into a mike and it sounds like Steely Dan.”

I discovered AP when he was anointed the first Paw-Tracker who wasn’t part of Animal Collective. The label reissued Doldrums in late ’04 and I was intrigued by Aquarius’ write-up:

Few records in recent memory have provoked such a breach of unanimity here at Aquarius. Some of us (Andee, Cup, Byram) are the naysayers who feel that the artist’s eccentricities ring rather hollow — i.e, fucking around rather than genuinely fucked up. Meanwhile Jim and Allan lean towards the positive on this one. … If you come into the store and ask somebody here about this record, you’ll surely get an impassioned opinion, but who knows on what side it will be.

A year ago, I visited Aquarius for the first time and asked the dude behind the counter for an opinion. It was impassioned as promised. He hated Ariel Pink. I bought Doldrums anyway, but barely listened to that or his Worn Copy reissued last May.

House Arrest, out 1/26, is another collection of five-year-old bedroom recordings, but this time I’m paying attention … and starting to forgive the production. Moments of brilliance abound.

Sixties throwback “Every Night I Die At Miyagis” plays with a catchy chugging guitar riff and “Alisa” is like a fucked-up outer space, underwater toast to Rod Stewart’s “You’re in My Heart.” The artist’s at his most accessible on “Interesting Results,” a joyful clap-your-hands sing-along about writing a cool pop tune. It folds into “West Coast Calamities”‘ found audio (“I’m Davey Jones, enjoy the music!”) and an instantly recognizable lick from “Turn! Turn! Turn!” Weird, not cleared, and I sorta respect that.

Ariel’s got so much potential. Is he the next Beck, or just a too trippy Russian Futurist? He needs Mike Elizondo to take him from the bedroom to the studio.

Until then, Haunted Graffiti is anything goes. There’s even a “Write Your Own Ariel Pink Song” contest.

Send us your lyrics by the end of January. Ariel will pick his favorite and write a song around it. That simple! (Paw Tracks, P.O. Box 42374, Washington, D.C. 20015)

Here are some MP3s. What do you guys think of this weirdo?

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “For Kate I Wait” (MP3)
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “Jules Lost His Jewels” (MP3)

Only one song per post displays in our MP3 Feed/Podcast thing. Jim’s still making improvements to the back-end, and how the tags display, so hold tight.

UPDATE: MP3s from the “new” album at Aziz’s site.

UPDATE 2: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti – “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” (MP3 Link Expired)