LIVE REVIEW: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti @ Manning Bar, Sydney (09/02/11)

written by Chris Familton

Holy Balm eased the arriving crowd into the vibe of the evening with an impressive set that showcased their organic psychedelic take on electronic music. The constant tempo of their songs had the earlybirds settling into a shuffling head nod while the trio plugged away at their primitive, droning dance music. The cool thing was that they primarily create music from machines yet their minimal and loose approach gave their sound an oddly human characteristic.

Djanimals are usually a full band but tonight they appeared for the most part as a duo. I’m not sure if this is the new version of the band, which primarily serves as a vehicle for main man Jonti Danilewitz, or just a one-off stripped down performance. It meant the music was skewed toward experimental, electronic hip hop which at times worked well until the layers began to clutter the sound and detract from the impact of the music. Their last track featured some whacked out guest guitar from Kirin J. Callinan.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti emerged looking resplendent in sequins, glitter and technicolour coats  followed by frontman Ariel Pink who was dressed in a cheerleader/ice skater costume, sunglasses and single side ponytail .With hunched shoulders and demented arrhythmic dance moves he cut a bizarre and unsettling figure. For the first few songs the music was pretty awful generic garage rock played with rudimentary skill and a shocking sound mix. Mysteriously though, after that opening batch of songs the band seemed to figure out what they were supposed to be doing and from the opening notes of Beverly Kills and the subsequent bulk of album tracks from Before Today things improved immensely. Thats not to say the gig was great but there were many moments of magic like the single Round and Round, the dark alley groove of Menopause Man, Fright Night and the soaring Bright Lit Blue Skies that made it worth sticking around for the whole set.

What annoyed the most about the show was the appalling backing vocals and the demeanor of Pink whose schtick is flippancy and slacker disdain which in small doses would be fine but combined with the ridiculous outfit just didn’t add to the performance one iota. Musically unique, it was an undoubtedly entertaining show but it didn’t do justice or add to the brilliance of Before Today.

this review first appeared in Drum Media

ON TOUR: Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti lock in Australian dates….

The flood of stellar summer shows continues with the announcement this morning that Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti will play Laneway sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney (so far)…

Tour Dates

  • SYDNEY: Mistletone + 2SER + The Brag present Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti @ Manning Bar, Wednesday Feb 9
  • MELBOURNE: Mistletone, Triple R + Beat present Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti @ The Hi Fi, Thursday Feb 10

Tickets on sale now from the venues.


NEWS: Laneway Festival 2011 line-up revealed…

Les Savy Fav

In our books Laneway is always the most interesting and anticipated Austalia/New Zealand festival of the year and 2011 looks as great as ever with today’s announcement…

  • Deerhunter
  • Yeasayer
  • Les Savy Fav
  • Beach House
  • Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti
  • Blonde Redhead
  • Holy Fuck
  • !! (Chk Chk Chk)
  • The Antlers
  • Bear In Heaven
  • Cloud Control
  • Cut Copy
  • Violent Soho
  • Foals
  • Gotye
  • The Holidays
  • Jenny & Johnny
  • Warpaint
  • Local Natives
  • Menomena
  • Pvt
  • Rat Vs Possum (Excluding Perth)
  • Stornoway
  • Two Door Cinema Club
  • World’s End Press

Tour Dates

Monday 31st January 2011 – Aotea Square, Auckland
Friday 4th February 2011 – Alexandria St off St Paul’s Terrace, Brisbane
Saturday 5th February 2011 – Footscray Community Arts Centre, Melbourne
Sunday 6th February 2011 – Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney
Friday 11th February 2011 – Fowler’s Live, North Terrace, Adelaide
Saturday 12th February 2011 – Cultural Centre, Northbridge, Perth

Tickets for the 2011 St Jerome’s Laneway Festival go on sale Wednesday 20th October at 9am.

Mid Year Best Of…

Yep, we’re halfway through 2010 already, crazy huh? For the first few months it seemed like there weren’t many big records coming out that were instantly going to make the end of year best of list but all of a sudden our list in progress started filling up. Here then is a list of 13 releases, in no particular order, that have caught our attention and perhaps deserve yours. Over the next few weeks we’ll post some of the best tracks from these albums.

Drop a comment, we’d love to hear what you’ve been slipping back on the turntable or hitting repeat on the ipod…

Beach House | Teen Dream… A record that carries on from the swoon and sway that the band captured on their previous release Devotion. This just unveils itself more and more with each listen, wallowing in its subtlety and dreaminess.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti | Before Today… A killer album that totally lives up to the blogosphere hype. There are lo-fi elements at work that don’t descend into amateur songwriting. The tunes are complex, the melodies catchy as hell and there is enough chaos and eccentricity to make hypnagogic pop sound compelling rather than a novelty genre.

