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Ariel Pink, Belong

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When I first heard ARIEL PINK's House Arrest, I got the same feeling I did listening to Pavement's "Demolition Plot J-7" single back in 1990: the sense of pop majesty struggling against encroaching chaos, as compelling to behold as a bar fight. But House Arrest, originally released in 2002 by the dinky Ballbearings Pinatas label and recently reissued by the Animal Collective's Paw Tracks imprint, raises that struggle several degrees in intensity, until you're not sure if you're getting drawn into an elaborate joke or hearing the sound of sanity dissolving. It's the third Paw Tracks reissue from this 27-year-old LA-based songwriter, after Worn Copy and The Doldrums, and Ballbearings Pinatas plans to reissue the album's companion disc, Lover Boy, this spring. Inspired by outsider songwriter R. Stevie Moore, Pink started recording about ten years ago with a decrepit eight-track cassette machine, and by his own estimate he's accumulated around 500 songs on 200 or 300 master tapes. He sings, overdubs guitar, bass, and keys, and beatboxes all his drums, creating a sound that's like a distant AM radio station playing 70s rock--sculpted by tape hiss and distortion from overloaded mikes, his schizoid pop is aswirl with flashes of Badfinger, Zappa, Paul Weller, Sweet, Jandek, and a dozen K-tel one-hit-wonder comps. On this tour, Pink performs solo for the first half of each set, then joins a group of locals he'll have just met at sound check--in this case the dance-rock band Mahjongg. --J. Niimi

BELONG's new debut album, October Language (Carpark), feels like an elegy, and since the instrumental duo comes from New Orleans, it's tempting to assume they're mourning their city--the cover photo is faded, stained, and bleached in spots, and digital fuzz covers their feedback excursions like mildewed wallpaper. But the album was recorded in 2004; by serving up a shot of melancholy with their mug of heavily processed guitar noise these guys are just being true to their school, whose distinguished alumni include My Bloody Valentine, Flying Saucer Attack, and Fennesz. Since MBV and FSA have been MIA for quite a while and it's been years since Fennesz came to town, a set from Belong is as close as you'll get. --Bill Meyer

Ariel Pink headlines, Belong plays second, and Volcano! opens. This show is part of the Hawk Winter Music Festival; see page 36 for a complete schedule. Belong also has local shows Monday and Wednesday; see separate Treatment items for venues and other details. Sat 2/18, 10 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

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