When: Sun., May 10, 7 p.m. 2015
What the hell can we make of Ariel Pink? He’s a cracked pop-savant, assembling scraps of half-forgotten Billboard hits around pyscho-babble lyrics in inexplicably alluring ways. A troll of the first order, as likely to throw shade at Madonna as to defend the rights of the Westboro Baptist Church; an unabashed creep, who can make a charming request like “Put Your Number In My Phone” into a dirty old man’s come-on. But in spite of — or occasionally because of — these antics, Ariel Pink matters, and it isn’t just a matter of shock value. Let’s start with his music, which is characteristically about as unplaceable as the dude himself. Hyper-Pink fans have long fetishized the small truckload of hometapes the LA-based singer-songwriter produced in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Pieces of these barely decipherable works eventually were assembled Frankenstein-style into his most accessible record — 2010’s Before Today — making a strong case for Pink’s status as a bedroom-pop Brian Wilson. But if Before Today, and its ostensible hit “Round and Round” remain his most recognizable work, it’s last year’s pom pom which feels like his most representative. The 80-minute release stands as a flippant epic, with Pink running through ultraviolent glam-rockers (“Not Enough Violence”), surf rock send-ups (“Nude Beach A-Go-Go”) and oddly earnest bubblegum love letters (“One Summer Night”) in a way that keeps even the most out-there styles locked into his own odd orbit.