Album premiere: L.A. Times showcases Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti album 'Before Today' on June 1
For the last decade, prolific singer, songwriter and all-around musical freak Ariel Pink has churned out a singular brand of rock-'n- roll. It's a body of work that's nearly indescribable, in fact, but not because it's necessarily inaccessible but because he seems to draw on the entire history of rock and roll and boil it down to its essence -- and then bury it within the depths of a low-fidelity sound he achieves by recording on dinky 4- and 8-track analog recorders.
His new album changes all that, and the L.A. Times will offer the evidence when we present the American premiere of "Before Today" on Tuesday, June 1. The full-length album, his first for the legendary 4AD Records imprint, will be The Times' first foray into album premieres; we'll offer a stream of it for the week preceding its June 8 release date.
With "Before Today," Pink, whom writer Simon Reynolds will be profiling for The Times next week, fulfills a promise that has drawn a small but obsessive fan base to snatch up his many self-released albums, CDs and cassettes. On those releases, a few of which were from the Animal Collective's Paw Tracks imprint, Pink and his band, Haunted Graffiti, poured forth dozens of little ditties that sounded like crazy leftovers from 1970s AM radio -- recorded from transistor radio and onto cassette. He was overflowing with ideas and seemed to record and release every single one of them.
The new record is more focused, better recorded and captures a dozen of Pink's oddly engaging rock and pop songs. It's his best work to date, and we're excited to be connected to an album that the British newspaper the Guardian already has called one of its favorite albums of the year -- a sentiment that we wholeheartedly endorse.
Here's an MP3 teaser:
-- Randall Roberts
Photo: Ariel Pink. Credit: 4AD Records
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