Oberlin’s own Teengirl Fantasy–a.k.a. Nick Weiss and Logan Takahashi–recently released their debut full-length, 7AM, on True Panther Sounds. Check out this SWEET CUT off that LP, “Koi Pond,” and a visual dub from Camilla Padgitt-Coles.
This one’s been out a few months, but it’s so much fun to write and think about that I can’t choose anything else for my first review on this blog. A quick rundown of awesome things about this band that don’t include the music:
• The album title (considering the whole band is a bunch of skinny, pasty kids from Worcester, MA)
• The album cover (containing the lead singer’s cat, Bochicha, for whom a song on the album is named)
• The lead singer’s willingness to lie and say ridiculous things in Pitchfork interviews (like claiming that the song “Bochicha” is a stadium anthem for a semi-pro hockey team near the band’s hometown)
Already this band has my attention. Throw in the singer (we’ll just call him Dom, since he won’t reveal his last name out of fear of debt collection), who sounds more convincingly like a chick than any guy I’ve heard in a long, LONG time and writes hilarious songs about how sexy it is to be “Living in America” and wanting to do ecstacy and make out with “Jesus” in a movie theater, and I’m in the band’s corner.
The reason I’ve skirted around the subject of the actual music to this point is that Dom (the band) is exceedingly hard to pin down, beyond a general umbrella of lo-fi indie pop. They are absolutely made of catchy hooks, like the huge synth sound of “Living in America” and the earworm of a guitar line running through “Rude as Jude”, but they’re surprisingly versatile; amazingly, the pan flute-copping synths of “Burn Bridges” share album space with “Bochicha”, which actually wouldn’t sound too out of place as a stadium sing-a-long, now that they mention it, considering the guitar line, ripped straight from the Troggs’ “Wild Thing.” Bottom line, Dom is worth your time if you like fun. They sound like they invented it. – Matt Rothstein AKA DJ Tronic
After more than ten years, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti manages to stay relevant despite the current over saturation of the chillwave/chillcore/chillout/dreamwave/dreampop genre. With the release of their latest single, “Round and Round,” from the album, Before Today, the band sprints ahead of the pack.
The song includes elements that can be found on previous Haunted Graffiti albums, such as Ariel’s frequent use of harmony and poppy melodies, and gives them some extra attention in the production studio. The listener is left with a shinier, more polished sound than what can be found on previous albums.
Not only does the song boast better production quality, but it is more accessible than past singles. “Round and Round” is catchy, infused with highly melodic vocals over a steady, bouncy baseline. Although it’s a pop song that can rival any on the airwaves today, Pink’s unique sound is undoubtedly at its core. The song chooses to employ the help of a mid tempo beat that stays constant throughout and works well with the baseline. “Round and Round” is driven by its instrumental elements and Pink, singing more clearly than usual, sews all of the parts of the song together with well-crafted vocal tracks.
Plenty of artists are associated with the baby-making genre that is currently flooding the radio waves and invading dancefloors everywhere. Ariel Pink is not one of them. The music from previous albums, home recordings wrapped in indiscernible lyrics, manipulated vocals and driven by distorted synthesizers and guitars, usually doesn’t come to mind when the candles are low and your special gentleman or lady friend is looking for inspiration. But with the release of “Round and Round,” the band has the potential of earning a place in the hearts of poorly-lit dancefloor patrons everywhere. Whether intentional or not, the song is sexy in its own right and marks a new era for Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti. — Aba Essel