Feline Friday #9

Feline Friday
by Katie Harkin

This is Pip, he is a house cat. Being the house cat of someone who works 9-to-5 is a pretty shitty deal but, as is Pip’s lot, being the house cat of retirees means your feline consciousness is formed within a world which only serves to serve you, 24/7.

As a touring person who can’t even keep the hardiest, gnarliest pot plants alive, a cat of my own is out of the question. But thankfully, visiting my grandparents off tour also means visiting Pip. He is a constant stoic companion to my Granddad in the daytime and a demanding affectionate bundle to my Nana at night. So attuned to his tiny universe, he knows that the sound of my Nana’s reading glasses hitting her bedside table means it is time to sleep, he’ll run in from the landing and jump onto the bed upon hearing it.

A tiny white Persian, Pip is approximately 80% fluff and makes the tiny ‘yam’ that someone with a face bred to lack a sonorous beaky nose could muster. He’s very different to my parents’ cats, with their social lives outside the home and brethren companionship within, Pip is a quiet soul and rules over my grandparents’ house part watchman, part cloud. Interaction with Pip is a slightly frosty affair, but with time I have been slowly promoted and can enjoy the particular satisfaction of affection that has been earned.

Van Dyke Parks joins Bella Union family!

VAN DYKE PARKS TO REISSUE THREE CLASSIC ALBUMS IN JUNE 2012

Bella Union are proud to announce the long-awaited reissue of three of the most highly prized and visionary albums from one of the most influential figures of twentieth century music, Van Dyke Parks.

If you don’t know Van Dyke Parks, now is the chance to immerse yourself in a uniquely eclectic and daring landscape. Parks may be best known for penning the lyrics to The Beach Boys’ legendary sixties masterpiece Smile and more recently his arrangements helped shape Joanna Newsom’s epic album Ys. But the true riches of Parks’ talent lies in his first three solo albums, Song Cycle (1968), Discover America (1972) and Clang Of The Yankee Reaper (1975). This trio of acclaimed records defined Americana decades before the term was invented. An expansive Americana that didn’t merely tap the post-war roots in folk and country music that we expect from the genre, but an all-embracing vision that included ragtime, vaudeville, jazz, bluegrass, psychedelia, classical and calypso, unified by a singer-songwriter spirit as much in line with Randy Newman and Harry Nilsson as Park’s collaborator Brian Wilson.

Born in Mississippi in 1943, Parks was extraordinary even as a child, a musical prodigy and actor who later became a session musician, composer, producer, arranger, lyricist, and singer. His own music is as cinematic, fantastical and even phantasmagorical as it is from the heart. Song Cycle was less conventionally pop, in verse-chorus fashion, than Smile; the mood was something like a baroque psychedelic dream filtered through Disney and music hall. Discover America was a major departure, with most songs written by pre-war Calypso musicians from Trinidad & Tobago but given Parks’ highly individual spin. Clang Of The Yankee Reaper further wove New Orleans, classical and pop strains alongside Calypso and Caribbean rhythms.

There have been more albums since, plus film scores, children’s books and arrangements for a dizzying array of talent (including Bruce Springsteen, Bonnie Raitt and Rufus Wainwright), but the jewels in Parks’ legacy remain those first three albums, slices of musical history both of their time and truly timeless.

Bella Union will release Song CycleDiscover America and Clang Of The Yankee Reaper in June 2012.

And there’s more! To celebrate the release Van Dyke Parks will make a rare live appearance, performing at the Barbican with full orchestral accompaniment from the Britten Sinfonia and an astounding line-up of special guests to be announced soon. Info below:

Saturday 23 June – LONDON – Barbican (£15 – £25) [buy]

Record Store Day: The Czars – Sorry I Made You Cry

We are thrilled to be pressing up The Czars‘ classic Sorry I Made You Cry on baby blue vinyl next month in celebration of Record Store Day 2012. Details below!

The Czars
Sorry I made You Cry
12inch – Heavyweight Baby Blue Vinyl

Side A
1  Black is the Colour
2  Angel Eyes
3 Where the Boys Are
4 My Funny Valentine
5 For Emily
6 Leavin’ On My Mind

Side B
7 You Don’t Know What Love Is
8 I’m Sorry
9 I Fall To Pieces
10 Strange
11 Song To The Siren

Record Store Day: Jonathan Wilson 12″

Pity Trials and Tomorrow’s Child… rolls off the tongue. This is the title of a special 12″ from Jonathan Wilson to be released next month in celebration of Record Store Day. And would ya look at that beautiful artwork -

Jonathan Wilson
Pity Trials And Tomorrow’s Child
12 Inch

Side A
1. Isn’t It A Pity

Side B
2. Trials Of Jonathan
3. Tomorrow’s Child

Record Store Day: Lanterns On The Lake – Low Tide

Bella Union will release a brand new 12″ white vinyl Lanterns on the Lake remix EP in celebration of Record Store Day 2012 next month. Check out the tracklist below:

Lanterns On The Lake
Low Tide
12 inch – White Vinyl

Side A
1. If I’ve Been Unkind (Man Without Country Remix)
2. Ships In  The Rain (Laurel Halo Remix)
3. Not Going Back To The Harbour (Dauwd Remix)

Side B
4. Ships In The Rain (Sun Glitters Remix)
5. You’re Almost There (Young Montana Remix)
6. Tricks (Damu Remix)