Posts Tagged ‘Ariel Pink’

Gary War

The past few years have been illuminating in terms of seeing how some of the lo-fi set have grown up and out of the nest that sprung them. With Ariel Pink embracing the warmth of ‘60s sunshine and The Soft Moon going full Nine Inch Nails lately, there’s a lot to be said for taking the seed of sound and blowing it up bigger than before. So, with that in mind its interesting to see former Pink collaborator Gary War back after five years with his first new LP in the post-hypnogogic comedown. War (nee Greg Dalton) doesn’t entirely emerge from the shadows he’s lurked in, but he does give the sound a good fleshing out with a crack backing band that features members of Sunburned, Pigeons and Bobb Trimble’s melted psych circus.

War has also played with Trimble over the years and he seems to have taken a page from Bobb’s tendency to dig his heels into psychedelia’s weird end while still giving it a bit of instrumental sparkle. Same goes for underground legend R. Stevie Moore, and there’s quite a bit of this record that brings to mind his classic Glad Music. Like that bit of warped wax, Gaz Forth is full of shaded psych-pop that’s whizzing by in dazzling double doppler-effect, dropping snippets of the ‘60s that seem just out of reach – was that some Tull-era flute or maybe it’s Moody Blues, some ELP organ ramp-up – we’re never quite sure.

What is for certain is that this is Dalton at his best and it’s probably the most realized version of what Gary War sounded like in his head all those years. Coming out just a bit from the cloud of hiss that’s permeated the project brings out a glittering array of colors in his work – right before the band takes a hot iron and smudges them at the edges, that is. On Gaz Forth Gary War is spreading the smudge to the widescreen though and it’s never sounded more alive.




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RSTB Best of 2017

So this year is drawing to a close, or almost, we’re still a few weeks away from pushing the broken pieces of 2017 into the trash. There’s no real solace from a lot of the events that took place this year, but, independent of any current events, music has been kind to us all this year. These are the records that spent the most time on the turntable over here. Yeah, I know its kind of a lot, but there were far too many good ones that haven’t been getting the shouts they need elsewhere. Lets say this serves as both a best of and a most overlooked in one go. If you enjoy ’em, buy ’em if you can. Don’t do them the disservice of just bumping up the streaming numbers.

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Ariel Pink

It’s been kinda a while since an Ariel Pink album graced RSTB, and it’s definitely been a bit since one found its way onto my shelf. Following the cemented syrup-psych-in-boat-shoes classic that was Before Today Pink never quite hit the bar I was hoping for. Mature Themes was to many a defiant slap in the face to those who thought he’d go full-scale pop. For every “Only In My Dreams” he penned a “Schnitzel Boogie,” and hey, the man’s never promised anything other than personal indulgence, so why would we expect any less? It was, for all intents and purposes, an Ariel Pink album through and through, but the promise that it left hanging still stung.

2014’s Pom Pom didn’t deliver the stone cold shiver-shod studio deep dive either. Rather it explored more lo-fi freakouts with a Beefheart crust and left plenty of elbow room to wander stylistically. So here we arrive at Dedicated To Bobby Jameson, a cheeky reference to this very quandary of promises supposedly left unfulfilled. For those unfamiliar, Jameson himself was poised for accessible fame in the ’60s but found it always just out of reach – getting mixed in a twist of bad management, questionable decisions and drugs. So, in case there was ever a line of thinking that Pink wasn’t self-aware, quash that notion right here and now.

With that in mind, one would expect this to be Pink’s own further ‘fuck you’ to anyone looking for transcendence. Not so, it would seem. There’s still a trademark style dial-shift to the album that’s pure Pink, but in every aspect this comes off as an record planned and planed to its core to be a pop artifact. The psychedelic swaddling feels like it only accentuates the smoother moments. There are very few instances when he seems to need an external editor to whittle the album to its core (see again: Pom Pom). Instead this winds up being one of Pink’s most enigmatic albums yet. The pop is as chewy as ever – exemplified by the trio of “Feels Like Heaven,” “Another Weekend,” and the title track. The concept ties it down and the Robert Beatty artwork can’t be beat. This might be as close to closure as I could ever hope for. It might also be the album he’s always hinted was lurking in the heart of the beast. Or maybe that’s still yet to come. Either way, this is a definite step in the right direction.




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Drugdealer – “Easy To Forget”

I gotta admit, this one crept up on me slow. I wasn’t bowled over by the Weyes Blood lead single that preceded the album, but sitting down with it listening to Michael Collins’ tapestry of ’70s smoothness in full, along with contributions from Ariel Pink and Sheer Agony, the bigger picture starts to come into shape. As as single, the Pink featuring track “Easy To Forget” is a definite standout, and the video captures the song’s strange instant classic feeling paired with its almost overbaked, out-of-time vibe. Its the kind of track that would be blaring out of the windows of a beaten to death Cutlass Supreme at four in the afternoon. Its hard not to smile at the imagery and its harder still to deny the smooth swagger that Collins and Pink pull over on this one.

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