Track of the Day: 'Bright Lit Blue Skies'

By Brendan Hasenstab

Past TracksFor the last decade, Ariel Pink has been a unique voice in the freak-folk and lo-fi music scenes in Southern California. And when I say lo-fi, I mean it. Many have assumed that his early records were lost nuggets from long ago, but that was all down to the fact that he recorded at home, and yes, cassettes and inexpensive microphones were involved.

But as time has passed, Pink has moved up in the world. He impressed the members of Animal Collective, so much so, that they signed him to their boutique label back in 2003. He toured widely, and admittedly hasn't always blown audiences away. However, over time he's built up a solid roster of songs, and more importantly a tight backing band, known as Haunted Graffiti.

It's hard to do justice to the sound of this album, apart from saying it's a bit like having a radio that only plays the most neglected-but-irresistible pop songs of the last 30 years, and someone keeps hitting the seek button between every track. The style shifts from rambunctious to buttoned-up and back, with vocals that range from heartfelt, to indie-cool, to stuff that could only be described as playful scat. While this may sound daunting, I should also note it is one of my very favorite albums of 2010.

This particular cut is one of the most traditional of the bunch. It's actually a reasonably faithful cover of a song by Boston's Rockin' Ramrods laid down back in 1966. But if I hadn't mentioned it, you'd never know. It's of-a-piece with the songs around it. And it serves as a nice introduction to Pink's style.

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On iTunes: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti / "Bright Lit Blue Skies"

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