9:30 Club presents at U Street Music Hall.
Purple Pigeons, Kirin J. Callinan
1115 U Street NW
Washington, DC, 20009
This event is all ages
Before Today was the band's 4AD debut, offering the first sign that the intriguingly scatalogical music Ariel had been making for over a decade was finally ossifying into a coherent form. Indeed, the lead song from Before Today - the inimitable 'Round and Round' - was awarded Pitchfork's track of the year for 2010, and further plaudits were heaped upon the long player as it cropped up in near-all end-of-year polls. For many it seemed that Ariel had finally reached the wider audience his early recordings had hinted was possible. And with Mature Themes, Haunted Graffiti have forged a record that raises the bar once again.
Installing themselves in a studio space in downtown-LA, Haunted Graffiti began a lengthy process of writing and recording. Mature Themes is a self-produced affair, with former member Cole MGN drafted in to provide some drum programming and additional mixing duties. Far removed from Ariel's early bedroom recordings, Mature Themes is a product of a more collaborative process, with the often-overlooked virtuoso musicianship of the band bought to the fore. "There are definitely not any links to my lo-fi origins", Ariel recently told Spin magazine. "It's so diverse but so different from anything I've done before. In a sense, it's really the record I wanted to make back when I made Before Today, but couldn't. We had time to let our hair down and try new things."
While the creative process was new, familiar Ariel Pink signatures remain. In fact, Mature Themes feels like the definitive Haunted Graffiti record, a patchwork of modern America, its esoteric reference points and moments of lyrical lucidity a twilight excursion through backwater LA and late-night TV channel hopping.
Kirin J. Callinan
You are Kirin J Callinan. You are from Australia. You don't put a period after your middle initial. You slick your hair back, mostly to keep it out of the way. You will be moving a lot, herky-jerky.
You are playing your first show in the United States at the Glasslands Gallery, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in a showcase sponsored by Terrible Records, your label. You spend 10 or 15 minutes before your set on your hands and knees, setting up a dozen or more pedals in a semicircle in front of your microphone. You wear two black gloves, like what cyclists might wear. Your tank top is loose, weathered, and tucked into your jeans. You look like you are setting up votive candles.
You set up a lone snare drum to the right of the pedals, a microphone attached to it. You sling a guitar over your shoulder. You take off your gloves. You wipe away some wetness from underneath your nose.
You speak, briefly, in two tones of voice, one groany, one light. You begin to sing, such as it is. You are crooning. You stop crooning. You sound like you are sneering. You look uncomfortable, awkward, maybe a little unstable. You slash at the guitar. You start to build beats by manipulating a few of the pedals. You are going at a few speeds at once. You probably read some Brecht.
You remove your shirt to reveal some scrawled tattoos. You change gears, go loud, go electronic. You maybe downloaded some Atari Teenage Riot. You stop. You return to the intermittent crooning. You are moist with sweat.
You bring out a small towel with your name screened onto it. You tell the crowd, which is full of young women in great glasses and young men with artisanal mustaches, that only four such towels exist in this country. You say they are for sale. You suggest using them as small bathroom towels. You say you would use it in your home gym. You are hilarious, after a fashion. You probably read some Hipster Runoff.
You return to the crooning, as it is. You pound that snare. You stop pounding the snare. You toss the drumstick into the air behind you.
You hold your guitar by its body high into the sky, letting feedback swallow the room. You keep it aloft as you fall to your knees. You stand back up. You take a small bow, like a child actor at the end of a junior high school play.