Liars | Sisterworld… The new album sees the band straightening their sound and investing it with the best elements of their songwriting – tribal drumming, chanted vocals, industrial rhythms, hypnotic bass and no wave guitar. Their best album to date… Read full review

Zola Jesus | Stridulum EP… Appearing like a ghostly Siouxsie she has a haunting, gothic voice that conjures up dark romance and  nice mix of electronics and guitars. Post goth perhaps? Best EP of the year so far…

Tame Impala | Innerspeaker… These young gents from West Australia have far exceeded the promise of their early singles and live shows by releasing a fully formed and sonically adventurous psych rock album. It is packed full of hazy vocals, magical guitar playing and real ‘album’ experience. Tame Impala have taken from the past, updated and reinterpreted it for modern ears. Read full review

Yeasayer | Odd Blood… Pop music in 2010 has become bastardised by hip hop artists mutating dance music to its lowest common denominator or youngsters desperately rehashing power ballads or the worst of the 80s. Yeasayer have taken the sound and scope of 80s pop and in a sense paid tribute to it with complete conviction and infectious results. You won’t find anything as catchy as this in 2010.

Jeremy Jay | Splash… A 26 minute album that stole our ears and burrowed into our hearts . Full of forlorn indie pop songs with hook after hook. If he had got it slightly different it would have been laughable but Jay surfs an effortless wave between Television, Interpol, Pavement and Modest Mouse. Detached cool never sounded so good. Read full review

The Soft Pack | self titled… This was one of the earliest releases in ’10 that hooked us. San Diego lads relocate to LA, take the vacant spot left by The Strokes and get back to basics with garage rock strained through The Cure, The Saints and Spoon. It has all been done before but their simplicity and timeless sound is spot on. Read full review Read interview

The Black Keys | Brothers… Prior to hearing this I was never really a particular fan of their bluesy rock n roll. Brothers changes all that with a change in direction that leaves a deep and soulful imprint on the sound and mood of the album. They invest in some heavy groove workouts throughout that suggest a foray into psychedelic rhythm and blues. Read full review

Forest Swords | Dagger Paths… Another entrant in the hauntology/hypnagogic realm and this is one of the best. Englishman Matthew Barnes combines dub, drone, psych and krautrock into one murky mix that taps into your imagination and your feet equally. It is like the heaviest stoned out wander through your brain… in a good way.

Mark Moldre | The Waiting Room… Equal parts, Wilco, Eels, Sparklehorse and the gentler side of Tom Waits – there are sepia-tinged universal themes at work in The Waiting Room that conjure up feelings of nostalgia, loss, love and optimism and Moldre has captured the mood of the human soul with great artistic clarity. Read full review

CocoRosie | Grey Oceans… Impossible to describe these two sisters but they incorporate opera, hip hop, nursery rhyme, minimalism and folk into possibly the most original and hypnotic music you will hear this year. Obtuse yet captivating and accessible.

Deepchord Presents Echospace | Liumin… There has been much electronic music that has excited me this year, much of it on the dubstep and dub techno tip. DPE mixz field recordings with smeared and stretched electronica like some doom dream that you can’t escape. They are working in the same area as Burial yet they still carve out their own dread laden synth niche.


Ahead of the release of their new album Before Today on June 8th, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti have recorded a live session with their label 4AD. In the words of the label…

the session showcases the band’s rich pop palette; a beguiling mix of glam rock, West Coast funk and Merseybeat harmonies with a newfound high-production sheen – a contrast to the corroded bedroom recordings that have fomented a fervent cult following over the past decade.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

* Click the link in the window to see full size plus additional tracks on the 4AD site…

NEWS: ARIEL PINK album due 8th June…

We’ve been obsessing over Ariel Pink and his lo-fi hypnagogic nostalgipop round these parts lately so it is great news that Los Angeles’ Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti have confirmed that their debut album for 4AD – Before Today will be released worldwide on June 8th 2010 on CD, LP and digital formats.

Before Today was recorded in Encino with Sunny Levine (Quincy Jones’ grandson) and Rik Pekkonen (Bill Withers, Seals & Crofts, Bread) as well as at the band’s home studios. The result is apparently a beguiling mix of glam rock, West Coast funk and Merseybeat harmonies with a high-production sheen; a contrast to the smeared bedroom recordings that have been the trademark for Ariel Pink over the past decade.

The current line-up of the band is Ariel Pink (vocals) alongside Tim Koh (bass/vocals), Kenny Gilmore (guitar/vocals) and Aaron Sperske (drums/vocals).

Download out the brilliant first single Over And Over and also check out the fantastic cover art for the single below…