The Catalyst

Ariel Pink, DIIV, Nick Hakim, JJUUJJUU

The Catalyst Presents: Desert Daze Caravan

Ariel Pink


Nick Hakim


Sat, May 19, 2018

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

The Catalyst

Santa Cruz, CA

$25 in advance / $30 at the door

This event is 16 and over

Ariel Pink
Ariel Pink
Los Angeles’s prodigal songwriting son Ariel Pink shares his eleventh studio album, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson, September 15.
The album’s title makes a direct and heartfelt reference to a real-life L.A. musician, long presumed dead, who resurfaced online in 2007 after 35 reclusive years to pen his autobiography and tragic life story in a series of blogs and YouTube tirades. “His book and life resonated with me to such a degree,” Pink states, “that I felt a need to dedicate my latest record to him.”

Dedicated to Bobby Jameson begins at the end and ends at the beginning. “We follow the protagonist through a battery of tests and milestones, the first of which sees him reborn into life out of death,” Pink explains, referencing the opening track “Time To Meet Your God.” “From there, he seesaws his way between the innocent love and the rock- solid edifice of childhood-worn trauma that together constitute his lifelong initiation into the realm of artifice and theatrical disposability.”
Building upon his singular vision of pop songcraft, established by such seminal records as The Doldrums, Worn Copy, House Arrest, Loverboy, Before Today, Mature Themes, and pom pom, Pink revisits themes that have haunted his sonic cinemascapes since the late 1990s: mismanaged dreams, west coast mythologies, itinerant criminals, haunted boulevards, Hollywood legends, the impermanence of romance, bubblegum artifice, movie stardom, childhood terror, acceptance of self, and narcissism projected through a celluloid filter of controversion.
Raised in Beverly Hills, Ariel Pink (born Ariel Marcus Rosenberg) started out as a visual artist before becoming a recording artist in the late ‘90s while attending Cal Arts. Between 1996 and 2004, he honed his craft writing, performing, recording, and producing a body of work that was experimental, impressionistic, and improvisational—
often creating melodic accompaniments and percussive elements with his voice, as opposed to traditional drums or drum machines.
In 2003, Pink attracted the attention of Animal Collective’s Paw Tracks label, earning his home recordings a small and devoted fan base through a series of limited edition reissues. Drawing upon a list of long-forgotten iconoclasts and trailblazers like the Shaggs, the Cure, the Velvet Underground, Destroy All Monsters, the Godz, Cabaret
Voltaire, and R. Stevie Moore, Pink set himself to the task of redefining the musical lexicon for himself and others. “This mission,” he says, “remains mine to this day.”
Though critically misunderstood at the time, Pink’s lo-fi recordings wielded an enormous influence with insiders and outsiders, earning him the unsolicited distinction as “the godfather of chillwave” and the face of the emergent genre of Hypnagogic Pop. Upon signing to the landmark record label 4AD in 2009, Pink’s fortunes with critics began to reverse, and his resulting first single, “Round and Round,” was named the #1 Record of 2010 by Pitchfork.
Since that period, Pink’s influence has grown, even as he and his work have waxed and waned within the popular political conversation. His music, in its earnest genre drag, continues to polarize. His embrace of the dark edges of human folly and despair is juxtaposed with superficial joy, touching on aspects normally avoided in pop music like sarcasm, suspicion, nihilism, self-loathing, and denial. These shadows of the self make their brighter counterparts—love, desire, nostalgia, dreams, acceptance, and epiphany—all the more transcendent, striking deep chords of emotion with fans. In his frenzied portrayals of humanity’s baseness and beauty, Ariel Pink spins pathos into paradise.
Standout tracks from Dedicated to Bobby Jameson include “Feels Like Heaven,” a lovelorn insta-classic paying tribute to the promise of romance, “Another Weekend,” which encapsulates the lingering euphoria of a regrettable weekend over the edge, “Dedicated to Bobby Jameson,” a rah-rah psych romp paying homage to L.A.’s punk history, and “Time to Live,” an ironic anti-suicide anthem that promotes survival as a form of resistance before devolving into a grungy, “Video Killed the Radio Star”-style breakdown that supposes life and death as being more or less the same fate and embraces the immortal anarchy of a rock song as an alternative to the prison of reality.
Alternately contained and sprawling, Dedicated to Bobby Jameson is a shimmering pop
odyssey that represents more astonishing peaks and menacing valleys in the career of a man who, through sheer originality and nerve, has become an American rock and roll institution. The album marks his first full-length release with the Brooklyn-based independent label Mexican Summer.
DIIV is the nom-de-plume of Z. Cole Smith, musical provocateur and front-man of an atmospheric and autumnally-charged new Brooklyn four-piece. Recently inked to the uber-reliable Captured Tracks imprint, DIIV created instant vibrations in the blog-world with their impressionistic debut Sometime; finding it's way onto the esteemed pages of Pitchfork and Altered Zones a mere matter of weeks after the group's formation.

