I've been meaning to write about the brilliant new single by Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti since it became available as a free download from 4ad.com a few weeks ago. The song feels like a conflation of a lot of what's happening in the US indie music sphere at the moment: the songcraft meets experimentalism of Animal Collective, Atlas Sound and Grizzly Bear; acid-drenched psychedelia; the general vogue for hazy nostalgic pop; 70s AM radio gone lo-fi; the ambient electro feel of the "chillwave" set. Ariel Pink is the alter ego of Ariel Marcus Rosenberg, an avant garde musician based in LA. Appropriately, he was the first artist signed to Animal Collective's label Paw Tracks half a decade ago, gaining a cult following for his lo-fi experiments. The expanded Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti, includes several other friends and collaborators, and they're likely to gain greater audience since signing with 4AD. 'Before Today', their first album for the label is due on 6 June. Hopefully, this song, with its wider scope and high-gloss production is a good sign of things to come.
Addicted to funk
The always informative thefader.com alerts us to this great new collaboration between Berlin producer Dutch Rhythm Combo and Isa GT. The latter, real name Isabel Gonzalez Toro, is a Columbian DJ, producer and performer now based in London. The track from the former's new LP 'The Imaginary Band' is called "Alerta", and is an addictive hit of sleek disco funk – hear it at bit.ly/uHn60. It feels like an updated take on the new- wave disco heard in Soul Jazz's 'New York Noise' series. Isa GT also has a digital EP on Man Recordings combining electro, baile funk, ghetto tech, and more – bit.ly/cfAptt. See a video for remixed opening track "Pela'o" at vimeo.com/10686673.
Welcome Beck to INXS
Beck's Record Club, where he gathers a bunch of musicians to record covers of an entire album in one day, has been a source of regular entertainment. For the newest instalment, Beck (right), St Vincent, Liars and the Brazilian legends Os Mutantes got together to tackle INXS' 1987 LP 'Kick'. This week they moved on to the second track with a beautiful acoustic version of "New Sensation", previously they recorded a grinding version of opener "Guns in the Sky": beck.com.
Dam Funk reboots Doc Martens
Previously Converse used their pop-culture cache (and perhaps cash) to get some stars to make music for them, now Doc Martens are doing the same to mark their 50th anniversary. They've got 10 bands to cover 10 tracks, all of which will be featured on drmartens.com. Three tracks are already available, including a cover of The Human League's "Things That Dreams Are Made Of" by 1980s-loving producer Dam Funk; there's also a suitably vintage video.
With the well-received album 'Psychic Chasms' Neon Indian were prominent among last year's round of artists making the sort of calmly psychedelic, ambient pop that people had difficulty agreeing on a coherent name for – "chillwave" was the uneasy compromise. The record has been out since October but a notable remix of the title track has shown up on Stereogum – bit.ly/drqm00. The reworking comes from a new group that go by the grand name, Brahms. The New York trio fall more on the 80s new wave side of the electro track and their take gives the song a Depeche Mode-like feel. They've yet to release an album but we're bound to hear more from them soon. Get two demos at brahmsband.com.