Enlisting the aid of NYC indie-scene-luminary, Devin Ruben Perez, former Smith Westerns drummer Colby Hewitt, and Mr. Smith's childhood friend Andrew Bailey, DIVE craft a sound that is at once familial and frost-bitten. Indebted to classic kraut, dreamy Creation-records psychedelia, and the primitive-crunch of late-80's Seattle, the band walk a divisive yet perfectly fused patch of classic-underground influence.

One part THC and two parts MDMA; the first offering from DIIV chemically fuses the reminiscent with the half-remembered building a musical world out of old-air and new breeze. These are songs that remind us of love in all it's earthly perfections and perversions.
Nick Hakim
Nick Hakim
For singer-songwriter Nick Hakim, it all started in a house in Jamaica Plains, MA with collaborators Naima and Solo Woods. There, he put the finishing touches on his breakthrough EPs, Where Will We Go, Pt. I & II, which would later release through his Earseed Records and earn critical praise from NPR and The New York Times. But it was where the sessions for the two-part project ended and the ideas began to materialize for what would become his full-length debut, Green Twins (releasing via ATO Records in 2017), an experimental step forward with emotional heft gleaned from his experiences in the years since.

The story of Green Twins truly began when, armed with the masters for his EPs, Hakim moved from Boston to Brooklyn, spending his time fleshing out unfinished ideas in his bedroom. He came up with lyrics on the spot while playing the live circuit at solo shows including Palisades and NYXO, recording sketches and lyrics on voice memos and a four-track cassette recorder, and embracing the local community of musicians by performing with bands like Jesse and Forever and Onyx Collective. From there, Green Twins came about as a sum of its parts: Hakim took the demo recordings to studios in New York City, Philadelphia and London, and built on them with engineers including Andrew Sarlo (bass, engineering, production), keeping the original essence of the songs intact. Sarlo notes that “for other artists, a demo serves as a potential shape the song could form into. But for Nick, demos are more like creating a temple: a sanctuary that now we have to go into and somehow clean, furnish, and get ready for other people to experience the sermon in.”

“I put a lot of thought to the things I’d say, but a lot of it is what I was thinking in the moment, very specific songs,” he says of Green Twins, “many of them are like self-portraits”. The record draws from influences spanning Robert Wyatt, Marvin Gaye and Shuggie Otis to Portishead and My Bloody Valentine. “I also felt the need to push my creativity in a different way than I had on the EPs”, he continues. “We wanted to imagine what it would have sounded like if RZA had produced a Portishead album. We experimented with engineering techniques from Phil Spector and Al Green’s Back Up Train, drum programming from RZA and Outkast, and were listening to a lot of The Impressions, John Lennon, Wu-Tang, Madlib, and Screaming Jay Hawkins.”

“Bet She Looks Like You,” recorded mostly in his home bedroom, was one of the first songs that “started this fire for exploring this experiment through song.” Each track peels back a particular aspect of his life: on the title song, he gets deeply personal, reflecting on a recurring dream. “All these things reflect how I feel, how I write,” he says. “I sometimes have trouble articulating myself verbally. This is a place I can talk and be myself, with music, this intangible space I create.”

Hakim’s debut comes as the culmination of years chiseling his skills as a musician. Hailing from Washington, D.C., he grew up in a musical household—his older brother introduced him to bands like Bad Brains and Nirvana, and his parents exposed him to Nueva canción—while he set out on his own to discover the DC music scene. He didn’t take an interest in learning an instrument until later in high school, when he taught himself to play the keys. After graduation, he moved to Boston to continue his study of music. In the time since moving to Brooklyn and setting to work for three years on Green Twins, he embraced the live circuit, both as a solo musician and with his band, whom he’s brought together from within his community in Boston and New York.

With Green Twins, Hakim plans to tour through the beginning of the year, and hopes that folks will connect with the songs he’d written. “I think everybody feels insecure about certain things and everybody has lost people dear to them. I think I’m writing about common things that people feel,” he says. “I’m very grateful for anybody that’s listening or wants to be a part of my little world that I’ve created through song.”
Venue Information:
The Catalyst
1011 Pacific Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA, 95060